Shaka Senghor was on a bad road traveling fast when the knock came at his door.
At 18, he was selling drugs for a living and had been shot about a year earlier on a corner in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood, so Senghor was carrying a gun when a friend came by with two strangers.
"I refused to sell them drugs," Senghor recalled. "I got into an argument and told them to get off the block. We made threats back and forth ... I shot several times and tragically caused his death."
He tragically caused a death. That's how Senghor describes it now. But in 1991, he killed a guy. Was charged with second-degree murder. Got sentenced to 17-40 years. A month after his 19th birthday. His girlfriend was three months pregnant.
Senghor is the kind of guy that used to be written off. But everybody gets second chances. His came eight years later in a letter from his son.
"He just really was talking to me about why I was incarcerated," Senghor said. "It was a moment of epiphany. I realized that, although I was incarcerated, I had a responsibility to set an example for him. I made up my mind that if I was released, I would have some type of positive impact on his life and the lives of young people in the city of Detroit."
Senghor found a way with his Live in Peace Digital and Literary Arts Project, which he founded in 2010 after his release from prison.
"They come from a place where violence has been normalized," Senghor, now 39, said of his young charges. "So I said if we write about it and talk about it, we can come up with how to deal with conflict when it happens."
Senghor wants his students to "take control of their own destinies through literature."
Live in Peace was among 10 programs that recently won Black Male Engagement Leadership Awards from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in partnership with the Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement. The awards honor black men who act to improve their communities.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.