The first episode develops the relationship between James Jackson III, a rich plantation owner's son and Easter, a slave. James marries a wealthy Southern lady, but he carries on with a lifelong affair with Easter, which will result in the birth of a girl, Queen. Queen's fair skin makes her soon notice that she is not as black as her fellow slaves. She is taken into the main plantation house to be the personal slave of James' daughter, where she spends her youth years trying to discern if Jackson is her real father. The Civil War seriously affects James' plantation putting an end to the old ways and the family matriarch tells Queen to find some other place to live.