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The Other Wes Moore Timeline

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Karen Chung

on 1 May 2014

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Transcript of The Other Wes Moore Timeline


TWO KIDS WITH THE SAME NAME LIVED in the same decaying city. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader.
Start
Moving to the Bronx
Street Mentality
"... And Shani found herself on the receiving end of a punch to the nose." (78)
"...I was furious. First, at Shani for not punching Lateshia back, but then at Lateshia, who had the audacity to go after my sister" (78)
Violence hit close to home for Wes
Joy Moore
"My mother hoped her gift would prevent other families from having to go through what we'd suffered." (36)
Instead of spending the money after her husband's settlement, she started a fund to help lessen other's suffering
Genuinely well-intentioned and not selfish
The Other Wes Moore
Timeline

By Karen Chung and Meagan Cox
Justin & Riverdale Country School
"Justin and I bonded the first time I met him." (46)
Wes had strong bonds with positive influences from a young age
Military School
Mayor Schmoke, Johns Hopkins, & The Rhodes Scholarship
Wes later had the opportunity to have two internships with Mayor Schmoke of Baltimore.
When asked by Mayor Schmoke how he enjoyed his internship, Wes replied but his "glib answer didn't do justice to the impact the time in his office had had on [him]." (155)
Wes had yet another positive role-model to set him up for sucess
The other is serving a life sentence in prison.
Joining the Military
"This uniform had become a force field that kept the craziness of the world outside from getting too close to me, but I wondered if it was just an illusion." (118)
The maturity Wes gained while he was away at school was undeniable
Father
Tony
"Send a Message"
Woody
Alicia
Cheryl
Levy
Islam
Mother of Wes's third and fourth children
Drug addiction
Wes saw her "coming off her high, stumbling to the bathroom, [and it] disgusted Wes…it pained him to realize that the mother of his children was just like them [the people Wes sells drugs to]" (138)
Wes did not expect drugs to directly impact his own family
A friend of Wes that successfully left the drug trade
Suggested Job Corps
"a program…designed to help disadvantaged youth… leave with a general equivalency diploma (GED) and the skills to…land a job" (139)
This offers people like them a chance to go back on the right path
"She needed help only her parents could provide." (37)
Joy accepts when she needs help and makes decisions that will help her kids

When his mother decided to send him to private school, Wes wrote, "She wasn't a snob, she was scared." (p.47)
She was smart enough to know private school was Wes' only chance to succeed
"When we moved to New York, she worked multiple jobs...whatever she could do to help cover her growing expenses." (47)
"They also talked about something I'd never heard of before. Crack." (p.40)
Wes was exposed to real drugs and violence for the first time
"I had thought my mother's rules were strict but soon realized that my grandparents' were many times worse... And my grandparents figured if these rules had helped their children successfully navigate the world, they would work on their grandkids too" (p.42)
Wes suddenly had many more rules to follow to help him avoid making bad decisions
He always had people looking out for him and wanting him to succeed

"With every step on these cracked sidewalks, I passed a new signifier of urban decay. But I didn't even realize it." (p.43)
Wes was exposed to a darker culture, but he never recognized it as negative

William Westley Moore Jr.
"It wasn't his style to yell" (p.6)
He showed Wes that he could be strong without being violent
"I was his main man. He was my protector." (p.11)
He allowed Wes to feel less alone and safe in his home
"...he dreamed of being on television." (p.11)
He set an example for Wes of reaching for your dreams

"Riverdale was in the Bronx but was its own little island of affluence..." (48)
In contrast to the tough conditions of the public schools, Wes has all the opportunities presented to him in the form of a higher education
"I tried to hide the fact that my family was so much poorer than everyone else's at school" (52)
Wes felt the pressure of being out of place, which didn't help motivate him to do well in school
"Disappointed with D's, pleasantly satisfied with C's, and celebratory about a B, I allowed my standards at school to become pathetic." (54)
"But I knew there was no way my mother would allow her only son to be shipped off to military school. Regardless of the grades" (55)
Ironically, by dismissing his mother's threats and continuing to fail school, causing his mother to send him away, was one of choices that most helped Wes

"Just as fired up as I was, Aunt BB followed me up the street." (78)
"But we were deadly serious" (78)
Wes was influenced by his family, both in "good" and "bad" ways
"But I just stood there in my B-boy stance... until I felt like the message had gotten across." (79)
"Little things like this had a way of escalating into blood feuds." (79)
Wes had experience with seeing how things could go bad quickly, yet he continued to act
"The Bronx streets had become a fixture in my life" (79)
"I learned from these streets." (79)
Wes learned a lot of important lessons, positive and negative, from witnessing the events around him
"'You wanna tag?'....I couldn't say no." (80)
"Now I understood where this was going. I was being arrested." (81)
Wes made his mistakes at an early age and on a small scale, so it was much easier for him to learn from them.

"My eyes watered as I sat in the backseat of the cruiser..." (82)
"...I was also sincerely fearful about what was going to happen next." (83)
"In that moment, I became aware of how I had put myself in this unimaginably dire situation..." (83)
Wes was scared by his first experience running into trouble with the law, possibly deterring him from future encounters
"A week later, Kid Kupid was on the loose again, adding my tag to another graffiti-filled Bronx wall." (84)
This proves that whilst Wes was in this environment, he would inevitably fall back into crime
"She simply pulled her right hand back and slapped me" (88)
"She was devastated. She was losing her son, and she was not sure how to turn the tide." (89)
Rather than just accepting that her son was going down a dark path, she was upset by it and was determined to help him
"For the first few days, I woke up furious and went to bed even more livid." (90)
"By the end of the fourth day at military school, I had run away four times." (90)
At first, Wes saw no value in this change
"The problem was that military school is not free" (95)
"My mother had written to family and friends, asking them to help her however they could." (95)
Joy was willing to push her own pride aside and make sacrifices to help her son
"...F Company... was known around the entire corps as the most squared away, the most impressive company." (96)
"Nineteen-year-old Cadet Captain Ty Hill took his place at the front of F Company." (96)
"I had never seen anything like this before. I had never seen a man, a peer, demand that much respect from his people." (96)
Military school showed Wes a new form of respect and leadership to aspire to
"I was now a platoon sergeant, a cadet master sergeant, and the youngest senior noncommissioned officer in the entire corps." (115)
Military school gave Wes the opportunity to be a leader and feel needed
"Just as military school had slowly grown on me, so had academic life." (130)
...My American Journey helped me harmonize my understanding of America's history and my aspiration to serve her in uniform." (131)
Although playing basketball was still tempting, Wes had begun to see that he had many options for his life, an important one being the military.
"Aside from family and friends, the men I most trusted all had something in common: they all wore the uniform of the United States of America." (132)
"I wanted to stay at Valley Forge and attend its junior college, which would allow me to go through the early commissioning process, receive my associate's degree, and become a second lieutenant in the Army. I wanted to lead soldiers.
Suddenly, Wes had a direction for his life and the motivation to pursue it
After being inspired by Paul White, the assistant director of admissions at John Hopkins, Wes applied and was accepted, even with scholarship money.
Mayor Schmoke also sold Wes on the idea of the Rhodes scholarship.
"He shared with me some of the trips he took around Europe. And he told me about the odd feeling of being a minority, not because you were African-American but because you were an American in the wider world." (162)
Levy was aspired to earn money that is "steady and honest," and he wanted to “have more time to give his family without injury, death, or incarceration looming” (139)
Wes followed in Levy's footsteps and took responsibility of a father
As a result: Wes found a new life goal - to protect and shelter his children
But after leaving Job Corps, Wes was not able to earn enough money to provide for his family --and he fell back into the drug trade
Wes decided to leave the drug trade, because he was "tired of watching drugs destroy entire families, entire communities, and entire city" (138).
This made Wes reconsider his job and inspired him to live his life without drug dealing.
Wes's childhood friend, met at Northwood
8 years old
Wes got punched during a football game
Wes could only remember what Tony taught him before: "send a message so fierce that they won’t have the chance to do it again" (33)
Wes wanted to retaliate by using a knife
Woody gave a warning to Wes, “Don’t do it, man. Dude is not worth this” (33)
Wes continued and got caught by police




Woody attempted to prevent Wes from getting into trouble and teach him to solve a problem without using violence
Woody and Wes decided to skip school together
From cookout to "party"
Woody aroused Wes’s interests in trying weed
Loss of Innocence:
Wes understood “how powerful [and addictive] drugs could be" (62)
And how much money could be made off “selling that feeling to people who needed it” (62)
Woody and the desire to earn money caused Wes to join drug trade at a young age
Tony tried to protect Wes by trying to convince him not to join the drug trade
Tony wanted to “go back in time, to before he’d gotten himself so deep in the game, and do it all over” (28), but Wes looked up to Tony and wanted to to be like him
The hypocrisy between Tony’s advices and actions confused Wes
Wes decided to follow Tony’s actions instead of Tony’s advices because he saw the short term gains of dealing in the drug trade
Another major impact Tony had on Wes was his lesson: "If someone disrespects you, you send a message so fierce that they won’t have the chance to do it again" (33).
Wes thought sending a message meant using weapons like knives and guns
Wes always gets into dilemma with police or incarceration
The Armed Robbery
The sentence Wes received was "life in prison without the possibility of parole" (157)
For the first time, Wes saw his long term future instead of short time
This shows that Wes is in the process of coming of age
Mother of Wes's first two children
Her first pregnancy made Wes direct his time & energy on the drug trade
After Wes came back from the Baltimore County Detention Center, he decided to drop out of high school because he could not make up the basics he missed
"without a high school diploma or job training – and with a criminal record - … [it’s] almost impossible to find a job to support his growing family" (110)
Only working in the drug trade could Wes fulfill the demands of his family
Wes's father had no direct influence on Wes's life
He was irresponsible and an alcoholic
"my father wasn’t there [in his childhood] because he chose not to be" (3)
Wes learned not to follow the steps of his father
His father impacted him the most when Wes became a father
"Wes's nonexistent relationship with his father probably contributed to his seeming indifference about becoming a father himself" (101)
An important lesson in Wes's life and Tony taught him as a way to protect himself from others
“If someone disrespects you, you send a message so fierce that they won’t have the chance to do it again” (33)
Wes got into trouble every time he tried to send a message
Knife
Wes tried to revenge with a knife he found at his house
Gun
Ray was in anger when he found out his girlfriend spent the night with Wes
Ray took unmerciful swings at Wes - therefore Wes wanted to sent a message
The result of Wes's action led him to stay in Baltimore County Detention Center
Wes attended church sporadically with his mother when he was younger
In prison, Wes became a leader in the Islamic faith
At first, Wes went to mosque on Friday to see Tony
Being a leader in the Muslim faith is far better than being a leader in the drug trade; and Wes would no longer feel hypocritical in the actions and decisions he made.
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