One Wes Moore is a best-selling author, Rhodes scholar, decorated combat veteran and now a TV host. Another Wes Moore is a convicted felon in prison for killing a police officer.

Westley Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore – the story of two young men with the same name growing up in the same neighborhood at the same time with two very different outcomes – will bring his message to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday observance at the University of Missouri–St. Louis on Monday, Jan. 20.

The event, “Is Dr. King’s Voice Still Speaking Today?”, will begin at 10 a.m. at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on UMSL’s North Campus. In addition to the speaker, the event includes music and dramatic presentations. It is free and open to the public.

Born in Baltimore in 1978, Westley Moore and his two sisters were raised by their widowed mother. There were tough times for the family, and Moore had academic and behavior problems in school. His mother sent him off to military school, and he ran away five times before his life turned around. He graduated with honors from the military school and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

As Moore left in 2000 to study in London on a Rhodes scholarship, Baltimore media bristled with a story of another Wes Moore. Wesley John Moore had been arrested for killing a police officer and faced life in prison.

Haunted by the fate of this man he didn’t know and their parallel lives, Moore later wrote and visited him in prison. He met with the other Moore family to learn more about him. Moore’s website recalls what he learned from those visits.

“The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine, and the tragedy is that my story could have been his,” he says.

Moore travels the country addressing the issues he raises in his book and speaking about opportunity, faith and our priorities as a society. A portion of the proceeds of Moore’s book goes to US Dream Academy and City Year.

Also appearing at UMSL’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s event will be the Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church Men’s Chorus. Actors will perform a scene from the play “Mountaintop,” directed by Jacqueline Thompson, and UMSL students Aleshia Patterson and Gustavo Perez Diaz will perform “A Letter to Dr. King.”

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