Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A.

Danielle Allen
Harvard University’s Danielle Allen discusses her searing family memoir, which details her younger cousin’s tragic arc from aspiring firefighter and writer to failed 15-year-old carjacker, prison inmate and, finally, murder victim. A flawed legal system compounded his personal missteps.
Thursday, September 14, 2017
6:30 pm
Event Audio
By his family’s account, Michael Alexander Allen was a gifted young man who dreamed of becoming a firefighter and a writer. Sadly, he became a face of the new American tragedy: arrested at 15 for an attempted carjacking in south central Los Angeles, tried and convicted as an adult, and imprisoned for 11 years. Three years after his release, he was shot to death.
In a discussion of her searing family memoir Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A., Harvard University’s Danielle Allen reconstructs Michael’s life and the struggle to explain how it so tragically played out. They grew up together as cousins, and she blames herself – but also a criminal justice system now ruinous for too many juvenile offenders.
Allen is a Harvard professor and director of the university’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.