The Holcombs live on a plantation called "Dunwishin'," which is, according to the narrator, Luli Holcomb (the youngest daughter in the Holcomb family), located "just east of Austin, Texas." This, Luli suggests early in the book, is one of the reasons why the enslaved people on the property are uncertain whether they are free or not near the end of the Civil War. Their uncertainty ends when Union troops arrive, and Luli's father is forced to announce that they are, in fact, free. The title of the book alludes to June 19, 1865, the day when many slaves in the former Confederacy were notified that the end of the war had brought them their freedom by order of President Abraham Lincoln. For Luli, the announcement exposes a lie she had been forced to tell to Sis Goose, a young enslaved woman.