Captured in Africa and transported across the ocean to the Americas, Afrika's captors sell him to a German-born plantation owner in Georgia who becomes a father figure to him. A learned man, he teaches Afrika the value and power of an education, instilling in him a love of learning and starting him on a path toward intellectual freedom even before he gains his physical freedom.
As Afrika's journey continues, he meets a variety of people from different backgrounds who introduce him to new ideas. An English-born abolitionist in New York City, a French intellectual with revolutionary leanings in Montreal, and visits to renowned institutions of learning in Paris and London make a deep impact on Afrika.
These encounters shape Afrika's view of the world as it is - and inform his vision of how the world should be. Consequently, as his understanding of politics and philosophy grows, so does his involvement in the revolutions in the United States, France, and Haiti.