Hello Meltingpot Readers,
This weekend I overdosed on inspirational stories about Black men. In about three sittings, I read the stirring memoir, The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore. If you haven't heard about it, it's the book about two young Black men with the same name (Wes Moore), who grew up in the same tough Baltimore neighborhood without fathers, but who ended up in two very different places in life. The author of the book became a Rhodes Scholar while the other Wes Moore is serving a life sentence for his role in the murder of a police officer. Even though the story of the "other Wes Moore" is chilling and ultimately a great tragedy, the story is also hopeful. In some ways the reader gets to see where "things went wrong," where an intervention of some kind might have saved a young boy on the brink of disaster. At least that's the way I saw it. I wept for the other Wes Moore as he languishes in prison, because his is a life lost. But if somehow his story can be used as a teaching tool for others, than he doesn't suffer in vain. (Although I'm sure he doesn't see things that way.)
The other inspirational story I drank in this weekend was, The Ben Carson Story. No I didn't read his memoir, I watched the film, Gifted Hands, that was based on his life story. Sad but true, the DVD has been in my house for months and I just never got around to watching it. Last night, with three baskets of clothing waiting to be folded, I finally popped it into the TV and got totally hooked. Carson is a neurosurgeon who grew up poor in Detroit with a secretly illiterate mom and an absent father. He was never a star student in elementary school, in fact he often got failing grades, but when his mother turned off the TV and forced him to start reading two books a week, his world changed. As a mom who wants her sons to never limit themselves, I was just impressed that he literally taught himself to achieve, but his work in the field in neurosurgery is even more impressive. He was the first doctor to successfully separate conjoined twins, who were connected via the brain. Not to mention that most of his educational and career achievements were tempered by the nasty sting of racism which he had to confront over and over again. But that never stopped him.
Here's a short clip of the good doctor speaking about the secret of his success.
So, we're a little bit early for Father's Day, but if you're thinking about inspiring the men in your life, both young and old, consider either one of these stories.