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About the Author

Betsy Hester is a career educator and published author from North Carolina. As an educator, Hester has imparted her knowledge and insights to countless students, using literature as a lens to examine the complexities of justice and human behavior. Her teaching of "The Crucible" sparked a deep-seated curiosity about historical witch trials and their modern-day counterparts, fueling her dedication to unraveling the truth behind the Little Rascals saga.

Driven by a steadfast belief in the power of storytelling to shed light on injustice, Hester has dedicated her adult life to crafting a narrative that transcends mere courtroom drama. Inspired by the resilience of individuals like Robin, who courageously stood against the tide of accusation, she has channeled her passion into "Twenty-One Boxes," a compelling exposé that lays bare the flaws of a legal system caught in the throes of hysteria.

Betsy lives with her husband Joe in Washington, North Carolina.


A Note of Gratitude

Many thanks go to all who guided me, mentored me, taught me, supported me, encouraged me, corrected me, charmed me, loved me, and more. To list them is not enough, but I want the world to know that without them I would not have accomplished this "long-dreamed of moment," as my friend Peter says. 


First to Robin, who collaborated with me and shared her pain so that we could bring this story to the world, along with Betsy, Bob, Shelley, Dawn, Scott, and Darlene ... the Edenton Seven. It was their shared pain that the people who wronged them must account for now. To the Little Rascals kids who bravely talked with me, and who either insist nothing happened or remember nothing at all.

To Lew Powell who preserved everything he could put his hands on and coached me all along the way. To Jeff Miller and Mike Spivey, who, at a heavy cost to their daily law practices and their personal lives, devoted years in the pursuit of justice.

To Joe, my champion and critic, who encouraged me for more than three decades to "write this book." To Maggie, my daughter and friend, for seeing the first thread, even before I did, and to Bryan, her prince charming, for naming the book.

To Dr. Peter Ornstein, a friend and mentor, who took time from his well-deserved retirement to graciously write the Foreward because he too believed it was time. To Sue Kammers, my bestie, for reading EVERY single draft over and over. To my editors and graphic designer, Betsy Thorpe, Kathy Brown, and Diana Wade, for steering me in the right direction and cleaning up my words to make a book. To my student-now-grown, Sara McNeely, for designing this website so that I could share the book with the world.

To all my students from the day I walked into the classroom in 1997 to my retirement just as COVID was changing the world, I thank you. Because of all of you and each of you, I had the chance to teach The Crucible, which for me, started it all.


I am one lucky old gal. 


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