Dec 20, 2021
When it comes to experiences, Wendell White has many.
The current Milwaukee, WI resident was born and raised in the Englewood section of the South Side of Chicago, the “Wild Hundreds,” as Wendell explains. After leaving foster care, Wendell moved into the projects with his mother and family. Unfortunately for Wendell (and many children in inner city, African-American communities), he returned to a world full of drugs and violence. What made Wendell’s situation exponentially bleaker, he didn’t even have to leave his project apartment to find it. His own family sold the drugs and contributed to the violence.
“When you’re a child and you're watching your mom and family sell drugs, how does someone tell you to go to school and get an education? Everybody around me sells drugs and they are lucrative! My uncle was making $50-60k a day! I was twelve years old, and one day he gave me a bag with over $250,000 to hold for my auntie. He had all the cars, and everyone admired him. I wanted to be like my uncle. When he left, I went into the bathroom and saw all that money. I decided right then and there I was going to sell drugs. But at 12-years-old, you don’t understand all that comes with selling drugs. You don’t see that death, prison, and violence come with selling drugs. All you see is the money. You don’t see how you’re destroying people’s lives.”
Soon after that decision, Wendell joined a gang and quickly realized that gang life wasn’t the glitz and glamour he thought it was. Not only did he learn that he would start nowhere near the level his uncle was, but he was now a gang member in one of the most violent cities during its most violent time in history. According to the Chicago Police Department, from 1991 to 2004, there were 3,422 gang-related murders in Chicago. That’s an average of 244 murders per year.
Wendell saw no other way to live. It was all he knew and taught, and turning to his family for guidance offered no respite. Even his own kidnapping didn’t turn him away.
“I started making money, big money. We were buying cars, flashing cash, but one day God decided that wasn’t the plan. I was kidnapped, beaten, and left for dead. That was the beginning of my transformation. The person that did it to me was near and dear to my heart; he set me up. But God spoke to me and told me to repent. I was in the hospital for eight weeks, but when I got out, I didn’t know anything else. I was eighteen and all I knew was selling drugs.”
Wendell moved to Milwaukee soon after, and though he had changed locations, his mindset hadn’t. He continued to sell drugs, yet one day, it all stopped, but not through any choice of his.
“One day, my phone just stopped ringing. I was selling drugs every day, all day, then one day, my phone just stopped ringing. I realize now that God has always been with me. He stopped it."
Soon he would begin to attend church. He also wrote a book, The Devil Thought He Had Me, and launched a mentoring program. He says, "We all need a mentor; we all need somebody to help us navigate through life, not really trying to control, but to teach us how to be accountable. I feel that I can get enough of the men and the youth. If I can just get to them and talk to them. Tell them my story and the things I’ve been through. We could make such a huge impact. Not just in the cities of Milwaukee and Chicago, but in the entire world."
To learn more about Wendell White, you may follow him on Facebook by putting Author Wendell White in your search box. You may also following him on Instagram by putting wendell_24 in your search box. To learn more about his mentoring program, Wendell White Speaks, please visit his website at www.wendellwhitespeaks.com
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