Addy has begun to give up hope of ever having her family together. Then she gets word that baby Esther, Auntie Lula, and Uncle Solomon are on their way to Philadelphia. Addy searches the city for them, but the reunion she dreamed of is mixed with joy and deep sorrow. As Addy prepares for her reading at the Emancipation Celebration, she begins to doubt the words about freedom she is supposed to read. Momma reminds Addy that their family will always be together as long as their love and courage live in her heart.
Addy and her parents have moved to a boarding house. There Addy meets an inspiring friend, M'dear. Like many people who grew up enslaved, Addy doesn't know when she was born, so M'dear urges Addy to claim a day for her birthday. Then M'dear falls ill. When Addy goes out to get medicine, she faces prejudice--and danger. M'dear helps Addy overcome her anger and gives her a deeper understanding of freedom. When Addy finally claims a birthday, it is a special day indeed, and the whole city celebrates.