TALLAHASSEE — The Pegram family in Clover, S.C., is the focus of a new book by a Florida A&M journalism professor dealing with AIDS.

Ashamed to Die: Silence, Denial, and the AIDS Epidemic in the South by Andrew Skerritt documents how one woman — Tricia Ann, a sister, aunt, wife, mother and pastor — cares for Carolyn, her drug-addicted and AIDS-infected sister, and Carolyn’s young son.

Relying on her faith, Tricia Ann enters into a fight to save others dying of AIDS in her rural Southern neighborhood but often ends up presiding over funerals instead — funerals where the cause of death is rarely admitted.

According to a promotional statement, Skerritt’s book  traces the impoverished family’s history and depicts how taboos about love, race and sexuality, combined with Southern conservatism, white privilege and black oppression, continue to create an unacceptable death toll into the 21st century.

A native of London, England, Skerritt grew up on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Howard University and a master of liberal arts from Winthrop University. He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Caribbean-American Journalists.