¬†A work of historical fiction, Nobody‚Äôs Boy is loosely based on the real-life story of a slave named George Kirkland. George‚Äôs owner, Hugh Garland, the lawyer for Mrs. Emerson in the Dred Scott case, brought him to St. Louis at the age of about five. George‚Äôs mother, Elizabeth Keckly (dressmaker for and confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln), bought his freedom and, in about 1860, sent him to college in Ohio. Like the main character in Nobody‚Äôs Boy, the light-skinned George ultimately joined a Missouri regiment in the Civil War, enlisting as a white man on the Union side. Not long after, he died in the battle of Wilson‚Äôs Creek.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The early 1850s was an important time in Missouri‚ÄĒa turning point in the buildup to the war and the beginning of the historic Dred Scott case. The story of George‚Äôs short life is an intimate look at race and life in Missouri at this time, seen through the eyes of an African American boy who grew up on the color line.