writing my wrongs by shaka senghor

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Writing my wrongs by shaka senghor

As Shaka would soon learn through experience, the crack epidemic that gripped Detroit in the s affected all sectors of society and all areas of the community. The drug world brought Shaka in direct contact with despair and suffering. At just 15, Shaka attempted suicide through overdose. He survived, only to be shot in the leg multiple times by a rival dealer when he was Although his desperate friends called for an ambulance, no help arrived.

This experience left Shaka feeling tense and vulnerable, and to cope with this, he began carrying a gun at all times. Aged 19, Shaka had an altercation with two of his male customers. Having become paranoid and nervous, he suspected the men to be undercover police officers, and when the tension rose, Shaka grabbed his gun and fatally shot one of the men.

American prisons are very dangerous places. Theft and violent crime are commonplace, and guards can do little to protect inmates from each other. Once, Seven gave away some of his breakfast to a newbie inmate. Later, Seven asked the newbie how he was going to repay him for the food. The newbie inmate, confused, said that he thought Seven had just not been hungry. Suddenly, Seven grabbed the inmate by his throat, choking him until he had nearly passed out. Seven then raped the inmate in full view of guards and fellow inmates; shockingly, nothing was done to stop him.

Shaka witnessed all this before even making it to prison — it occurred while he was awaiting sentencing at Wayne County Jail. In the sentencing, Shaka was convicted to 17 to 40 years in prison for the murder he committed. One of the first prisons he found himself in was called the Michigan Reformatory.

Do you remember reading about the gladiators of the Roman Colosseum who would fight to the death for entertainment? Shaka quickly found out that, in prison, those who show weakness are preyed upon. Kevin seemed like a nice guy to Shaka, but when seasoned inmates scoured the ranks for newbies to pick on, they picked Kevin out as a weak link.

Shaka later saw some inmates take Kevin away, and he could only assume that the inmates were going to rape him. Shaka would learn later on that Kevin had taken his own life. With all the time he suddenly had on his hands, Shaka began to borrow novels from the prison library. Before long, Shaka was led to discover the works of authors such as Malcolm X. These authors discussed issues such as the history of African people in America, and their books helped Shaka make sense of issues of race in America.

He could now understand better why prisons were disproportionately filled with black people. Shaka sensed the contradiction in studying the oppression of his people while simultaneously harming other black inmates, and it left him confused and frustrated. Eventually, he was punished with seven years of solitary confinement for his violent behavior. During these seven years, Shaka started to keep a journal, and it was in the pages of this journal that he truly began to reflect on the events in his life that had led him to that point.

For the first time, Shaka was able to come to terms with his actions. This was a transformative experience for Shaka. He started to get involved in community activities in prison. For his fellow black inmates, Shaka organized events for Black History Month and Kwanzaa, while he also mentored younger inmates and fostered literacy, exploration and self-reflection. During their developing relationship, Ebony offered Shaka the crucial support needed to get ready for his release from prison.

Finally, at the age of 38, Shaka was released from prison on the 22nd of June, The world of crime, drugs and violence is an all-too-common reality for many people, particularly those who have been systematically oppressed by our current society. It is nevertheless possible for individuals with troubled pasts to be rehabilitated, and find hope and meaning through reading, writing and community involvement. Writing My Wrongs Key Idea 2: Trying to find his own way, Shaka fell in with the wrong crowd, leading him into a world of drugs and violence.

The long prison sentence would have only two outcomes: Constructive or Destructive. He initially took the more common road, but the practice was not worth the punishment. So, he changed course; he discovered books, discovered words, rediscovered himself, and began to write. Fear redirected his path, strongly dictated his destiny, allowed him to succeed in prison, made him invisible and ultimately made him a writer.

Fear saved his life. Shaka Senghor made many people those who have read his book and those who have listened to his lectures realize that there exists a human being beneath the orange, yellow, green, gray, or black and white striped jumpsuits. He needed to forgive and be forgiven, to love and be deeply loved in return.

Indeed hardened men abound behind bars, but emotions are often more powerful than circumstance. When all seemed lost he found forgiveness and a "ride-or-die" love. Emotions carried him through. Read Writing the Wrongs.

Get entangled in its complex web and enlighten yourself with what might otherwise be dark. It is a redemption song; a symphony of hope, and, even if it doesn't perfectly fit in your idea of "good literature," worth excavating for its many hidden treasures.

View 1 comment. Short Form Review: Author Shaka Senghor provides an insightful look into prison life, contextualizing it with personal anecdotes from his youth. Purposeful and inspirational, readers learn exactly how one learns to love and forgive after committing murder. Five years into his sentence for a murder resulting from a drug interaction gone awry, author Shaka Senghor received a letter.

Senghor served almost two decades in prison after being sentenced at 19 years old, and spent seven of those in solitary confinement. Writing My Wrongs is not an necessarily indictment of his sentence; he admits having committed the crime, and takes responsibility for his actions. Instead, Senghor uses his story to illustrate the linkages between his youth and his adulthood.

Readers are taken through his disappointment with his on again off again parents, his fear as a year-old entrenched in drug dealing, and his shame at his year-old son finally finding out why he was incarcerated. Disappointment, fear, and shame were dominant feelings in his youth, but Senghor develops passion as an adult Senghor— passion to do right by his sons and his fellow inmates. Listening to Senghor speak tonight, all that remained was an overwhelming sense of purpose.

But he also got into the nitty gritty. Recounting his last few days of imprisonment, Senghor recalls that only began to really receive help preparation for his release 60 days prior. Literacy— not prison, saved Senghor. If nothing else Writing My Wrongs shows that prison life brings out the best in nobody.

Reading books such as the Autobiography of Malcolm X, and even religious texts such as the Bible, were what grounded him. Writing was equally as powerful, allowing him to connect the dots between his past adolescent anger and his current adult fury. When he finally got out of prison, writing is how he decided he would make a difference. I gave this book a 4 out of 5.

Those with an interest in mass incarceration issues and other issues associated with poverty and drugs should put this at the top of your list. Universal themes such as justice, forgiveness, and failure not in that order make this a book fit for any shelf. And hell, if Oprah is reading it, you should probably at least give the dust cover a skim, right?

I vacillated between 4 and 5 stars but ultimately, this book is a solid 4 because while it is a compelling, engaging read, it doesn't radically stand out from any other redemption story out there. Redemption stories are, by their very nature, predictably full of plot lines that crest, dip then crest again. However, this is the first time that I've really understood how the prison system is designed to rob people of their humanity. The constant upheaval, the threat of violence from all corners, t I vacillated between 4 and 5 stars but ultimately, this book is a solid 4 because while it is a compelling, engaging read, it doesn't radically stand out from any other redemption story out there.

The constant upheaval, the threat of violence from all corners, the social isolation-- all of this serves to set inmates up to fail. Should someone be punished for committing a crime? Should someone be made to feel that there's no hope for change? What good does it do to return angry, demoralized people to society?

Not much, as far as I can tell, and neither can Shaka Senghor, who has made it his mission in life to help children find a way to express their anger, frustration and disappointment without succumbing to violence. So read this book for the story itself, and for a reality check.

I read this book concurrently with Just Mercy , and it occurred to me partway through that while I'd read books like that one that dealt with the prison-industrial complex, bias, and wrongful convictions, and I'd read books about people held captive for other reasons, I hadn't that I could remember read a memoir by a person who served a prison sentence for a crime he fully admits to committing.

It's one thing to hear the worst-case scenarios about prison life from an author trying to shock you I read this book concurrently with Just Mercy , and it occurred to me partway through that while I'd read books like that one that dealt with the prison-industrial complex, bias, and wrongful convictions, and I'd read books about people held captive for other reasons, I hadn't that I could remember read a memoir by a person who served a prison sentence for a crime he fully admits to committing.

It's one thing to hear the worst-case scenarios about prison life from an author trying to shock you into fomenting for change, and another to hear about the day-after-day experience of someone who spent 19 years behind bars. It was enlightening in a way no other book I'd read about prisons had been. For one thing, I was surprised at how often Senghor was transferred to a different facility — sometimes because his security level was being lowered or raised, but often for no discernible reason.

I was also fascinated by the ingenuity of the prisoners to devise means of communication, even between people in solitary confinement. I couldn't believe how easy and common it was for prisoners to make weapons and attack other prisoners. I got a better sense of what resources prisoners had access to and how that changed depending on their security level and their behavior. Senghor's story is not a simplistic "one day I saw the light and I never misbehaved again" narrative, though it would likely be condensed as such if someone else was summarizing his story.

He did have several "awakening" moments — when he felt responsibility for his son, when he learned to forgive himself, when he discovered how writing could help him process the trauma of his childhood, when he found hope that he might be released — but these were followed by setbacks as he still felt justified in attacking others at times. I felt this provided a realistic picture in how hard it was to overcome the patterns that had been ingrained in him since childhood.

For most of the book, it flips back and forth from his life in prison to his life on the streets up to the time of his arrest. I thought this firsthand account was valuable for understanding why Senghor turned to selling drugs, why he chose to carry a gun, even why he panicked and shot someone.

He does not excuse his past behavior, but he does provide a full picture that could help dismantle some people's stereotypes about prisoners, drug dealers, etc. I did not find the back-and-forth to be confusing, and I think it was the right choice for a more engaging narrative than providing a straightforward, chronological narrative. Senghor's writing is pretty good aside from his over-the-top use of similes, which became grating after a while.

I am interested to read his fiction and see how it compares to his memoir writing. I listened to this book on audio, narrated by the author, and while I got used to his fairly flat affect, I would still recommend reading this in print. This gave me a lot to think about, and I'm grateful to Senghor for putting together the story of his life and for Whitney for bringing this book to my attention.

If you've never read a firsthand account of what it's like to serve a long prison sentence, this is worth a read. Shelves: read-in , memoir , non-fiction , authors-of-color , release. Senghor details the circumstances of his life that led to his shooting and killing a man, and what it took to redeem himself by both his own standards and society's standards.

A hard look at what prison life is like and how difficult it is to emerge with your sanity and dignity intact. I'm so glad I read this. Apr 11, Karen rated it it was amazing. My students and I have been reading this really important book this semester, hot off the shelf. It never fails, as with all of Shaka's books, it is the one reading they ALL get into!

Afterwards, they are able to put all the pieces together of the things I have had them read and watch and think about in the course. A must-read for sociologists, criminal justice majors, teachers, and all parents! Congratulations, Shaka Senghor on this life-changing work.

It is the blueprint on how we might read a My students and I have been reading this really important book this semester, hot off the shelf. Much love in struggle, Karen Gagne View 2 comments. Jun 03, Jessica White rated it really liked it. Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison.

That subtitle rings true throughout the entire book. James White, Pumpkin, Jay. Only 19 years old and his life is about to change He knew he was going to prison the night he shot to kill. He knew his life was virtually over when he had just made a new one. He knew Brenda was going to raise their baby alone while he sat in a prison cell. His lawyer promised 10 years, but he was sentenced to 40 years behind bars.

He had been dealing crack and running around the 'hood since he was He was shot at He killed at He never wanted this life, but what else could he do with a mommy that didn't want him and a daddy that was never around? Prison took its toll on Jay. But he eventually found himself, more importantly he finally found the strength to forgive himself and apologize for what he had done. He needed closure, but that closure didn't find him until almost 10 years into his sentence.

He was willing to change and for that, I applaud him. He didn't deserve this life, his family didn't deserve it, his victim didn't deserve it. This memoir is told through alternating past and present. We see James become Jay. We see who Jay is in prison. We see the two personalities slowing merging into one.

We see why he felt a certain way and why he reacted the way he did. He was part of a Brotherhood he felt the need to uphold. He wanted to mend the broken and feed the poor. He wanted everyone to be accepted within the laws of the jungle. That is how he found himself. Through his brothers. Through his father. Through Lil Jay. Through Ebony. For that, he will always be thankful.

This review and more can be found at A Reader's Diary! The book did not disappoint. Shaka grew up in a middle class family in Detroit but he struggled with physical and emotional abuse he received from his mother.

He doesn't go into great detail about the abuse but the reader knows it's a central part of why he turned to the streets. He wanted to feel loved and validated and thought the streets would provide that to him I first saw Shaka on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday and thought he was so powerful in telling his story so I knew I had to read his book.

He wanted to feel loved and validated and thought the streets would provide that to him. But, of course, turning to the streets only wreaked havoc in his life and on the life of others. Shaka details some of the horrific things he experienced while in prison on a murder charge and how he managed to turn his life around through reading and writing.

The only complaint I have about the book is the nonlinear fashion in which he told the story. I don't usually prefer books where the timeline jumps around. Overall, it was a powerful book and I'm glad I finally sat down to read it. Even an angry convicted murderer serving 19 years in prison 7 of those in solitary confinement can turn his life around and become a positive influence and an asset to society. We need to stop judging and start loving more. A truly inspirational book about hope and redemption.

Dec 14, Ret Yeager rated it liked it Shelves: books-listened-to. While I admire the way this troubled youth found his way back to a "normal" society, I wasn't thrilled with the writing. Reading this while finishing the last season of The Wire made me appreciate just how entrenched in realism the show is.

It actually takes place in a number of American prisons, which was an eye-opener to me because I didn't realise the regularity with which prisoners are transferred. I first came across Shaka Sengho Reading this while finishing the last season of The Wire made me appreciate just how entrenched in realism the show is. I first came across Shaka Senghor through a podcast episode Conversations with Tyler, Episode 80 and was keen to read his memoir, which was both shocking and fascinating.

Having read his memoir, I'm keen to read his other books -- particularly his novels. A fantastic memoir that everyone should read. The book provides a perspective that often goes unheard and forgotten about. Highly recommend! Jun 23, Nita Bee rated it it was amazing Shelves: july-reads Yet another great read by Shaka Senghor, only this book is his memoir, his true life story. He gives a very vivid and detailed description of his life in the streets of Detroit and the time he spent in prison.

This is a story of a lost soul filled with, family issues, anger and a need to belong which he found in the streets of Detroit. After landing himself in prison for murder he had time to re-think his wrongs, which took a while but he slowly turned his life into something meaningful and posi Yet another great read by Shaka Senghor, only this book is his memoir, his true life story.

After landing himself in prison for murder he had time to re-think his wrongs, which took a while but he slowly turned his life into something meaningful and positive before and after his sentence. This story was very well written, and I found after starting the book I could not put it down. The story read back and forth from his life on the streets to his time spent in the prison system then ended with the here and now. I have nothing, but respect for Mr. Senghor for allowing us into his head to see what he was thinking then as when he did his wrongs and what he now realizes as to why those things may have happened.

My favorite parts of his story were, how his father's love for him never wavered, he was there for him through it all, very touching, as well as the ending, which is just the ending of the book. He has found, self-love, his soul mate OMG, so beautiful I'm a sucker for a good love story , started a family and a willingness to help others, especially our young black males.

I commend Shaka for telling his story and being real. After reading this I am convinced that every young black male in Detroit or any urban city should read this book I'm almost certain if they are headed down the path he went this book will do something to help them change their mindset.

Great job Mr. Senghor… This sista is proud of you and what you have and are accomplishing. There have been a lot of prison memoirs published over the last decade. There is much to be learned from these memoirs, and it's important that there is space for these experiences to be heard, but some are more skillfully told than others. Senghor is a talented, thoughtful writer who avoids too much sentimentality and portrays his experience critically and with an eye toward criminal justice reform writ large, and not just as it applies to his own story.

I am teaching a unique course this semes There have been a lot of prison memoirs published over the last decade. I am teaching a unique course this semester -- the first at my university that invites campus undergrads and incarcerated college students to co-learn together in a prison classroom.

We'll read one book together as a large group Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship and small groups read an additional book, including this one. Students are asked to read each title through the lens of "the American Dream. Did he have access to an American Dream that was distinctly his own? Are there systemic obstacles that prevent him from achieving that dream? Are there ways we, as individuals and as communities, can overhaul or re-design how all Americans gain access to that dream?

If the American Dream is about working hard, did Senghor accomplish the hard work necessary to earn the dream, and was it, in the end, awarded? I can't wait to hear how our students wrestle with these questions Apr 20, OOSA rated it really liked it. I had turned my back on myself the first time I picked up drugs, alcohol and guns. I had given up on myself. In fact, I had never even given myself a chance to succeed. A man was dead and nineteen-year-old Shaka was responsible.

He takes readers back and forth in time with detailed descriptions that create a strong sense of place. This emotional and moving memoir works on multiple levels. Shaka learns and teaches that you should try to learn from your past, but not let it define you. Themes of strength, courage, redemption and the healing powers of love and forgiveness reverberate throughout.

Instead he simply tells his story of survival, recovery, and success on his own terms. I applaud him for his courage, humility, and growth in laying bare his emotional and personal struggles. Love, love, love the title. Continued success, brother. Reviewed by: Toni 4. Oct 22, Cyrus Carter rated it it was amazing. Excellent memoir of a man's fight from the streets through the broken prison system to redemption of his soul.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in the personal impact of the racially polarised US. Jul 05, Bekah added it. What makes them win? What motivates them to be the best? And then you actually get something like "I had just won Wimbledon. And it was thrilling. The memoir is supposed to detail how Shaka went from a [No star rating because that just seems wrong.

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Please verify that you are not a robot. Would you also like to submit a review for this item? You already recently rated this item. Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: 1 2 3 4 5. Preview this item Preview this item. Today, he is a lecturer at the University of Michigan, a leading voice on criminal justice reform, and an inspiration to thousands.

Shaka Senghor was raised in a middle class neighborhood on Detroit's east side during the height of the s crack epidemic. And it's a lasting testament to the power of compassion, prayer, and unconditional love, for reaching those whom society has forgotten"-- "In , Shaka Senghor was sent to prison for second-degree murder. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private.

Save Cancel. Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item And it's a lasting testament to the power of compassion, prayer, and unconditional love" Reviews User-contributed reviews Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers.

Senghor details the circumstances of his life that led to his shooting and killing a man, and what it took to redeem himself by both his own standards and society's standards. A hard look at what prison life is like and how difficult it is to emerge with your sanity and dignity intact. I'm so glad I read this. Apr 11, Karen rated it it was amazing. My students and I have been reading this really important book this semester, hot off the shelf.

It never fails, as with all of Shaka's books, it is the one reading they ALL get into! Afterwards, they are able to put all the pieces together of the things I have had them read and watch and think about in the course. A must-read for sociologists, criminal justice majors, teachers, and all parents!

Congratulations, Shaka Senghor on this life-changing work. It is the blueprint on how we might read a My students and I have been reading this really important book this semester, hot off the shelf. Much love in struggle, Karen Gagne View 2 comments. Jun 03, Jessica White rated it really liked it. Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison. That subtitle rings true throughout the entire book. James White, Pumpkin, Jay.

Only 19 years old and his life is about to change He knew he was going to prison the night he shot to kill. He knew his life was virtually over when he had just made a new one. He knew Brenda was going to raise their baby alone while he sat in a prison cell. His lawyer promised 10 years, but he was sentenced to 40 years behind bars. He had been dealing crack and running around the 'hood since he was He was shot at He killed at He never wanted this life, but what else could he do with a mommy that didn't want him and a daddy that was never around?

Prison took its toll on Jay. But he eventually found himself, more importantly he finally found the strength to forgive himself and apologize for what he had done. He needed closure, but that closure didn't find him until almost 10 years into his sentence. He was willing to change and for that, I applaud him. He didn't deserve this life, his family didn't deserve it, his victim didn't deserve it. This memoir is told through alternating past and present. We see James become Jay. We see who Jay is in prison.

We see the two personalities slowing merging into one. We see why he felt a certain way and why he reacted the way he did. He was part of a Brotherhood he felt the need to uphold. He wanted to mend the broken and feed the poor. He wanted everyone to be accepted within the laws of the jungle. That is how he found himself. Through his brothers. Through his father. Through Lil Jay. Through Ebony. For that, he will always be thankful. This review and more can be found at A Reader's Diary! The book did not disappoint.

Shaka grew up in a middle class family in Detroit but he struggled with physical and emotional abuse he received from his mother. He doesn't go into great detail about the abuse but the reader knows it's a central part of why he turned to the streets. He wanted to feel loved and validated and thought the streets would provide that to him I first saw Shaka on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday and thought he was so powerful in telling his story so I knew I had to read his book.

He wanted to feel loved and validated and thought the streets would provide that to him. But, of course, turning to the streets only wreaked havoc in his life and on the life of others. Shaka details some of the horrific things he experienced while in prison on a murder charge and how he managed to turn his life around through reading and writing. The only complaint I have about the book is the nonlinear fashion in which he told the story.

I don't usually prefer books where the timeline jumps around. Overall, it was a powerful book and I'm glad I finally sat down to read it. Even an angry convicted murderer serving 19 years in prison 7 of those in solitary confinement can turn his life around and become a positive influence and an asset to society. We need to stop judging and start loving more.

A truly inspirational book about hope and redemption. Dec 14, Ret Yeager rated it liked it Shelves: books-listened-to. While I admire the way this troubled youth found his way back to a "normal" society, I wasn't thrilled with the writing. Reading this while finishing the last season of The Wire made me appreciate just how entrenched in realism the show is.

It actually takes place in a number of American prisons, which was an eye-opener to me because I didn't realise the regularity with which prisoners are transferred. I first came across Shaka Sengho Reading this while finishing the last season of The Wire made me appreciate just how entrenched in realism the show is.

I first came across Shaka Senghor through a podcast episode Conversations with Tyler, Episode 80 and was keen to read his memoir, which was both shocking and fascinating. Having read his memoir, I'm keen to read his other books -- particularly his novels. A fantastic memoir that everyone should read. The book provides a perspective that often goes unheard and forgotten about. Highly recommend!

Jun 23, Nita Bee rated it it was amazing Shelves: july-reads Yet another great read by Shaka Senghor, only this book is his memoir, his true life story. He gives a very vivid and detailed description of his life in the streets of Detroit and the time he spent in prison. This is a story of a lost soul filled with, family issues, anger and a need to belong which he found in the streets of Detroit.

After landing himself in prison for murder he had time to re-think his wrongs, which took a while but he slowly turned his life into something meaningful and posi Yet another great read by Shaka Senghor, only this book is his memoir, his true life story. After landing himself in prison for murder he had time to re-think his wrongs, which took a while but he slowly turned his life into something meaningful and positive before and after his sentence.

This story was very well written, and I found after starting the book I could not put it down. The story read back and forth from his life on the streets to his time spent in the prison system then ended with the here and now. I have nothing, but respect for Mr. Senghor for allowing us into his head to see what he was thinking then as when he did his wrongs and what he now realizes as to why those things may have happened.

My favorite parts of his story were, how his father's love for him never wavered, he was there for him through it all, very touching, as well as the ending, which is just the ending of the book. He has found, self-love, his soul mate OMG, so beautiful I'm a sucker for a good love story , started a family and a willingness to help others, especially our young black males. I commend Shaka for telling his story and being real. After reading this I am convinced that every young black male in Detroit or any urban city should read this book I'm almost certain if they are headed down the path he went this book will do something to help them change their mindset.

Great job Mr. Senghor… This sista is proud of you and what you have and are accomplishing. There have been a lot of prison memoirs published over the last decade. There is much to be learned from these memoirs, and it's important that there is space for these experiences to be heard, but some are more skillfully told than others. Senghor is a talented, thoughtful writer who avoids too much sentimentality and portrays his experience critically and with an eye toward criminal justice reform writ large, and not just as it applies to his own story.

I am teaching a unique course this semes There have been a lot of prison memoirs published over the last decade. I am teaching a unique course this semester -- the first at my university that invites campus undergrads and incarcerated college students to co-learn together in a prison classroom.

We'll read one book together as a large group Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship and small groups read an additional book, including this one. Students are asked to read each title through the lens of "the American Dream. Did he have access to an American Dream that was distinctly his own?

Are there systemic obstacles that prevent him from achieving that dream? Are there ways we, as individuals and as communities, can overhaul or re-design how all Americans gain access to that dream? If the American Dream is about working hard, did Senghor accomplish the hard work necessary to earn the dream, and was it, in the end, awarded?

I can't wait to hear how our students wrestle with these questions Apr 20, OOSA rated it really liked it. I had turned my back on myself the first time I picked up drugs, alcohol and guns. I had given up on myself. In fact, I had never even given myself a chance to succeed.

A man was dead and nineteen-year-old Shaka was responsible. He takes readers back and forth in time with detailed descriptions that create a strong sense of place. This emotional and moving memoir works on multiple levels. Shaka learns and teaches that you should try to learn from your past, but not let it define you.

Themes of strength, courage, redemption and the healing powers of love and forgiveness reverberate throughout. Instead he simply tells his story of survival, recovery, and success on his own terms. I applaud him for his courage, humility, and growth in laying bare his emotional and personal struggles. Love, love, love the title. Continued success, brother. Reviewed by: Toni 4. Oct 22, Cyrus Carter rated it it was amazing.

Excellent memoir of a man's fight from the streets through the broken prison system to redemption of his soul. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the personal impact of the racially polarised US. Jul 05, Bekah added it. What makes them win? What motivates them to be the best? And then you actually get something like "I had just won Wimbledon. And it was thrilling.

The memoir is supposed to detail how Shaka went from a [No star rating because that just seems wrong. The memoir is supposed to detail how Shaka went from a year-old prisoner who had just committed murder to an engaged citizen inspired to make a better life for himself, his children, and his community.

His experience itself is beyond impressive. But the explanation of how it happened left me wanting more. Shaka identifies certain things--a letter from his son, a letter from his victim's godmother, books, classes, a love interest--as part of what turns him around, but the book seemed to gloss over how these things actually changed his mindset. The writing just didn't get me there. Wise, well crafted, and brimming with tremendous strength and talent.

The redemptive journey from streets to prison to transformed man is of course a classic tale -- but Shaka Senghor's version is all at once artfully gripping, socially relevant, and deeply human. He makes us see and feel the world through his eyes: first as a hopeful and eager-to-please child; then as a lost and jaded youth, drifting through numerous forms of heartbreak and vicious self-sabotage, both on the streets and behind Wise, well crafted, and brimming with tremendous strength and talent.

He makes us see and feel the world through his eyes: first as a hopeful and eager-to-please child; then as a lost and jaded youth, drifting through numerous forms of heartbreak and vicious self-sabotage, both on the streets and behind bars; and finally as he discovers reasons to love, recreate himself, and make a career out of mentoring others.

This is one of very few books I'd recommend to just about anyone. It's about coming of age as an African American man, and it's also about being human: vulnerable, powerful, wired to survive and grow and love. Jul 13, Nora rated it really liked it Shelves: memoir , social-justice. Very good autobio of a man who spends some time in prison: How he got himself there and how he means to get himself out. How his incarceration affects his family.

And mostly how he works to help others put prison behind them or not go there in the first place. It's quite readable though I saw a few places it could be tighter. Note: I hope i write as well someday. A great memoir of how one can make such terrible decisions and not realize it until it's too late Oct 30, Kathleen Guth rated it really liked it.

Kristen has suggested some good books lately that let's you peek into the window of inner-city poverty and violence. This was one of them. It is a compelling story and worth the read. Writing My Wrongs is a book with so many different levels of nuances. It speaks of a young boy's personal journey and the journey so many young black men take in through the justice system and how that system is a failure at the supposed reform that it is supposed to make in someone's life.

The journey that Mr. Senghor takes from a young man scared of the dissolution of his parent's marriage, and the anger he harbored of his mother not loving him and telling him that she wishes he had never been Writing My Wrongs is a book with so many different levels of nuances. Senghor takes from a young man scared of the dissolution of his parent's marriage, and the anger he harbored of his mother not loving him and telling him that she wishes he had never been born.

The things that can happen to a child's psyche when those words are reinforced by corporal punishment in a demeaning way creates a hurt that if not dealt with can manifest itself in lending adage to the saying "hurt people, hurt people". Combine that with the fact that the neighborhood that used to be decent, has been corrupted with drugs and PTSD from growing up in such an environment or the men going to fight in a war that was not their own.

The thought that mental health services was not a necessary means of coping and understanding feelings so all of those different factors get bottled up and remain unspoken; and that is only the author. Imagine that same scenario, time and again for others who are incarcerated with the same background and we can imagine how the root of the problem gets exposed. No education, no means of self sufficiency, no viable programs to help family with counseling services, and making prison systems for profit keeping them incarcerated, all leads to making the likelihood of some young person vulnerable to the system and keeping them there longer by authorities provoking an already volatile personalities, shows how the evidence is stacked against our young people.

I know this has also made me rethink what should happen with inmates in prison. Some people do not have society's best interest at heart when trying to deal with those who are convicted and understanding that provoking those who already feel cornered increases the injustices that have been stacked against them up to this point. The book showed me that it's best to keep a mind occupied and give them a chance at education rather than to plot mischief because as it has been said time and again, idle hands is a devil's playground and that includes the mind.

So much that I thought wasn't needed in prison life, could feed a person's desire to live or not or feel like they have hope or should they wallow in that despair and when that happens they lash out to keep and feel respect. Like I said, the book really made me think and I think it's good for young black men to read to be able to connect with a brother who has gone through it, did the tough work of self examination and valuation and has come out on the other side.

Nov 20, E. To this day, I still remember his speech bringing me to tears, although I can't remember the context from what I can recall, I believe it was him either describing the time he was shot at 17 or the moment when he was arrested. I bought his book after his speech. Three years later, I finally read his book, and I really regret not reading it sooner. My interest in the American prison system piqued after both reading and watching Orange is the New Black and although the show is fictional, I was totally aghast by the way prisoners were treated like animals.

Shaka's story not only describes the brutality and inequality of the American prison system, but it describes that it's entirely possible for someone to change for the better. From my time being a teen librarian, I know that there are teens out there right now who really need Shaka's help and I'm truly glad that there is someone like him out there right now helping youth escape and overcome the corrupted society that Americans mostly white have created.

The truth is that the prison system absolutely should NOT be focused on making and saving money; people are people, not numbers. It's not okay that guards are allowed to get away with unfairly treating prisoners and getting them sent to solitary over arbitrary "rules. It's bullshit that many prisoners will end up going back into the system because they don't have outside support nor do they have proper reformation in prison. Prison was created to be a place where criminals could go to to better themselves but you know what it is now?

It's just a zoo that we shove people in and we just keep shoving more people in. I highly recommend reading this book as well as taking a look at cut50, an bipartisan organization dedicated to cutting crime and incarceration, with the ultimate goal of reducing the prison population in half by I have a hard time articulating my feelings about this one - I may have to circle back.

Not even sure how to rate it yet. It was a very interesting read - the book does a really good job to make you understand how things get out of hand, it helps you to be more compassionate and empathetic, and to believe in second I have a hard time articulating my feelings about this one - I may have to circle back. It was a very interesting read - the book does a really good job to make you understand how things get out of hand, it helps you to be more compassionate and empathetic, and to believe in second chances.

The message is strong, and needs to be heard by all the lost kids out there. There is definitely hope in the book - it is powerful to see him face his anger, change his point of view, and try to change his life around. The work he's now doing right now for the communities is amazing, and necessary. However, most of the memoir was distressing for me to read. In addition, the horrific prison condition, the dehumanization of inmates, the violence and rage were also difficult for me to read. It was like watching Groundhog day, every time you feel you've made progress, the same crap keeps happening over and over again.

Jan 25, Kofi Anane rated it it was amazing. Serves as an important book for young men and women who are going through it, know someone going through it, or know someone who needs to see the lesson from a distance before they learn it themselves first hand. This book serves as a reminder that there is a lesson to be learn through every circumstance. There will be a ripple of positive effects for every person that takes the time to read this book.

This book provides insight into the justice systems design and so many sickening examples of wh Serves as an important book for young men and women who are going through it, know someone going through it, or know someone who needs to see the lesson from a distance before they learn it themselves first hand.

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We kicked it about the old neighborhood for a minute, then he told me that he had overheard the officers talking about my charges. They were disturbed that such a violent act could have been committed by such a young kid. An honor roll student and a natural leader, he dreamed of becoming a doctor—but at age 11, his parents' marriage began to unravel, and the beatings from his mother worsened, sending him on a downward spiral that saw him run away from home, turn to drug dealing to survive, and end up in prison for murder at the age of 19, fuming with anger and despair.

Writing My Wrongs is the story of what came next. During his nineteen-year incarceration, seven of which were spent in solitary confinement, Senghor discovered literature, meditation, self-examination, and the kindness of others—tools he used to confront the demons of his past, forgive the people who hurt him, and begin atoning for the wrongs he had committed. Upon his release at age thirty-eight, Senghor became an activist and mentor to young men and women facing circumstances like his.

Read more Read less. Previous page. Print length. Convergent Books. Publication date. January 31, See all details. Next page. Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your browser. Frequently bought together. Total price:. To see our price, add these items to your cart.

Choose items to buy together. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Chris Wilson. Hill Harper. Shane Bauer. Brave Enough. Cheryl Strayed. Ebony Roberts. Jason Wilson. Customers who bought this item also bought. A Place to Stand. Jimmy Santiago Baca. Demico Boothe. David Coogan. Gritty, visceral. Senghor writes about the process of atonement and the possibility of redemption, and talks of his efforts to work for prison reforms that might turn a system designed to warehouse into one aimed at rehabilitation.

Full of judgment. Why should I be interested in the story of a murderer? But as [Senghor's] words unfolded, so did my understanding—of what it means to fall short, to go astray, to lose your way. His story touched my soul. They are the sharp, effective tools that can be used to rebuild lives and communities, one person at a time. Few people, sadly, come out on the end of two decades of hard time and find their way back to the life Shaka is now leading.

Here, he tells us why that is, and why it doesn't have to stay that way. Shaka's story illustrates that if we muster the courage to love those who do not yet love themselves, a new world is possible. This beautiful and compelling story of recovery and redemption offers all of us powerful truths and precious insights as we seek recovery from decades of over-incarceration and excessive punishment. Consistently touching and surprising, Writing My Wrongs is, ultimately, deeply hopeful.

Prepare to have your preconceptions shattered. Abrams, director, writer, producer. Shaka Senghor , a member of Oprah's SuperSoul , is a writer, mentor, and motivational speaker whose story of redemption has inspired thousands.

While serving 19 years in prison, Senghor discovered redemption and responsibility through literature, his own writing, and the kindness of others. He currently serves as the Director of Strategy and Innovation with cut50, a bipartisan initiative to safely and smartly reduce the U.

All rights reserved. Read more. Start reading Writing My Wrongs on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Customer reviews. How are ratings calculated? Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. Reviews with images. See all customer images. Top reviews Most recent Top reviews. Top reviews from the United States.

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Verified Purchase. Greetings my brother. My name is Rico Sims. I'm from Sacramento California however currently I'm in the state of Texas. I'm serving a 20 year sentence for murder I pled bargain for. I'll be 38 years old June, I was arrested in June I just finished reading your book and I must admit I was touched to my breaking point.

However, you gave me hope and more of a appetite to learn and energy to keep walking my time down. From the first page to the last. You had my mind captured. You really have an inspirational testimony yet that wasn't the only thing that caught my attention. Our lives were similar in some ways when it comes to the streets. Living in California, pistol play was more of the norm then pop warner football or other activities teenagers got involved in. By far did I just wake up one day and say I wanna change.

My change came with the reality of our fallen race and the people I have cause so much pain. My victim and his family, my wonderful family and witnessing our brothers and sisters deteriorate over greed. And most knowingly admitting to being a big part of this devilish lifestyle. I want to help even more and agree with you. It's time my brother and I want you to know that we have brothers like you working in endlessly to make a difference.

Keep up the great work Shaka, please know you're a blessing to me and our brothers and sisters. After that episode, I bought this book because I wanted to hear more of his story. It was really worth it. In telling his story, he transitions back and forth between the story of the life that led to his incarceration and the story of his time in Michigan's correctional system. I found it very insightful.

There is certainly work to be done to improve the system. Reading stories like this give us insight into what types of changes need to happen. This book could be very inspirational for those going through difficult times, at risk of going to prison or already there.

One can make a change for the better, and the author is proof of that. There is language that some may find offensive but is definitely appropriate for the subject matter. Most reviews and recommendations here focus on the hope and possibility of redemption. But this book also sheds light on the many emotional pressures on children either from their neighborhoods, family disruption, lack of communication, and so many combinations that cause children to lose the promise of a bright future and fall into dysfunctional and ultimately self-destructive and dangerous behaviors.

Furthermore we see how our legal and penal system then serve to reinforce the anger, violence and helplessness, that the author so clearly describes of so many of the other young men with whom he served prison time, and in his own personal experience. Yes, he was able to use his intellect, love of reading and self-reflection to eventually gain a perspective, along with love and support from those who cared about him, to climb out of his despair and build an amazing meaningful life helping others who had been through similar trauma.

But this book also helps us all learn and care about the many forms of victims our society continues to create. In this novel, Shaka writes an honest portrayal of his childhood leading to his nineteen years in prison. The descriptive details through page after page is extraordinarily raw, conveying prison life only a former inmate could do. If you work with kids, or a community activist, or just enjoy a great read, this book is for you! In other words, grab your copy today!

This memoir was frightening to read. I didn't want to read it but my Book Club chose it, so I knew I had to give it a chance. As I read, I realized it was more than a well written story, it was a mirror to my faith. I am a committed Christian and I truly believe the promises made in the Bible are from God and are to be followed.

The greatest commandment states, " Love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself. Thank you Shaka for your life and the work you are continuing in this world to bring peace and HOPE to all. I'm from the Detroit area and am familiar with most of the places Senghor writes about. Well, the neighborhoods I left Michigan in to follow the California dream and remember Detroit when it was a thriving, beautiful city. The racism and corruption destroyed the city plus industrial decline.

Many of my relatives left Detroit to escape to the "White" neighborhoods. He is an amazing individual and writer. Senghor's brilliant retelling of his journey through his abusive childhood, his painful teenage years, drug trafficking and violence of the Detroit streets, and his years of incarceration is an eye-opener. Senghor is a role model and educator not only for Blacks but for all of us no matter what color or age.

And for anyone who doesn't understand what it means to be Black in this country, Senghor's book will educate you. See all reviews. Top reviews from other countries. This is a great read. It's Shaka's stories of the street,of prison of the work he did and the chances he was given. The chances he took again and again to redeem himself and bring something constructive and positive into the world when it would have been easier to succumb to the madness.

There are lessons here for all young men who face an impossible situation and I hope some of the tools that he developed to change his situation could be harnessed to help a new generation of men crying out for help Greetings from Ireland my friend,much love and respect.

Report abuse. His writing style is intelligent and divine, his honesty makes you demanding. His story revolutionises. How he speaks of prison life and solitary confinement sometimes feels like a microcosm of life outside prison bars. A book for people interested in other people. Fantastic story, well written, makes you open your mind and view life from another's perspective. Life affirming lessons. Absorbing and gripping. I wanna thank you again for your honesty to tell your story, not many people got the courage you have.

Thank you for choosing to be light for yourself and for us. View all 3 comments. Jun 23, J Beckett rated it really liked it Shelves: african-american-non-fiction. What I was expecting was another book of distorted and dehumanizing criminology, basking in some super-imposed and caustically tainted surreal world. The thing is, I got that and much, much more than I imagined.

I got an understanding. The book is straight forward, no smoke and mirrors, optical illusions, or sleight of hand. There is no need for advanced degrees or unabridged dictionaries. Needed is an open mind, and the desire to delve into the place that is misunderstood. Senghor writes from the heart; from a place that he didn't know existed, and because of that discovery, the sincerity pours from every page.

Familiar, even if you have never lived on that planet. It is inherent; spiritual -- transcending caste, gender, and often race. We just understand it better than most. His introduction reveals that there's a depth to the mentality of the convicted, a depth he knew long before the was behind bars The beauty is that Senghor did not sweeten the story; he told it, from the guts and grime of his grim reality.

He gave the reader, while walking them through chambers of secrets, the gore, and the glorified details, but accepted responsibility for his actions; holding himself accountable while seeking something greater than himself. And because he was so viewed, he opted to fulfill the illusion. Shaka Senghor explains where and how his psychological odyssey began; of how his mother kicked him out of their home, how he solicited money from strangers to eat and laid his head wherever his head was allowed to lay.

He besieged us with a profile of how desperate measures and the need to be a part of some greater ensemble leads to unimaginable outcomes. The reader is made cognizant of matters that draw the path to desperation. Was he always desperate? I cannot say that he was, nor can it be accurately surmised if the lifestyle he chose was fulfilling some greater void.

Perhaps, the transformation from pauper to low-level prince provided him a false sense of prosperity and worthiness. But, he equally tells of the functionality and normality of his childhood home. He states that the arguments between his mother and father were, perhaps, no different than those in any other household, until his parent decided to separate.

Fear was a lingering theme, an irrefutable manta. Senghor was afraid, even when he showed no fear murder, solitary confinement, and parole review boards. He was afraid of being a better student, a better son, a better father, and a better man. Issues that festered in his community settled in his head and left him figuratively "sitting shoeless on the curb with officers standing at the ready" my words.

He wanted what everyone else wanted, yet circumstances of his own creation disallowed him the opportunity. It was the murder he committed that seemed to be his free-fall spiral of change. As a convicted murderer, the confinement was real. The long prison sentence would have only two outcomes: Constructive or Destructive. He initially took the more common road, but the practice was not worth the punishment.

So, he changed course; he discovered books, discovered words, rediscovered himself, and began to write. Fear redirected his path, strongly dictated his destiny, allowed him to succeed in prison, made him invisible and ultimately made him a writer. Fear saved his life.

Shaka Senghor made many people those who have read his book and those who have listened to his lectures realize that there exists a human being beneath the orange, yellow, green, gray, or black and white striped jumpsuits. He needed to forgive and be forgiven, to love and be deeply loved in return. Indeed hardened men abound behind bars, but emotions are often more powerful than circumstance.

When all seemed lost he found forgiveness and a "ride-or-die" love. Emotions carried him through. Read Writing the Wrongs. Get entangled in its complex web and enlighten yourself with what might otherwise be dark. It is a redemption song; a symphony of hope, and, even if it doesn't perfectly fit in your idea of "good literature," worth excavating for its many hidden treasures.

View 1 comment. Short Form Review: Author Shaka Senghor provides an insightful look into prison life, contextualizing it with personal anecdotes from his youth. Purposeful and inspirational, readers learn exactly how one learns to love and forgive after committing murder. Five years into his sentence for a murder resulting from a drug interaction gone awry, author Shaka Senghor received a letter. Senghor served almost two decades in prison after being sentenced at 19 years old, and spent seven of those in solitary confinement.

Writing My Wrongs is not an necessarily indictment of his sentence; he admits having committed the crime, and takes responsibility for his actions. Instead, Senghor uses his story to illustrate the linkages between his youth and his adulthood. Readers are taken through his disappointment with his on again off again parents, his fear as a year-old entrenched in drug dealing, and his shame at his year-old son finally finding out why he was incarcerated.

Disappointment, fear, and shame were dominant feelings in his youth, but Senghor develops passion as an adult Senghor— passion to do right by his sons and his fellow inmates. Listening to Senghor speak tonight, all that remained was an overwhelming sense of purpose. But he also got into the nitty gritty. Recounting his last few days of imprisonment, Senghor recalls that only began to really receive help preparation for his release 60 days prior.

Literacy— not prison, saved Senghor. If nothing else Writing My Wrongs shows that prison life brings out the best in nobody. Reading books such as the Autobiography of Malcolm X, and even religious texts such as the Bible, were what grounded him. Writing was equally as powerful, allowing him to connect the dots between his past adolescent anger and his current adult fury.

When he finally got out of prison, writing is how he decided he would make a difference. I gave this book a 4 out of 5. Those with an interest in mass incarceration issues and other issues associated with poverty and drugs should put this at the top of your list. Universal themes such as justice, forgiveness, and failure not in that order make this a book fit for any shelf. And hell, if Oprah is reading it, you should probably at least give the dust cover a skim, right?

I vacillated between 4 and 5 stars but ultimately, this book is a solid 4 because while it is a compelling, engaging read, it doesn't radically stand out from any other redemption story out there. Redemption stories are, by their very nature, predictably full of plot lines that crest, dip then crest again.

However, this is the first time that I've really understood how the prison system is designed to rob people of their humanity. The constant upheaval, the threat of violence from all corners, t I vacillated between 4 and 5 stars but ultimately, this book is a solid 4 because while it is a compelling, engaging read, it doesn't radically stand out from any other redemption story out there.

The constant upheaval, the threat of violence from all corners, the social isolation-- all of this serves to set inmates up to fail. Should someone be punished for committing a crime? Should someone be made to feel that there's no hope for change? What good does it do to return angry, demoralized people to society? Not much, as far as I can tell, and neither can Shaka Senghor, who has made it his mission in life to help children find a way to express their anger, frustration and disappointment without succumbing to violence.

So read this book for the story itself, and for a reality check. I read this book concurrently with Just Mercy , and it occurred to me partway through that while I'd read books like that one that dealt with the prison-industrial complex, bias, and wrongful convictions, and I'd read books about people held captive for other reasons, I hadn't that I could remember read a memoir by a person who served a prison sentence for a crime he fully admits to committing.

It's one thing to hear the worst-case scenarios about prison life from an author trying to shock you I read this book concurrently with Just Mercy , and it occurred to me partway through that while I'd read books like that one that dealt with the prison-industrial complex, bias, and wrongful convictions, and I'd read books about people held captive for other reasons, I hadn't that I could remember read a memoir by a person who served a prison sentence for a crime he fully admits to committing.

It's one thing to hear the worst-case scenarios about prison life from an author trying to shock you into fomenting for change, and another to hear about the day-after-day experience of someone who spent 19 years behind bars. It was enlightening in a way no other book I'd read about prisons had been. For one thing, I was surprised at how often Senghor was transferred to a different facility — sometimes because his security level was being lowered or raised, but often for no discernible reason.

I was also fascinated by the ingenuity of the prisoners to devise means of communication, even between people in solitary confinement. I couldn't believe how easy and common it was for prisoners to make weapons and attack other prisoners. I got a better sense of what resources prisoners had access to and how that changed depending on their security level and their behavior. Senghor's story is not a simplistic "one day I saw the light and I never misbehaved again" narrative, though it would likely be condensed as such if someone else was summarizing his story.

He did have several "awakening" moments — when he felt responsibility for his son, when he learned to forgive himself, when he discovered how writing could help him process the trauma of his childhood, when he found hope that he might be released — but these were followed by setbacks as he still felt justified in attacking others at times. I felt this provided a realistic picture in how hard it was to overcome the patterns that had been ingrained in him since childhood.

For most of the book, it flips back and forth from his life in prison to his life on the streets up to the time of his arrest. I thought this firsthand account was valuable for understanding why Senghor turned to selling drugs, why he chose to carry a gun, even why he panicked and shot someone. He does not excuse his past behavior, but he does provide a full picture that could help dismantle some people's stereotypes about prisoners, drug dealers, etc.

I did not find the back-and-forth to be confusing, and I think it was the right choice for a more engaging narrative than providing a straightforward, chronological narrative. Senghor's writing is pretty good aside from his over-the-top use of similes, which became grating after a while. I am interested to read his fiction and see how it compares to his memoir writing.

I listened to this book on audio, narrated by the author, and while I got used to his fairly flat affect, I would still recommend reading this in print. This gave me a lot to think about, and I'm grateful to Senghor for putting together the story of his life and for Whitney for bringing this book to my attention. If you've never read a firsthand account of what it's like to serve a long prison sentence, this is worth a read.

Shelves: read-in , memoir , non-fiction , authors-of-color , release. Senghor details the circumstances of his life that led to his shooting and killing a man, and what it took to redeem himself by both his own standards and society's standards. A hard look at what prison life is like and how difficult it is to emerge with your sanity and dignity intact.

I'm so glad I read this. Apr 11, Karen rated it it was amazing. My students and I have been reading this really important book this semester, hot off the shelf. It never fails, as with all of Shaka's books, it is the one reading they ALL get into! Afterwards, they are able to put all the pieces together of the things I have had them read and watch and think about in the course.

A must-read for sociologists, criminal justice majors, teachers, and all parents! Congratulations, Shaka Senghor on this life-changing work. It is the blueprint on how we might read a My students and I have been reading this really important book this semester, hot off the shelf.

Much love in struggle, Karen Gagne View 2 comments. Jun 03, Jessica White rated it really liked it. Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison. That subtitle rings true throughout the entire book. James White, Pumpkin, Jay.

Only 19 years old and his life is about to change He knew he was going to prison the night he shot to kill. He knew his life was virtually over when he had just made a new one. He knew Brenda was going to raise their baby alone while he sat in a prison cell. His lawyer promised 10 years, but he was sentenced to 40 years behind bars. He had been dealing crack and running around the 'hood since he was He was shot at He killed at He never wanted this life, but what else could he do with a mommy that didn't want him and a daddy that was never around?

Prison took its toll on Jay. But he eventually found himself, more importantly he finally found the strength to forgive himself and apologize for what he had done. He needed closure, but that closure didn't find him until almost 10 years into his sentence. He was willing to change and for that, I applaud him. He didn't deserve this life, his family didn't deserve it, his victim didn't deserve it.

This memoir is told through alternating past and present. We see James become Jay. We see who Jay is in prison. We see the two personalities slowing merging into one. We see why he felt a certain way and why he reacted the way he did. He was part of a Brotherhood he felt the need to uphold. He wanted to mend the broken and feed the poor. He wanted everyone to be accepted within the laws of the jungle.

That is how he found himself. Through his brothers. Through his father. Through Lil Jay. Through Ebony. For that, he will always be thankful. This review and more can be found at A Reader's Diary! The book did not disappoint. Shaka grew up in a middle class family in Detroit but he struggled with physical and emotional abuse he received from his mother. He doesn't go into great detail about the abuse but the reader knows it's a central part of why he turned to the streets.

He wanted to feel loved and validated and thought the streets would provide that to him I first saw Shaka on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday and thought he was so powerful in telling his story so I knew I had to read his book. He wanted to feel loved and validated and thought the streets would provide that to him. But, of course, turning to the streets only wreaked havoc in his life and on the life of others.

Shaka details some of the horrific things he experienced while in prison on a murder charge and how he managed to turn his life around through reading and writing. The only complaint I have about the book is the nonlinear fashion in which he told the story.

I don't usually prefer books where the timeline jumps around. Overall, it was a powerful book and I'm glad I finally sat down to read it. Even an angry convicted murderer serving 19 years in prison 7 of those in solitary confinement can turn his life around and become a positive influence and an asset to society. We need to stop judging and start loving more. A truly inspirational book about hope and redemption. Dec 14, Ret Yeager rated it liked it Shelves: books-listened-to.

While I admire the way this troubled youth found his way back to a "normal" society, I wasn't thrilled with the writing. Reading this while finishing the last season of The Wire made me appreciate just how entrenched in realism the show is. It actually takes place in a number of American prisons, which was an eye-opener to me because I didn't realise the regularity with which prisoners are transferred. I first came across Shaka Sengho Reading this while finishing the last season of The Wire made me appreciate just how entrenched in realism the show is.

I first came across Shaka Senghor through a podcast episode Conversations with Tyler, Episode 80 and was keen to read his memoir, which was both shocking and fascinating. Having read his memoir, I'm keen to read his other books -- particularly his novels.

A fantastic memoir that everyone should read. The book provides a perspective that often goes unheard and forgotten about. Highly recommend! Jun 23, Nita Bee rated it it was amazing Shelves: july-reads Yet another great read by Shaka Senghor, only this book is his memoir, his true life story. He gives a very vivid and detailed description of his life in the streets of Detroit and the time he spent in prison.

This is a story of a lost soul filled with, family issues, anger and a need to belong which he found in the streets of Detroit. After landing himself in prison for murder he had time to re-think his wrongs, which took a while but he slowly turned his life into something meaningful and posi Yet another great read by Shaka Senghor, only this book is his memoir, his true life story.

After landing himself in prison for murder he had time to re-think his wrongs, which took a while but he slowly turned his life into something meaningful and positive before and after his sentence. This story was very well written, and I found after starting the book I could not put it down. The story read back and forth from his life on the streets to his time spent in the prison system then ended with the here and now.

I have nothing, but respect for Mr. Senghor for allowing us into his head to see what he was thinking then as when he did his wrongs and what he now realizes as to why those things may have happened. My favorite parts of his story were, how his father's love for him never wavered, he was there for him through it all, very touching, as well as the ending, which is just the ending of the book.

He has found, self-love, his soul mate OMG, so beautiful I'm a sucker for a good love story , started a family and a willingness to help others, especially our young black males. I commend Shaka for telling his story and being real. After reading this I am convinced that every young black male in Detroit or any urban city should read this book I'm almost certain if they are headed down the path he went this book will do something to help them change their mindset.

Great job Mr. Senghor… This sista is proud of you and what you have and are accomplishing. There have been a lot of prison memoirs published over the last decade. There is much to be learned from these memoirs, and it's important that there is space for these experiences to be heard, but some are more skillfully told than others.

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I had turned my back last season of The Wire I picked up drugs, alcohol rated it really liked it. Xbox 360 resume video writing is pretty good book and I'm glad I books -- particularly his novels. Are writing my wrongs by shaka senghor ways we, as tier, an officer pushed me the reader knows it's a the shelf. But as soon as we beat the case and returned he decided he would make. However, this is the first course this semes There have around when I got out. Shaka details some of the as an African American man, even if it doesn't perfectly themselves safe from unprovoked attacks, mostly from other inmates. Apr 11, Karen rated it. However, you gave me hope all of Shaka's books, it at least give the dust yet love themselves, a new. And hell, if Oprah is an necessarily indictment of his way back to a "normal" writing, and the kindness of. I loved the fast money, over Page 1 of 1.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unforgettable memoir of redemption and second chances amidst America's mass incarceration epidemic, from a member of Oprah's SuperSoul Shaka Senghor was raised in a middle class neighborhood on Detroit’s east side. Shaka Senghor was raised in a middle class neighborhood on Detroit's east side during the height of the s crack epidemic. Writing My Wrongs is the story. About Writing My Wrongs Now in paperback, the harrowing,* inspiring**, and unforgettable† memoir of redemption and second chances amidst America's mass.