Overcoming those humble beginnings and avoiding the "thug life" brought me to an Ivy League institution where I expected that as much as I had left that life behind me, so would the privileged individuals who never had experienced it. I was mistaken.
Compared to the five gradual abolition acts passed in northern states between 1780 and 1804, Pennsylvania's was by far the most limited in scope. It liberated not a single individual, and choked out slavery only by degrees.
As I look back at my childhood, it was the advice that my mother, grandmother and elders had instilled in me that still resides in my now adult conscience. So here is what I've learned and my only hope is that others will carry it on.