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About 'Die Free'

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A TV journalist finds the most powerful story in her own family heritage

When award-winning television anchor Cheryl Wills discovers that her great-great-great grandfather, Sandy Wills, was a runaway slave who joined the fight for freedom in the Civil War, she embarks on a search to find out more about the ancestor who demonstrated the same spirit and heart that she knew in her beloved father, a remarkable but flawed man, who died when Cheryl was thirteen, and who never knew his family legacy.

Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale is also a touching chronicle of the author’s yearning for her father both while he was alive and after his untimely death at 38 years old. Wills asserts, “There’s a comma after that fateful night on the bridge, not a period. There was much more to his life than my dad’s transgressions, spectacular though they were, and his legacy proves that his errors in judgment are but a footnote in an otherwise breathtaking walk on the wild side for the thirty-eight years that Clarence Wills walked this earth.”

From Haywood County, Tennessee, in the 1860s, to New York City in the twentieth century, the unvarnished truth about the Wills’ family roots, ever entwined in passion, music, and faith, is a story full of rich detail and memorable characters. The author reaches back two centuries to provide history and context to a fascinating and vivid picture of an American family, descendents of enslaved Africans who, generation after generation, “cracked open the window of freedom.”

“ is proud that Cheryl Wills used our comprehensive website to make such a fascinating discovery. Die Free is a perfect example of why we do what we do!”

~Loretto “Lou” Dennis Szucs, V.P.

“Die Free is a compelling American story as Cheryl Wills traces the lives of her forefathers and foremothers … she writes with the creative flair of a novelist … This is a must-read for all members of the family, young and old alike.”

~Rev. Al Sharpton, President, National Action Network

“The stories in Die Free are so deeply engaging that readers will quickly realize that in telling her personal story, Cheryl Wills is also telling ours.”
~Warrington Hudlin, President, Black Filmmaker Foundation

2010 © Cheryl Wills. All rights reserved.

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