Washington was born in a log cabin on a plantation in Virginia. He knew almost nothing of his ancestry, including the name of his father. His mother was the plantation cook and their living cabin doubled as a kitchen for the plantation.
Of my ancestry I know almost nothing. In the slave quarters, and even later, I heard whispered conversations among the coloured people of the tortures which the slaves, including, no doubt, my ancestors on my mother's side, suffered in the middle passage of the slave ship while being conveyed from Africa to America. I have been unsuccessful in securing any information that would throw any accurate light upon the history of my family beyond my mother.
Up From Slavery, http://www.gradesaver.com/up-from-slavery/study-guide/summary-chapters-1-3