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How far will a family go to protect one of its own against injustice? How much will it sacrifice?
The rural Virginia town of Warrensburg has been home to the Warrens for generations. Moonshiners and small farmers, the family is stunned when one of their own is targeted by the state for involuntary sterilization. Under the 1927 Supreme Court Buck v Bell decision, sixteen-year-old Millie Warren, an epileptic, is considered “feebleminded” and a threat to the nation’s genetic pool. As the state moves to sterilize Millie, the family and a few close allies fight back in the only way they know. The price: jail, the break-up of the family, loss of home and farm and cross-country flight.
Narrated by Millie’s twin brother, Joshua, this compelling coming of age story is a tale of courage and friendship that transcends racial lines. It moves from the family’s initial angry bewilderment at their community’s treatment of Millie, through growing awareness of how supposedly “enlightened” forces plan to eliminate people like Millie from society, and finally to the high personal cost of resistance.
Although “Warrensburg” is historical fiction, it is supported by detailed research that accurately describes the forces aligned against the Warrens in their resistance to the eugenics movement. It includes a Q&A and a bibliography.
Publishing date: December 3, 2021
Paperback: 340 pages
Dimensions : 6 x 0.98 x 9 inches
Fleury Mills Sommers is a former award-winning editorial writer and newspaper columnist and a founding member of the editorial group for a major international public relations firm. With her husband, she co-founded Sommers & Associates, a well-regarded public relations firm headquartered in Houston, Texas. She earned her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University and her MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.