Willie Mae struggles daily against the odds to raise her family to be upstanding citizens in an era that does not yet accept colored folk easily. She must deal with taking care of her mother, a no-good husband and his child abuse, and the worries of bringing up not only her own children but also their children. Despite their own turmoil, the Turner family members are always ready to help out friends in need.
Thomas Turner, a young, handsome colored man, marries Willie Mae, a fifteen-year-old colored girl. Marriage between young teenagers is common in the mid-1940s. Over thirty-nine years of marriage, they have seven children. As a typical couple, the husband works, as head of the household, and his wife stays home and raises the children. The problems start early on. As a husband and father, Thomas is cold and heartless. Willie Mae, for the sake of the children, sticks with him until he goes too far--beating on her mother. The children, venturing off into the world, to college, their careers, and marriage, discover life's revelations, such as the joy of babies and the pitfalls of marital infidelity, divorce, and illness. With a divorce and a new husband, Willie Mae is the ever-present safety net, and helps raise her grandkids. Despite their elders' warnings, the grands encounter the vagaries of the modern world--drugs, school problems, unplanned pregnancies, gangs, and too-easily-acquired guns.
Generation Impact: An American Family's Turmoil is the rocky journey of a black couple who struggle with the challenges of the mid to late 20th century, and for Thomas, his personal demons, to raise a respectable family. They survive, and thrive with the succeeding generations who in turn learn some life lessons from their strong-willed matriarch.