This book is about a slave with a half-white mother and a white father. He was born in North Carolina and missed death in the first few days of his life. His mother's mistress wanted to kill him because he was the son of his mother's slave master. She went to his mother's room at night with a knife but his Grandmother saved his life. Not to long after that he and his mother were sold.
When he was about six or seven years old his mothers old master died which lead to all the saves being divided between the children. He was sent to his father's wife's brother-in-law; this separated him from his mother. The way they were divided was that different names of the slave's were written on a piece of paper and put into a box. Then the children would all draw from the box and see whom they get.
He was then sent hundreds of miles away from his mother to the southern states of America. He caused this being sold to a negro trader. The Trader, Mr. Mitchell, was selling a lot of slaves on the way down south but found it hard to sell him. He was a lot whiter then the other slaves which was a problem. This resulted to him being sent to Mr. Seed who he stayed with for a year. He also had a hard time selling him.
He was finally sold to a man named Dr. Jones who was a Doctor and Cotton Planter. He was taught to mix medicines and sent to the cotton plantation. He also did work in the doctor's home. A few months after he was then sold to a man named Mr. Smith. He was then about twelve years old. For the next eight years he would be sold to many different traders in many different places.
After many trades, a man named Mr. Gooch who lived in Cashaw County, South Carolina, now owned him. HE was immediately set to the cotton plantation to work. Mr. Gooch gave him bread and meat for allowance. That still wasn't half enough for him to live on. He was giving hard labor with made him think of his fellow-slaves. HE became tired of the work and tried to run away. He was caught by a trader and set to Lancaster Gaol. Here slaves advertise for their masters to own them. If the master does not claim them they are sold for Gaol fees.
That wasn't his last attempt on running away. He tried several other times but was always getting caught. Known run-aways would get a more vicious beating. Each time he got caught he got 100 floggings with a whip to his back. He was giving even harder work like cutting down trees in swamps and wasn't getting the allowance he used to get.
He ran away once again and made it to a river that he had to cross. HE got across and ran through a forest for about 15 miles with no food. He knew where he was going and how to get there. He was in search of his mother that was kept and a small lodge with her children and husband. When he finally reached her she didn't recognize him at all. He started telling her things that only she would now. His mother then started to cry and held her son for the first time in ten years. She told him that every day she that about her first child and dreamed of them reuniting. She introduced him to her husband who knew about the stories of him. The husband gave him a hug and a kiss. They let him stay there but he couldn't be seen by any of the masters.
In the daytime he would stay in the woods to prevent himself from being seen. When the night came he would sleep with his family in the small lodge. This continued for a week until he was surrounded by a group of white men with pistols that took him to a near by Gaol. His master was contacted and was sent to get him.
When he made it back to the master's plantation he was chained around his neck, ankles, and wrists, which were chained to a metal rod. He was then giving 50 floggings each by Mr. Gooch's children, 50 by his wife, and 50 By Mr. Gooch him self. He was also thrown into a underground dungeon for a day or two.