Blue Rage, Black Redemption is the story of the founder of the infamous Los Angeles based Crips gang, Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Williams chronicles his life from his turbulent upbringing on the streets of LA, to the countless number of fights in his neighborhood, Williams created the Crips out of what he felt was a necessity to protect the place he called home. Originally designed to protect where he and his friends and family lived, the Crips strong hold soon spread throughout the city. Unfortunately the success of the Crips gang also came with much unwanted police attention, which eventually lead to numerous arrests. Although a majority of arrests lead to no convictions for Williams, in 1981 he was arrested and convicted of murdering 4 people. He was sentenced to death row in San Quentin prison in Northern California.
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Throughout the entire trial and while living on death row Williams maintained his innocence, clamming the murders were committed by rival gang members. However rather than sitting on death row, simply waiting until the day of his death, Williams chose to become an extremely proactive member of his community through encouraging youth to not follow down the same path he had walked throughout his life. Speaking to children who visited the prison, writing anti-gang, anti-violence children's books and bringing gang culture and gang life into a national conversation, Williams worked literally until the day he was executed to prevent gang violence.
Despite his controversial past, many praised many in the political and academic communities took notice of Williams work. Williams and his positive efforts to prevent gang violence eventually went on to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 5 separate times and the Nobel Prize for Literature 4 times. Despite his efforts, Stanley Williams was executed on December 13, 2005.
Blue Rage, Black Redemption tells the story of a controversial, yet extremely influential figure in American gang culture.
Best part of story, including ending:
There were numerous aspects of this story that appealed to me. However I would say that what made this book worth reading is it honestly made me think. Prior to reading this book I was extremely pro death penalty. After reading Blue Rage, Black Redemption, I really questioned my own moral beliefs in the purpose and use of the death penalty as punishment for capital crimes. I am a firm believer that if when you finish a book and want to continue researching the topic after the story is over than the book has done it's literary job. When I finished this book I immediately began researching gang and prison culture and eventually went on to study the subject in school. For me this book honestly changed many of my beliefs I once held very tightly.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene in this book was when Williams was describing his daily gang routine. I had no idea how incredibly organized a gang was. It literally is a business unto itself. In this particular scene he describes himself walking down the street with other members of the gang, all of which had very specific jobs which allowed for the gang to run more efficiently and what they considered to be legal. This scene and several scenes like it really opened my eyes to the inner workings of gang life.
Opinion about the main character:
What I liked most about Stanley Tookie Williams is despite all of the bad thing he did in his life in the name of protecting the integrity of the gang he clearly emphasized the importance his gang played in maintaining the economy of the neighborhood. In his own way he always maintained a gentlemanly demeanor as a way to show that his gang was not made up of thugs but rather a large group of men and women just trying to survive and provide for their friends, family and community.