UCLA Common Book 2012-2013: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

Connect with Wes Moore!

Click on the icons below to connect with Wes Moore.  Tell him what you thought of the book!

     

Wes Moore - Bio

From The Other Wes Moore website:

Wes Moore was born in 1978 and was three years old when his father, a respected radio and tele­vi­sion host, died in front of him. His mother, hop­ing for a bet­ter future for her fam­ily, made great sac­ri­fices to send Wes and his sis­ters to pri­vate school. Caught between two worlds—the afflu­ence of his class­mates and the strug­gles of his neighbors—Wes began to act out, suc­cumb­ing to bad grades, sus­pen­sions, and delin­quen­cies. Des­per­ate to reverse his behav­ior, his mother sent him to mil­i­tary school in Penn­syl­va­nia. After try­ing to escape five times, Wes finally decided to stop rail­ing against the sys­tem and become account­able for his actions. By grad­u­a­tion six years later, Moore was com­pany com­man­der over­see­ing 125 cadets.

 

On Decem­ber 11, 2000, The Bal­ti­more Sun ran an arti­cle about how Wes, despite his trou­bled child­hood, had just received The Rhodes Schol­ar­ship. At the same time, The Sun was run­ning sto­ries —even­tu­ally more than 100 in all—about four African-American men who were arrested for the mur­der of an off-duty Bal­ti­more police offi­cer dur­ing an armed rob­bery. One of the men con­victed was just two years older than Wes, lived in the same neigh­bor­hood, and in an uncanny turn, was also named Wes Moore.

 

Wes won­dered how two young men from the same city, who were around the same age, and even shared a name, could arrive at two com­pletely dif­fer­ent des­tinies. The jux­ta­po­si­tion between their lives, and the ques­tions it raised about account­abil­ity, chance, fate and fam­ily, had a pro­found impact on Wes. He decided to write to the other Wes Moore, and much to his sur­prise, a month later he received a let­ter back. He vis­ited the other Wes in prison over a dozen times, spoke with his fam­ily and friends, and dis­cov­ered star­tling par­al­lels between their lives: both had dif­fi­cult child­hoods, they were both father­less, were hav­ing trou­ble in the class­room; they’d hung out on sim­i­lar cor­ners with sim­i­lar crews, and had run into trou­ble with the police. Yet at each stage of their lives, at sim­i­lar moments of deci­sion, they would head down dif­fer­ent paths towards aston­ish­ingly diver­gent des­tinies. Wes real­ized in their two sto­ries was a much larger tale about the con­se­quences of per­sonal respon­si­bil­ity and the imper­a­tive­ness of edu­ca­tion and com­mu­nity for a gen­er­a­tion of boys search­ing for their way.

 

Seek­ing to help other young peo­ple to redi­rect their lives, Wes is com­mit­ted to being a pos­i­tive influ­ence and help­ing kids find the sup­port they need to enact change. Point­ing out that a high school stu­dent drops out every nine sec­onds, Wes says that pub­lic servants—the teach­ers, men­tors and vol­un­teers who work with our youth—are as imper­a­tive to our national stand­ing and sur­vival as are our armed forces. “Pub­lic ser­vice does not have to be an occu­pa­tion,” he says, “but it must be a way of life.”

 

Moore lives with his wife Dawn in New Jersey.

For more information about Wes Moore, visit his website.

PBS Interview

Click here to see a PBS Newshour interview with Wes Moore.

Judy Woodruff talks to Baltimore native Wes Moore about his new book, The Other Wes Moore, which explores the stories of two inner-city young men who share the same name, but lead very different lives. but lead very different lives.