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Black Author Writes Of Family Civil War Hero

 NEW YORK - It’s a thread of American history interlaced with the life of the first African-American to integrate Engine 1, the oldest firehouse in New York City. DIE FREE: A Heroic Family Tale by author and nationally known journalist, Cheryl Wills, shares the unvarnished truth about her family roots in this remarkable journey from slavery to freedom in America, including powerful accounts obtained from the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

As the nation marks the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, Wills puts forward her Great-great-great grandfather Sandy Wills’ courageous stint in that Great War for remembrance alongside the other 200,000 members of the United States Colored Troops who have largely been ignored in anniversaries past.

The day dawns; the morning star is bright upon the horizon! The iron gate of our prison stands half open. One gallant rush from the North will fling it wide open, while four millions of our brothers and sisters shall march out into liberty... He who would be let them strike the blow. Better to DIE FREE than to live slaves. 
~Frederick Douglass, 1863 in his appeal to recruit slaves to fight in the Civil War

With the help of a genealogist and Ancestry.com Cheryl Wills’ exhaustive research unearths a legacy that defies common stereotypes about the antebellum and reconstruction periods in the United States.

What excuse do we have after learning what our forefathers and foremothers did with less than nothing. My great-great-great grandfather fought under a flag that didn't even recognize him as a human being much less a citizen of the United States. How dare I not do my best in a country that my great-great-great grandfather so valiantly served and sacrificed for. 
~ Cheryl Wills, Author and New York 1 News Anchor

About the author: Cheryl Wills is a longtime news anchor for Time Warner Cable’s New York 1 News featured regularly on the Huffington Post. She was awarded in 2005 with an honorary doctorate from New York College of Health Professions and honored in 2010 as a broadcast legend in a regional campaign for McDonalds. Wills has moderated events broadcast on C-SPAN, is a public speaker, and has played herself in several big-screen movies.


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