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Cheryl Wills' Emma, A Long-lost Story of Civil War Heroism
Author talk & book signing
Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 3 pm
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Celebrate Black History Month with Emmy Award winning TV reporter Cheryl Wills.


Cheryl Wills' latest children's book, Emma, is a sequel to her popular illustrated children's book The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills. The best-selling book is her intimate story about her great-great-great grandfather Sandy Wills and his transformation from Tennessee slave to courageous Civil War soldier fighting for his own freedom.

Now, Cheryl is once again using her voice to speak for the silenced and forgotten, as she shares Emma's story.

Emma was Sandy's wife, a brave and strong enslaved woman who dreamed of being free and literate. She never let her dreams die. Emma had to fight for everything in her life - her freedom, her hope, and the pension she was entitled to as the wife of a deceased soldier. Emma introduces themes like perseverance, leadership and initiative to students while educating them about historic events. If Emma could achieve her goals, perhaps so can all the girls that have come after her, like her great-great-great granddaughter, Cheryl Wills. Today, Emma continues to speak with encouragement, love and discipline to readers so that they, too, can dare to dream and reach their own goals. A documentary based on the books is in the works.

Books will be available for purchase and Ms. Wills will be signing.

Families are invited to meet Ms. Wills and learn more about the history behind her books. Children welcome!

This is a free community program. No tickets or reservations required.


Co-sponsored by the Gerstein family and Wanda & Hiram Matthews and family

About the Author

Cheryl Wills is a nationally recognized award-winning television personality for Spectrum News' flagship national news network, New York 1 News, headquartered in New York City. Cheryl Wills has been with NY1 News since its launch in 1992 and is one of the station's most recognizable journalists for breaking news and special coverage. Cheryl is the only journalist in the nearly 25-year history of her cable news network to conduct a sit-down interview with The Secretary-General of The United Nations, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon. She has also interviewed a sitting President: Nobel Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia. Cheryl's groundbreaking interviews earned her a prestigious Medal of Excellence from The United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA). Cheryl has also reported from the White House. She is also a blogger for The Huffington Post and contributes to Essence.com.

Born and raised in New York City, Cheryl is the daughter of Firefighter Clarence Wills, who worked for Engine 1, Ladder 24 in Manhattan, New York. The eldest of five children, Cheryl is a mentor to her brother, Clarence Wills Jr., who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, and she is guiding his career as a cartoonist. On March 25, 2011, Cheryl Wills made history as the first journalist invited to speak at the United Nations General Assembly Hall for The International Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade where she read passages from her book, "Die Free" which was broadcast live around the world on UNTV.
Cheryl is most proud to be the newly designated Commander and Lifetime Descendant Member of the New York Chapter of the Sons and Daughters of the United States Colored Troops - a national organization of Civil War descendants who raise awareness about black soldiers who served during the Civil War. Her book tour has taken her all over the world, including Senegal, West Africa - where she presented her story at the 2011 World Summit of Mayors before an audience of international politicians, dignitaries, and journalists.


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