The story is told through the eyes of a young, educated teenage slave (Joshua Caleb Johnson) who dresses like a girl at Brown’s request (for his own protection, supposedly) and is given the nickname “Onion.”
Long before the Civil War, black abolitionists shared the consensus that violence would be necessary to end slavery. Unlike their white peers, their arguments were about when and how to use political violence, not if.
"It’s a freedom movie; it’s not a slavery movie. It exists in a very perilous and conflicted time in our country, but it’s really about freedom and what you’re willing to do for it—not just for you, but for others." - Kasi Lemmons
This first novel by famed essayist Coates explores the world of slavery and abolition. The author "re-creates the world of the pre-Civil War South," says reviewer Fear, "with a journalist’s eye and ear for detail."