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Charles McGregory

When first asked to share a literacy experience Mr. McGregory expressed that he had never thought about how literacy has impacted his life, but he proceeded to share his name and some background information. Mr. McGregory is a Lincoln Park Baptist Church member, 48 year old, African American. Originally from Georgia, he was raised in a southern Baptists denomination. Mr. McGregory is a middle class working American who graciously volunteered to share his personal story about his literacy experience, "How Literacy Helped Me Understand the Bible." Unlike most narratives, he does not talk about the bedtime stories or the support of a guardian or even the help of the church. Mr. McGregory explains how reading for him was an outlet. He states, "Through books, I could get out of my world and get into someone else's world for a while. It was a good coping mechanism for a while until I got older and it no longer worked so I had to find, ya know, other things."Not only did Mr. McGregory have a broken home, but he did not have accesses to a sufficient education. He shares that understanding literacy was an issue when he was young because a lot of adults in his life, mainly preachers, did not receive a formal education. These preachers were not able to teach or help the people of their congregation to understand the complex content of the Bible; because of this, Mr. McGregory felt disconnected in his understanding of the context of the Bible and fell away from the church.

Interestingly enough, the struggles he faced with his faith brought on by his illiteracy gave him motivation to continue his education to better understand the "Word." Self motivation is a powerful tool, and with it present in Charles' personality, he was able to overcome the hurdles in his life and pursue a new found love of reading. He states, "I think not understanding the Bible made me want to improve my understanding of words." Often time's people can be intrinsically motivated to pursue literacy. This was true in Mr. McGregory's case, but additionally his life experience related to the church inspired him to continue on a path to understand the written word through education.

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