Study Guide

Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison Spirituality/Religion

By Shaka Senghor

Spirituality/Religion

Spirituality isn't just about what happens in your inner lifeā€”it's also about what happens in your connections to other people, the cultures that shape your experience of religion, and the long histories of how religion and culture intertwine.

Throughout Writing My Wrongs, Shaka has to sort through all of this in his experience of spirituality and religion. He grew up with Christianity, but a version of it filtered through white American culture in a way that he eventually found hard to connect to. In prison, he discovered Muslim groups with a spirituality more focused on African and African American heritage. Shaka found deep growth and community there.

Along the way, important people in his life shared their investment in spirituality, usually Christian or Islamic, as a motivation for caring about Shaka and supporting him.

Questions About Spirituality/Religion

  1. How do culture and history impact Shaka's experience of religion and spirituality? Are religion and spirituality mainly an interior experience, or do they also relate to external cultural and societal factors?
  2. What role does Shaka see religion/spirituality as having played in his transformation?
  3. What are some of the challenges Shaka sees in connecting to religion/spirituality in his life?

Chew on This

Shaka values religion and spirituality, but he's also open to critiquing religious organizations.

Shaka felt a need to find a religious expression that valued Black culture.