Senghor Spent 19 Years in Prison for Murder; Today Serves as Reform Advocate, Motivational Speaker
DELAWARE, Ohio – In 1991, Shaka Senghor was sent to prison for second-degree murder, convicted of killing a man in an argument over drugs. Today, he is the author of six books, a lecturer at the University of Michigan, and a leading voice on criminal justice reform.
While serving 19 years in prison, Senghor says he discovered redemption and responsibility through literature, his own writing, and the kindness of others. His newest book, “Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison,” will be released March 8.
“Guilt, shame, anger, self-doubt, and hopelessness kept me from reaching my full potential,” Senghor states. “However, once I changed my thinking and decided my life was bigger than any prison cell they could put me in, I began doing the work needed to break free mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”
Senghor will share his inspirational story when he visits Ohio Wesleyan University for a lecture and book signing at 7 p.m. March 30. He will speak in the Benes Rooms of OWU’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Admission is free.
Senghor also is scheduled to be interviewed March 13 on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) Emmy Award-winning television show, “Super Soul Sunday.” Previous guests have included former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
In addition to penning “Writing My Wrongs” and five other books, Senghor is founder of The Atonement Project, which “seeks to begin community dialogues around issues of reconciliation, atonement, and healing after suffering the harm caused by crime and incarceration.”
He currently teaches a course on The Atonement Project at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and has been invited to participate in three TED talks, most recently on the main stage at the 30th Anniversary TED Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Senghor also serves as the director of strategy and innovation with #cut50, a bipartisan initiative to safely and effectively reduce the U.S. prison population by 50 percent over the next decade.
He previously earned the 2012 Black Male Engagement (BMe) Leadership Award, was named a 2013 MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, and was selected as a Fellow in the inaugural class of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Leadership Network. Learn more about Senghor at www.shakasenghor.com.
His OWU visit is sponsored by OWU’s Black Men of the Future, Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs, and Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. Learn more about the office and its mission at www.owu.edu/omsa.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 87 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,675 students represent 43 U.S. states and territories and 33 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.