Tobias was born into slavery on a plantation in South Carolina in 1840. He never knew his father, who died before he was born, but his young mother shared a secret about his father's past which he kept the rest of his life. After her premature death when Tobias was only ten years old, he spent the rest of his life - as a slave, as a soldier in the Union Army, and as a farmer in a place far from that of his birth - seeking to re-establish the sense of family he had enjoyed for so brief a period in his youth. His familial choices were both conventional and unconventional, and when Fate intervened in middle-age, he finally enjoyed the ideal family he had sought for so long. The choice he made at that time would have repercussions for events occurring more than a century later in America, and the ongoing struggle against oppression which is played out in today's headlines.