MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- The Wartburg in Mount Vernon recently hosted a reading and book signing of Cheryl Wills’ book "Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale," which pays homage to her great-great-great grandfather Sandy Wills, a former slave who fought for the Union during the Civil War.
Sandy Wills fled his slave master, Edmund Wills, and fought valiantly from 1863-65 as a member of the United States Colored Troops.
The event on Aug. 14 was held in the state-of-the-art Rehabilitation and Adult Day Services Center on Wartburg’s 34-acre campus. Over 50 people attended, including members of the Mount Vernon Doles Center, Wartburg residents, registrants, patients, staff and community members.
"Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale" stretches from Haywood County, Tenn., in the 1860s to New York City in the 20th century. Cheryl is a nationally recognized, award-winning journalist for NY1 News. The book is based on thousands of documents she received from the National Archives while researching her ancestry. Her second book, "The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills," a children’s version of this historic tale, is scheduled to be published this fall.
“I have addressed audiences the world over – from Senegal, West Africa, to the United Nations. The seniors at Wartburg were the best. I will never forget their enthusiasm and their intense interest in my story,” said Wills. “Seniors are our national treasures, and their stories deserve to be told. I feel like I’m part of the Wartburg family, and I can’t wait for my next visit.”
After her presentation and question-and-answer session, Wills signed copies of her book for those in attendance.
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