Based on an actual memoir written by Maritcha Remond Lyons, who was born and raised in New York City, this poignant story tells what it was like to be a black child born free during the days of slavery. Everyday experiences are interspersed with hight-point moments, such as visiting the U.S.'s first world's fair. Also included are the Draft Riots of 1863, when Maritcha and her siblings fled to Brooklyn while her parents stayed behind to protect their home. The book concludes with her fight to attend a whites-only high school in Providence, Rhode Island, and her triumphant victory, making her the first black person in its graduating class. The book includes photographs of Maritcha, her family, and friends, as well as archival and contemporary maps, photographs, and illustrations.