Linda falls in love with a free black man who wants to marry her and offers to buy her, but Dr. Flint refuses to sell her. Fearing for her lover's life, Linda begs him to go to the Free States. Left alone, she is grateful for the company of her grandmother and her brother, William.
This chapter foreshadows Linda's decision to embark on the "perilous journey" she describes in Chapter 10. It also offers insight into the true status of free blacks who — although free from slavery — were not free to enjoy the inalienable rights of white citizens. Free blacks were required to carry a certificate at all times. If they were caught without it, they risked being kidnapped and sold back into slavery. Even in Free States, blacks were not allowed to vote or to hold public office. They could not testify in court against whites, and they could not carry weapons, ride on buses and trains, or use public facilities designated as "White Only." If they failed to pay their debts or taxes, they were at risk of being enslaved. As more blacks gained their freedom, new laws were passed to restrict their hard-won rights. Even so, Linda's brief relationship with a free man strengthens her resolve to free herself from Dr. Flint's control.