Kwame Kilpatrick: In Gratitude


Kwame Kilpatrick, the former Mayor of Detroit and author of the upcoming auto-biography, Surrendered: The Rise, Fall and Revelation of Kwame Kilpatrick has a lot to be thankful for.  In the past few days he learned that we will be paroled early.  In addition, pre-sales of his book are strong and his family continues to support him during this difficult time.

Now, Mayor Kilpatrick expresses gratitude in his own words:

My two Grandfathers, James B. Kilpatrick and Marvell Cheeks Jr., instilled in me a tremendous respect and appreciation for history.

They both firmly believed that going back to the beginning of something is the best way to find original facts; therefore, you find the truth. Thank you, Granddads!

In that regard, I thank my Creator, the One who makes all things possible, the Author of truth. This book is named Surrendered, and so many times while writing it, I experienced inspiration, an idea here or a memory there, that was vital to the work. Each time, it happened not by my power or might, but by His spirit. I surrendered. To God be the Glory.

I am thankful to many for this process. This book, as mentioned earlier, is not casually dedicated to my wife and children, but explicitly. They are truly the wind beneath my wings. Jelani’s funny and sarcastic comments, Jalil ‘pretty boy swag’ moments, Carlita’s goober/nerdy expressions, or the awesome spirit-lifting sound of Jonas‘ voice; it all nourishes my soul. Thank you so much, Kilpatrick crew.

I am eternally grateful to my Mom and Dad. Mom, you are one of the most remarkable public servants of our time. Thank you so much for your guidance, support and love, and for never missing a parent/teacher conference, or allowing me to miss homework assignments. You did it all. Dad, thank you for always being authentically you. You told me, when I was 10 years old, that you would always be there for me. Through every football or basketball game, election, child birth, triumph or disaster, you were there. Thank you so much for keeping your word. You are still The Man!

To my sister, Ayanna, I thank you immensely. You took this project under your wing and moved it forward, often doing the heavy lifting alone. You organized meetings, conference calls, follow-up strategy, marketing opportunities, etc. You are the bomb! When we were kids, folks called us “Kwameyanna”, as if we were one person. But I want to tell you, that you have grown into a strong and loving individual, sister and Mom. It was your passion, work ethic, tenacity and organizational skills that got this done. Thank you, Bone!

To my sister, Diarra, who I affectionately call the smartest Kilpatrick of all, thank you, as well. Your encouragement, uncanny wit, comedic talent and love has been a buoy for me. An e-mail, phone call or visit from you would force me to reach beyond the thoughts I bought into at times, and inspire within me a greater awareness of the spiritual light at the center of my being.

I also want to honor my other parents, Carlton and Pamela Poles. Thank you so much for your unyielding love, support and encouragement. You have given Carlita and me an amazingly powerful example of what being united in marriage truly means. I love you both.

To all the descendents of Marvell and Bessie Cheeks (MBC), the greatest family on planet Earth, I thank you all so much for always having my back, front and sides. Also to my Kilpatrick and Simmons extended families, I thank you for your support and encouragement.

No matter how many copies this book sells, it has already been a successful endeavor. I asked Khary Turner, nearly three years ago, to help me do this. He is an outstanding writer, poet and storyteller. I soon became very impressed with his keen thinking skills and infectious positive energy. We developed a rhythm and vibe with one another that transcended our basic notion of writing a book, to a higher calling of spreading knowledge, wisdom and understanding. It was my considerable pleasure to work with Khary on this project.

I’m also thankful to Catherine Van Harren, who did an outstanding job editing the project, and went out of her way to consider and understand my story. Thank you, Catherine, for your expertise and insight.

To my 14 line brothers, the ones who “crossed the burning sands” and joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., on the evening of March 14, 1990, in Tallahassee, Florida. Nubians, I can never say thank you enough. You looked out for my wife, my children and even kept me from falling so many times. I’ve lost a lot of so-called brothers over the past few years, but you all have consistently held up the light of brotherhood. You further cemented, in my spirit, that your commitment was not for that day, but for all of our lives.

In no way do I intend to devalue or disregard the magnitude of the crisis faced, particularly by communities of color, as a result of ongoing mass incarceration, or give any notion of positive credit to what author Michelle Alexander calls “America’s new caste system.” However, I must say, that I am so much better because of the prison experience. My fall has enabled my life, and my remaining life’s work, to rise. I have met several men, while held behind prison walls, who played a major role in helping to rebuild my character and my life. I am grateful for brothers like; Charles “Fish” Fisher, Nate Cox, Akil Powell, Corey Nelson, Karl “KG” Graves, Terry “T” Tyler, Demetrius “Knowledge” Wilson, Andy “Shoop” George, Mark X, Joseph “Chip” Stines, Marcel “Cell” Asbell, Jajuan “Weezy” Gardener, Jerry Oday, Terrence “TC” Coles, Tony “TP” Powell, Larry Adams, DeAndre “YB” Shaw, Larry “WB” Richards, DeWan “Wan” Smith, swBrian Green, Derrick Shirley, and so many more. Thank you, Brothers! You will NEVER be forgotten.

To my Pastors, Bishops J. Drew Sheard and T.D Jakes. I remain exceedingly grateful to both of you, for answering your call. God, in His infinite wisdom, caused my life to intersect with yours, at precisely the perfect moments. Your encouragement, honesty, and love provided much need direction and hope for a new day, me and my family. I also want to thank the great congregations that you both lead. My Greater Emmanuel Church family in Detroit, and also my Potter’s House Church family in Dallas. You have been an amazing gift to my family. Your love never fails!

During my time of incarceration, I’ve read more books than I’ve read in my entire life. Many of these authors have become my invisible counselors. Their ideas stoked my intellectual curiosity. Their prose entangled me in webs of suspense, fear, excitement, and joy. Most of all, their personal testimonies enabled me to gain valuable insight, mentorship, guidance and the soul-stirring unction to rebuild Kwame Kilpatrick, mentally, physically and spiritually. Nelson Mandela, Johnnie Cochran, Charles Colson, C.S. Lewis, James Weldon Johnson, Joyce Meyer, The Honorable Elijah Mohammed, Max Lucado, Napoleon Hill, Michelle Alexander, Paulo Coelho, Jemal Gibson, Andy Andrews, Ekhardt Tolle, Carter G. Woodson, Muhammad Bashir, Esq., Jim Collins, John Maxwell, James Patterson, Renita Walker, Sydney Sheldon, Pearl Cleage, Dan Brown, Walter Mosely, and so many more. Thank you all for sharing your gift with Me.

Finally, I want to thank the people of Dallas, Texas, and of Detroit, Michigan. Over the past couple years more than 250,000 people have moved from places all over the United States and beyond, and now call the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex home. On behalf of my family, who were a part of that number, we thank you for welcoming us to your community with open arms. Quite simply, you all loved us in a way that we didn’t know was possible for a community the size of the DFW area. You turned the lights on for us, and I thank you.

To the people of Detroit, you played a major role in my life. From my teachers, coaches and childhood mentors, to my classmates, neighbors and friends. I can never thank you enough for all that you have done for me. The moments are few and far between that Detroit’s unique, authentic and revolutionary spirit was not present in my ideas, thoughts, emotions and actions. That cutting edge, innovative, sometimes radical flavor is the real Detroit.

Detroit moved the world by putting it on wheels, birthed the Motown sound, even gave a platform to a young southern preacher named Martin Luther King, Jr., who delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech months before he captured time on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. That Detroit birthed men and women who dare to be different, to be bold, to be free. And its those Detroiters, and their unmistakable Motown swagger, who raised me. To them, and their children, I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude. I hope and pray that they are empowered by this book. By learning the truth, you are free to speak with courage, conviction, passion and, most of all, love. As it says in the Gospel of John, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Go and get your freedom!  Its always been about Detroit Love!

To friend and follow Kwame Kilpatrick:

Friends of Kwame website
Kwame Kilpatrick Facebook
Kwame Kilpatrick Facebook author fan page
Kwame Kilpatrick’s Twitter