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Book excerpt: "Until the Lion Speaks" by Billy Moore

On November 20, 1984, on the South Side of Chicago, Billy Moore, then 16, bumped into another youth, Benji Wilson. Words were exchanged. Moore pulled out a gun and fired, killing Wilson, a high school basketball star.

After spending 20 years in prison for murder, Moore, now 53 (and having lost his own son to a shooting in 2017), has been trying hard to make amends. He's reconciled with Wilson's brothers, and he works for Chicago CRED, a group whose mission is to stop deadly street conflict. "We're trying to identify the groups of young men who are actively involved in conflicts, and we're mediating these conflicts," he told "CBS Sunday Morning" correspondent Susan Spencer.

"I just wanted to make sure that if I was ever given a chance to come from up under this, I wanted to be as productive as a person, as a citizen, to my community as I possibly could," Moore said.

Page Publishing

Published earlier this year, "Until the Lion Speaks" (Page Publishing) is Moore's account of his own life's journey, and the lessons he seeks to impart upon today's youth, to avoid the kind of mistake he made on a Chicago street more than 36 years ago.

The title of the book is inspired by an African proverb: "The tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter, until the lion speaks."

Moore writes of the lesson about subjectivity: "The premise of the proverb explains how people will glorify a story or create a narrative about someone that isn't necessarily accurate, or even make themselves look good. This is done only to create an attitude within people toward other people that they want to paint a negative point of view of."

In the book, Moore not only addresses the confrontation on that unfortunate day, but also sets out to outline his pedigree, his upbringing, his experience in prison, and the work he had been doing since his release.

"Until the Lion Speaks" also tells of the social landscape that defined Chicago in the eighties, making the city itself a distinct character.

The author's aim is to impart lessons that can help youth develop the emotional skills to successfully get past challenging moments.

"Although there are lessons in life that can only be learned through personal trials and tribulations," Moore writes, "I wish it were easier getting young people to see the benefits of learning from the mistakes of others, so they don't have to suffer the grave consequences of their own mistakes."

Don't miss Susan Spencer's interview with Billy Moore on "CBS Sunday Morning" April 4!

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