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Five Days: Provoking Thought about Inequality in Baltimore

Five Days: Provoking Thought about Inequality in Baltimore

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Earlier this week, I received my copy of Wes Moore’s latest book, Five Days. Co-authored with journalist Erica Green, Five Days depicts the unrest in the city of Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, a black man whose “rough ride” in a Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD) van led to his death.

The authors tell the story as the events unfold through the eyes of Moore and eight other Baltimoreans. The other Baltimoreans are:

  • Tawanda Jones – a teacher and activist whose brother, Tyrone West, died while being arrested by the BCPD
  • John Angelos – a Baltimore Oriole executive who decided to play a home game against the Chicago White Sox during the riots with no fans allowed
  • Marc Partee – a high-ranking officer in the BCPD whose battalion faced rioters downtown and at the Mondawmin Mall
  • Greg Butler – a Baltimore native and former basketball star who avoided troubles with the law over the years but who decided to participate with the protesters
  • Anthony Williams – the manager of the Shake & Bake roller-skating rink and bowling alley in the city of Baltimore
  • Jenny Egan – a public defender in the Baltimore City juvenile justice system
  • Billy Murphy – one of Baltimore’s top attorneys, known for his high-profile cases against the BCPD
  • Nick Mosby – a Baltimore native and City Councilman whose wife, Marilyn Mosby, is the state’s attorney who filed charges against six BCPD members who arrested Freddie Gray

Moore and Green provide a thoughtful and well-written narrative of the situation in Baltimore after Freddie Gray’s death (note: I attended high school in Baltimore beginning in 1966 and have lived there since, except when I attended college). The stories of the activities of the eight selected individuals provide different perspectives as the events unfold. An epilogue provides readers with an update on each character since 2015.

An “Author’s Note 2020” chapter written by Wes Moore and included at the end of the book may be the most thought-provoking chapter of all. Moore is currently CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, one of the largest anti-poverty organizations in the country (note: Wes Moore served on the board of directors of American Public Education, Inc., the company that I led as CEO during his tenure as a board member).

In the short 12 pages of this chapter, he makes a case for what we can do to improve the inequalities that exist in America today. Read in context with the Freddie Gray story and the recent George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests, the chapter makes a powerful case for why actions are needed now. Five Days should be on everyone’s book list.

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Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In July 2016, he retired as APUS president and continued as CEO of APEI. In September 2017, he was reappointed APUS president after the resignation of Dr. Karan Powell. In September 2019, Angela Selden was named CEO of APEI, succeeding Dr. Boston who will remain APUS president until his planned retirement in June 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. During his tenure, APUS grew to over 100,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 90,000 alumni. In addition to his service as a board member of APUS and APEI, Dr. Boston is a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, a board member of the Presidents’ Forum, and a board member of Hondros College of Nursing and Fidelis, Inc. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. Dr. Boston lives in Owings Mills, MD with his wife Sharon and their two daughters.

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