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Joy Keys chats with The Other Wes Moore

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Author Wes Moore

Wes Moore is a youth advocate, Army combat veteran, promising business leader and author. He was one of Ebony magazine’s “Top 30 Leaders Under 30” for 2007 and Crain’s New York Business’ “40 Under 40 Rising Stars” in 2009. His first book, The Other Wes Moore, will be published by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House, in late April 2010.

Born in 1978, Wes Moore was three years old when his father 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. When Wes continued to fail in school, she sent him to military school in Pennsylvania. After trying to escape four times, Wes finally decided to become accountable for his actions. By graduation, he was company commander overseeing 125 cadets.

In 2000, as Wes was preparing to leave for England on his Rhodes Scholarship, he learned of another young man named Wes Moore who was just two years older, lived in the same neighborhood, and was heading to prison for life for the murder of an off-duty Baltimore police officer. Wes was shaken, wondering how he and his namesake could have such different fates. He wrote to the other Wes Moore, and much to his surprise, received a letter back. Through visits with him in prison, and conversations with his family and friends, he discovered startling parallels between their lives. Yet at similar moments of decision they would head down different paths towards astonishingly divergent destinies. Wes realized this was a much larger story about the consequences of personal responsibility and the imperative of education and community for a generation of boys.