by Ronald Bullock
These three books gave me hope for a life after my prison sentence. I drew inspiration from all of these books and authors. The common theme for me was the authors’ ability (or the subject’s ability in the case of the Malcolm X book) to change, both themselves and their message. I was impressed that they also found an audience after being incarcerated.
- Man Child in the Promised Land by Claude Brown
Claude was in and out of the justice system from when he was a juvenile until early adulthood. Even through all of his street gang involvement and near brushes with death, he never allowed his past to predict his destiny and future. Claude attended and graduated from Howard University and later attended Stanford and Rutgers law schools. He had a great ability to embrace at-risk youth and empower them to walk in a life different from his own childhood.
- Makes Me Wanna Holler by Nathan McCall
Nathan was sentenced to a ten year prison for an armed robbery. During his time down he found some time to self reflect and find himself. He took on some training in printing and upon his release he pursued college. His problems in life continued to persist and he was later jailed again for child support. However, through all of his turmoil he still pursued his career in writing and became a bestselling author.
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
The two fold story of Malcolm’s life is monumental within itself – from a womanizer, fast-talking hustler, and robber to the leading Minister of the Nation of Islam. The way that prison groomed and prepared him to be the great speaker and national speaker that he grew to be! What he exemplified was a great maturation of self discipline.
I was sentenced to 13 years of prison but I like to consider the time 13 years of college. My sentence changed me forever – it fast tracked me to my role as a husband, father, friend, and educator! I began to seek discipline, work ethic, and education to propel me to my physical exodus from prison! Thanks to these valuable men and authors for sharing their lifes’ lows and transitions.
I have now completed my own manuscript, a memoir entitled 13 Years of College, which is my debut. It’s being edited.
Stay Tuned! Stay Blessed!