In the novel “A Free State,” by Tim Piazza, two characters stand out. Those characters are Henry Sims, a slave, a fugitive, and James Douglass, an ordinary young man living on a farm. When taking a closer look, these two young men have some similarities, but somewhat different. Henry Sims, born Joseph lived on a plantation in Fairhope, Virginia. He anticipated having his freedom from his master James Stephens. Then there is James Douglass; he lived with his mother, father, and two brothers (Duncan and Robert). James despised the farm he also wants his freedom to live his life and experience other things beyond the farm.
Now they both had a love for music and performing. Henry Sims could play a mean banjo and dance, and James loved how excited he got when seeing someone performing to music. Their likeness of music came about for them in a different way. On the plantation, Henry learned to play the banjo by an old wood worker named Enoch. He spent a lot of time in the wood working shop with Enoch learning to make different things out of wood. His love for playing the banjo grow overtime, and he would play for different affairs on the plantation. The banjo that Henry played is very different from most banjos. It was larger than a regular banjo, and along the rim, Enoch had inlaid crude wood marquetry in a herringbone pattern. When Henry left the plantation, he took the banjo with him.
Now likewise, James also loved music and performing. His father played the fiddle some