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Underground- “The Macon 7”

That night, Noah and the other slaves are left to sleep in a cabin. There he receives information from a dying slave on how to get to freedom with the words carved into the wall of the cabin. Noah tears cloths from his shirt and uses the man’s blood and imprints the words on to it. The next morning at The Macon Plantation, a field slave runs to The Big House to get Rosalee, a house slave and her mother, Ernestine, to midwife another field slave who has gone into labor early. The pregnant woman is in great pain due to a breach birth. The woman’s husband, waits outside, fretting the outcome, but the child, a boy, is delivered alive and well. They return to the Big House to finish preparing dinner for their master, Tom, and his wife, Suzanna. They plan their daughter, Mary’s, birthday party, and to decide to make it a political affair to gain the public’s favor to make Tom the Senator.

Underground begins with a slave, Noah, running from catchers and their dogs in a Georgia forest just outside of Macon. He manages to elude them in the thick of the brush, but a dog almost catches him. He manages to reach a wagon until he is snatched off and knocked out. Up North, John Hawkes, an avid abolitionist speaks on the steps of the nation's capital, condemning slavery and what is happening to Dred Scott. However, no one pays him any attention. Back south, Noah is rounded up with a few other runaways and placed in shackles. His leg seems to be busted as he walks with a limp. A White man, August Pullman, rides by them on the way to the river to give his mule a drink. There, he finds a female runaway and tells her she is going the wrong direction. He draws out a map to the Ohio River for her in the mud and then hides her in his wagon as slave catchers approach. The catchers demand to check his wagon for runaways, but he throws a knife stabbing one in the hand when he touches his wagon and pulls a gun on the other. They leave angry and disappointed.

Noah arrives back at the plantation is about to be branded as a runaway until Tom questions him and determines he is not lying and was simply lost in the woods. However, he does have a slave driver whip him five times for each dollar he spent retirieving him. They send Rosalee to tend to his busted leg. Much to her surprise, he has been faking it the whole time. He continues to limp, however, to throw off any suspicion of running again. That night, Rosalee goes to visit the field slaves and runs into the woman she and her mother helped earlier. The woman tells her she has killed her newborn, not wanting him to grow up as a slave. Rosalee races to her cabin to find the child drowned in a tub of water. The next morning Rosalee finds it hard to concentrate on her work. Ernestine encourages her to focus and work and get her mind off what has happened. She tells her she can see why the woman killed her child and that she worries for Rosalee and her brothers.  August brings the runaway slave he was hiding to the authorities. The other slave catchers realize he lied to them. He claims his reward as they comment on how he brought her in without a scratch on her.

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Noah talks with his friend Henry, who tells him he has been working out and preparing to run with him. He shows him the cloth he has with the words to freedom. Cato, a Black slave driver, tells Noah he does not trust him and knows he is hiding something. After speaking to a Black man who wants to recruit him for the Underground Railroad, John talks with his wife, Elizabeth who is mentally ill. He finds she has knocked holes in the wall with a hammer during one of her hallucinations. They decide to visit his brother, Tom, in Macon. Noah talks with Rosalee’s brother Sam, a carpenter and field slave about gaining freedom and telling him he will need his help. That night, he tells Henry and Sam they need a group of slaves to run away if they hope to ever have freedom. He begins to eye other slaves as possible recruits. The next morning Rosalee’s younger brother, James, and Tom’s son cause an accident for one of the slave drivers. He prepares to whip James, but Rosalee takes his punishment for him while the Macons ignore the beating. Tom stops it when he sees Ernestine crying.

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That night, John arrives and they celebrate Mary’s birthday. Meanwhile, the field slaves have a funeral for the newborn baby.  Elizabeth is appalled to see how the slaves are treated and trades quips with Suzanna. She later speaks to John and agrees to allow their home to be a safe house for slaves on the run. Tom summons Noah to his office to alert him to what has happened to the wagon he had when he ran away. Cato lies and tells him it could not be recovered. Noah is surprised he has had lied for him. Cato reveals he only did it so that he can run away with him.

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