It began with the curiosity of a young African American male, name Wes Moore. Whose name appeared in the Baltimore sun in December of 2000. An article was written announcing that he, a young “fatherless” son of yet another single mother, was receiving a Rhodes scholarship. Little, did he know that, not far from his “memorable” write up in the Baltimore Sun, would be a series of article that would change his life even more than his scholarship that he had earned. What was written, were articles, about another “fatherless” son of the city.
A young man, who accompanied three others, in a botched jewelry robbery, that ended with a Police officer being shot and killed. Wes mother Joy brought the story to her son’s attention. Wes came to realize that the young man had been raised in a neighborhood, not far from where he’d lived with his family, before moving to the Bronx. Just blocks, seemed to separated the two of them at one time. But, there was more to this article, not just the familiarity of the neighborhood, but the name, of “one” of “four” young men, mentioned in the article.
The name that stood out, was his own, Wes Moore. After years of studying, Wes Moore, the Rhodes Scholar, continued to be haunted by the reality that he’d read about, of the other. With it still on his mind, Wes reached out to the other, with a letter. The letter was followed by more letters and conversations. The scholar’s intrigue was welcomed by the other. As the “lines of communication”, began the scholar saw how the felon’s life was much like his own.
Both raised by single mothers, both struggling in school, both getting in trouble with the law early on and both having opportunities to do better. Needless to say only one followed through with the opportunities that were present him and he wrote the book. While reading The Other Wes Moore, I felt a deep connection, not with either of the men, but, with both of the mothers portrayed. Being a mother of a son, I can related to how ”Joy”, the authors mother, reacted to her sons behavior by taking the actions of moving from Baltimore to be around her family in the Bronx for support.
I also respect her decision of placing Wes in Military school. She remained proactive in the life of her son. It showed she had high standards of herself and her child’s success. She did not “baby him” she motivated him and he played it forward. Wes, the other’s mother, Mary, I understood as well. She had good intention but lost her way. Money played a big part in challenges in her family. And losing the financial support, altered her educational possibilities.
Her life, represented the “loop”, that you see many women getting stuck in when they have to choose between their education and supporting their families. Mary wanted for her family education and good jobs, she just lost her way. And in doing so she lost two sons to the streets. The portrayal of the two mothers mattered to me. Both mothers life could very well have been an example of my life. I was a single mother of a son, for the first 5 years of his life. On top of that I moved 2000 miles away from my family to help with the care of my ailing “maternal’ Grandmother.