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  • Government Name: Tewhan Butler
  • Register Number: 26852-050
  • Age:34
  • Time Served:11 years
  • Home Town:East Orange, NJ
  • Sentence:30 yrs.
  • Current Charge:RICO
  • Alias:Massacre
  • Release Date:2029
  • Prison Affiliation:Blood (Double ii/QSBG)
  • Circle of Influence:Altariq Gumbs, Emmanuel Jones, Lester Alford, Marco Miguel Robertson, Pele Brown, David Drone, Jermaine Ray, Marcus Martin, Michael Simpson, Omar Austin, Quaheem Edwards, Torvos Simpson, Vincent Gamboa
  • Institution:USP McCreary
  • Here, my life behind bars offers understanding for those of you who venture into ‘the life’ with no understanding of its consequences: the adversity, the obstacles and the journey one must travel alone when the gavel is slammed, your cell is locked and the lights go out.

America’s Massacre wins a National Book Award

Americas Massacre Book Cover Amazon

America’s Massacre: The Audacity of Despair and a Message of Hope recently won the 2016 In the Margins Book Award for Best Non-Fiction. The following comments are from the book’s author Tewhan Butler.

Who would’ve thought a kid from the downtrodden streets of nowhere serving a thirty-years prison sentence could win a book award.  I guess light finds its way in the darkest places after all. This isn’t a shot at any other author’s whose literary pen bleeds and spills truth. It’s just my way of saying the core of my writing can now be felt for miles beyond the ‘hood, and for that I am grateful.

Librarians, a group I had little contact with while I was in school, were led to acknowledge the voice of a people many otherwise would never have known. I’m not a speech type of individual, nor am I a Kanye. I speak with action, my heart the motivating factor, so pardon me if my spiel here is not as entertaining. A year ago, after engaging with major publishing houses who were on the fence about my story, a komrade and I decided to take a chance and publish my life story. Was the goal financial gain? Did we expect millions of copies sold? Not to sell ourselves short, we understood there always lives a possibility. However, what we wanted was to catch a ear, to get others to listen and show that a hardened childhood doesn’t necessarily mean a child has to grow up without hope. I wanted for those from around the earth to read and experience my walk and draw the similarities between the concrete jungles near and far. The struggle is the struggle, and many will tell struggle is universal. More times than not, it is this struggle that kills off hope, so when I was writing America’s Massacre: The Audacity of Despair and a Message of Hope an award of any kind was not even a thought.

When I learned of the intent of the In the Margins Book Award – to find the best books for youth living in poverty, on the street, in custody, or a cycle of all three – it meant all the more. It is why me and my komrade exchanged thoughts and fought like two mad men to make sure each was worth sharing. We wanted to reach the youth, those locked up at young ages who have been told that prison or a graveyard is all that awaits them. I was once told the same thing. Still today, sometimes, I am reminded of my circumstances (prison), and how the shortsighted use that to define me. Contrary to what they believe, we will continue on with our hope and continue to believe, continue to fight, and continue on our mission to spread the truth that redemption is possible.

Now that I’ve told you what we desired, I’ll tell you now what we need. We need the support of the people. Support the push to get America’s Massacre into schools, youth facilities, community centers, and beyond. I once was one of these kids looking for a voice of guidance that I could relate to and trust. For today’s youth growing up in poverty, on the street, or in custody, who better to hear it from than one of their own? And for those from a completely different walk of life, how better to build understanding and mutual respect than by sharing?

Thank you to the 2016 In the Margins Book Award Selection Committee. Your recognition means much to me and men in American prisons and ghettos who consider me a brother.

  

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