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Young Charlie tells the story of the trial of Virginia Christian and its aftermath. Woven into his narrative are actual court records, letters, newspaper stories, and personal accounts, reflecting the true arc of history in characters large and small, in events local and global. Charlie falls in love with Harriet, a girl orphaned by the murder; meets Virgie's blind attorney George Fields, a former slave; and encounters physician Walter Plecker, a state official who relentlessly pursues racial purity laws later emulated in Nazi Germany.