Wes Moore wants to make history

Wes Moore, currently America’s only black governor, works from a shabby second-floor office at the Maryland State House. In the quiet town of Annapolis, in the shade of towering trees, stands this Georgian brick building, a little symbol of American history. It is the only state building that has served as the nation’s capital. (The Continental Congress, which met there in 1784, ratified the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War and established the United States of America.) The building houses bronze statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, who served as presidents of Maryland. Born and enslaved in the East Coast. ,

Moore may have been surprised to be in the governor’s office, although his circuitous life’s path has been a defining feature of his rise. He spent his early childhood in Takoma Park, a suburb of Washington, DC. His great-grandfather emigrated from Jamaica in the 1920s, but returned after being threatened by the Ku Klux Klan; Their son, Moore’s grandfather, returned to the United States. When Moore was three, his father died of an illness, and his mother, a freelance writer, moved with her three children to live with her parents in the Bronx. He enrolled Moore at an exclusive private school, Riverdale Country School, but as a teenager he ran foul of the police and after more trouble was threatened with suspension; His mother sent him to Valley Forge Military Academy and College. He prospered there, joined the Army, and enrolled at Johns Hopkins University, graduating in 2001. To Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne. In 2010, after a stint in investment banking, he wrote a short script for The Other Wes Moore, his best-selling book about their separate life paths and a man of the same name who went to prison. C became a celebrity. , Eventually, Moore turned to non-profit work and in 2017 became CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, a New York-based anti-poverty group.

Over the years, his story has attracted journalists and political prospects. Oprah Winfrey became friends; He met Barack Obama at the White House. But when Moore entered the Maryland governor’s race in 2021, a position he has never run for, he faced a widening field of competitors, including Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez, who Was supported by Washington. Afterwards and baltimore Sunday, Initially, Moore voted against the One Percent. During the campaign he was accused of exaggerating the trials of his youth; In his book, although he never claimed that he was born in Baltimore, he described both Wes Moores as living “on the same street”, and did not correct some interviewers who assumed he was from the city. Grew up in rough areas. There were other attempts to challenge his candidacy: In an ugly episode, a major donor to one of his opponents circulated an email arguing that Maryland voters would not elect a black governor: “Three African-American men Ran for governor all over the state and lost. . . . This is a fact we cannot ignore.” But Moore received significant support from teachers’ unions and prominent Democratic officials, and raised large sums in donations, thanks in part to Winfrey, who appeared in commercials and virtual fundraisers. She won the primary, then defeated Dan Cox, a far-right Republican who hired buses to take people to Washington, D.C., to protest at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Moore will be Maryland’s first black governor — and immediately A subject of prophecy about his potential for high office.

On the morning of his inauguration last January, Moore hosted a ceremony at the Annapolis Dock, a few hundred yards from the Statehouse that once served as a reception point for slave ships. For Moore, history is a complex partner in his politics; He often says that he didn’t just run to make history, but that he is embracing the power of his success, and has tried to turn that momentum into legislative progress against disparities in education, employment, and wealth. In a recent speech at Morehouse College, he described Maryland as “evidence of redlining and other discriminatory and predatory housing policies that have served as one of the greatest thefts of property in our nation’s history.” Based on his experience in the military, he has also designed a civilian program for youth looking for a bigger project. In his first year in office, he created a voluntary service year for high school graduates, which is in the spirit of AmeriCorps and which he hopes to make available to every student in Maryland. When signing the bill into law, he described slavery as a source of “civil relations” that could prevent people from “retreating into our corners of political ideologies”.

Moore is forty-four years old, bald but boyish and built like a wide receiver, the position he played at Johns Hopkins. On camera, he can display brutal charm, but in person, when he calms down, he becomes blunt and concise. in February, Time wrote, “Maryland’s governor may be the brightest Democrat newcomer since Barack Obama.” When I visited Moore recently – to talk about service and greed, unity and polarization – the walls of his office were still sparsely decorated, except for a few notable historical items, and that’s where we started . Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Can you help me understand where we are now? Has it always been the governor’s office?

It has always been the office of the Governor. And after four months, we’ve still got stuff on the walls. But that’s probably my favorite thing on the wall that I didn’t bring. [He points to a case holding an old document.] This is George Washington’s handwritten resignation from his commission [as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army], In the Rotunda, George Washington voluntarily relinquished power for the first time in the nation’s history, saying, “The power is not mine. The power is in the hands of the people. And I do not choose who shall lead. The people do.” And it really laid the groundwork for every election we’ve ever had. It’s the groundwork for democracy.

finally allowed. desire to lose

And your willingness to accept consequences should not depend on the consequences. And that’s why I love that document, because I found myself stuck in the denial of choice [because] This shows how weak democracy is. Today we are not far removed from basic political questions: What is democracy? And which results do we accept and which do not? [Moore points to another item on the wall, the photo of his swearing-in.] And then, right there, I was sworn in as the sixty-third governor. Look at that dynamic, that arc.

You started the day at City Dock?

This was done very deliberately. This is a partial tribute to Alex Haley and “The Roots”, as his family moves back to Annapolis. So I said, “I want to start the day there.” And so I, the lieutenant governor, and a few hundred people met on the pier, and we had a moment’s silence. Then we actually marched across the harbor to the State House, which is a short march geographically, but we really wanted to emphasize the power of travel. The state building was built by enslaved people. So now I was about to be sworn in as the sixty-third governor of a state, literally in front of a building built by the hands of people who were enslaved.


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