What does it mean when the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence is your father and also your slave owner? Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston are Thomas Jefferson's children by one of his slaves, Sally Hemings. While they do get special treatment, better work, better shoes, even violin lessons, they are still slaves, and are never to mention who their father is. The lighter-skinned children have been promised a chance to escape into white society, but what does this mean for the children who look more like their mother? As each child grows up, their questions about slavery and freedom become tougher, calling into question the real meaning of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."