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Penny Stamps Speaker Series

Shaka Senghor

Writing My Wrongs

March 19, 2020

Shaka Senghor

Live Penny Stamps Speaker Series events have been suspended for the remainder of the Winter 2020 semester, but the series continues online with a video conversation between Shaka Senghor and Ashley Lucas, U-M associate professor and former director of the Prison Creative Arts Project. 

Shaka Senghor is a leading voice in criminal justice reform. His memoir, Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison, was released in March 2016 and debuted on The New York Times Best Seller list as well as The Washington Post Best Seller list. Writing My Wrongs chronicles Senghor’s personal experience with the criminal justice system after being sent to prison at age 19 on second-degree murder charges. An unforgettable tale of forgiveness and second chances, Senghor’s book reminds us that our worst deeds don't define who we are or what we can contribute to the world. Senghor’s story has inspired thousands and serves as a compelling testament to the power of hope, compassion, and unconditional love.

Senghor is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2016 EBONY Power 100 list and the 2016 NAACP Great Expectations Award. Senghor was also a 2014 TED Prize finalist for The Atonement Project (a program that aims to promote healing and understanding between victims of violence and violent offenders), is a former MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, and is a current fellow in the inaugural class of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Leadership Network. He shares his story of redemption around the world through his company, Shaka Senghor Inc., dedicated to shifting societal narratives through storytelling with deep social impact.

Ashley Lucas is Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama and the Residential College and former Director of the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) at the University of Michigan. She is a fellow of the Ford Foundation, the UNC Faculty Engaged Scholars Program, and UNC’s Institute for Arts and Humanities. Lucas is also the author of an ethnographic play about the families of prisoners entitled Doin’ Time: Through the Visiting Glass, which she has performed as a one-woman show throughout the U.S. and in Ireland and Canada. Lucas is working on a book manuscript entitled Prison Theatre in a Global Context, analyzing performances from the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil.  Her scholarly publications include articles in the Journal of American Drama and Theatre, the Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Latin American Theater Review, American Music, and Revista de Literatura Contemporania de México. Lucas co-edited a volume entitled Razor Wire Women: Prisoners, Activists, Scholars, and Artists (SUNY Press 2011) and writes a blog by the same title: razorwirewomen.wordpress.com.

Supported by the Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan, presenting the 25th Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners, on view at the Duderstadt Center Gallery March 18–April 1, 2020.

Video