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Julia May and her family have done the unthinkable. They have fled from their life of slavery on a tobacco plantation in Virginia and are making their way north, on foot, where they have heard that slaves can be free. The journey takes them through swamps, travelling by night and hiding by day. The diary that Julia May keeps is another act of bravery. Learning to read and write alongside her mistress at the plantation was her own secret and forbidden as a slave. Julia May's diary records her fears and the extraordinary things she sees during her voyage and keeps her going through the hard times until they are finally free.