The book matters because it depicts major reforms of the juvenile justice and child welfare systems in Alabama. The lawsuits stopped the physical and sexual abuse of black children.
Children are defenseless under the control of adults who care nothing about them and only want to exploit them. Children don't vote or make campaign contributions. They have no power of their own. The children in my book had no chance of living happy and productive lives. The State of California deposed 34 adult men who served time at Mt. Meigs as juveniles and every one of them wound up in adult prisons. Most of them said that Mt. Meigs was far worse than any adult prison they ever experienced.
The message for all of us is that all caring adults have a collective responsibility for the care, nurturing and protection of children. If we don't, who will? I believe that one cannot truly love his own children without caring about the welfare of all children--to do otherwise would be a disservice to his own. When we see child abuse in any form and fail to act, we become partners with the abusers.