William W. Brown was born a slave near Lexington, Kentucky in 1814. He was the son of a white plantation owner, likely the son of his master, and an enslaved woman. Brown grew up near St. Louis, Missouri and served several slave-masters before escaping in 1834. In 1843 he became a lecturing agent for the New York Anti-Slavery Society, and a prolific writer, penning poetry, novels, historical volumes and plays. After moving back to America after living in England for some time, Brown settled in Boston and in that same year, published his autobiography. Brown's narrative of his experiences as a slave are captured in this book, "An American Slave - A Personal Narrative".