The first main character introduced in the novel. Effia is born in Fanteland and raised by her father, and a step-mother who beats her. Effia marries a white man named James and moves to the Castle. She is the mother of Quey.
Father of Effia. He has multiple wives and many children. He wants Effia to marry a man from their village rather than a white man, but allows her to marry James Collins at his wife Baaba's insistence.
The woman who raises Effia, though she is not the girl's birth mother. She beats Effia throughout her childhood and makes Effia conceal her menstruation so that she can marry her to a white man and get a large bride price.
Effia's brother, son of Baaba. He is kind to Effia and is the one who reveals that Baaba is not her birth mother.
The first woman from Effia's village to be married to a white man. She and Effia become friends while living at the Castle.
A white man who falls in love with Effia. They get married and have a child together, though he has a wife and children back in England. He is generally kind and gentle with Effia, but he gets angry and cold when she brings up the slaves held in the Castle's dungeon.
A young man from Effia's village who she is originally promised to marry. He becomes chief of their village and takes on multiple wives. He and Effia do not marry because Baaba convinces Cobbe to break off the promise and marry Effia to James. Abeeku is seen as a competent leader of the village and makes an alliance with another village and the white men to trade slaves.
Half-sister of Effia, raised by Maame and Big Man in Asanteland. She is taken as a slave, lives in the dungeons of the Cape Coast Castle for some time, and is sent to the United States on a slave ship.
Esi's best friend in the dungeon at Cape Coast Castle.
Mother of Esi and Effia, though Effia never meets her. Maame was a slave in Fanteland before escaping back to Asanteland by starting a fire on the night of Effia's birth.
A slave kept by Esi's family who does house work. She persuades Esi to send a message to her father, and eventually this message leads to an attack on Esi's village.
Son of Effia and James Collins. He is raised at the Cape Coast Castle as a child, but when his father catches him wrestling intimately with his friend Cudjo, he is sent to England. When he returns, he is put in charge of trade negotiations with his mother's tribe. Fiifi, Quey's uncle, marries him for political reasons to Nana Yaa, the daughter of the Asante king.
Ness, the daughter of Esi, is a slave at a cotton plantation in Alabama run by a man named Thomas Allan Stockham. She was married to a fellow slave named Sam while working on another plantation; together they had a son named Kojo. When they tried to escape, Sam was killed and Ness was whipped so badly that she carried horrible scars for the rest of her life, but their son was brought to safety by a woman named Aku. Ness takes motherly responsibility over a young slave named Pinky who has gone voluntarily mute.
Husband of Ness who is killed when they try to escape to freedom.
A young slave girl for whom Ness takes responsibility. Pinky does not talk, and she often hiccups for long periods. This worries her father TimTam, but Pinky appreciates that Ness does not fuss over her.
Aku tries to help Ness and Sam escape their plantation. Ness and Sam are caught, but Aku brings their child Kojo to the north. She raises Kojo and then lives with his large family until her death.
James is the son of Quey and Nana Yaa, named after Quey's father James Collins. He meets a woman named Akosua at the funeral of his grandfather, the Asante king, and falls in love with her. He marries a woman from his village named Amma Atta, but he eventually leaves her, returns to Akosua, and takes her away to marry her and live a simple life.
Wife of James, the son of Quey. She urges her husband to see an apothecary since he is having trouble having sex with her. James leaves her to marry Akosua.
The apothecary James visits at his wife's request.
Kojo, also called Jo, is the son of Ness and Sam. He is raised by Ma Aku who attempted to bring his whole family to freedom. He is married to Anna and has eight children with her: Agnes, Beulah, Cato, Daly, Eurias, Felicity, Gracie, and H. His family lives in Baltimore, and Kojo makes a living working on boats. Kojo is devastated when his pregnant wife disappears, and he eventually moves to New York.
Abena is the daughter of James and Akosua. People think she and her family are unlucky because their crops always fail. She wants to be the second wife of her childhood friend Ohene Nyarko, but he will not marry her. They begin having a sexual relationship outside of marriage, and Abena leaves their village to birth and raise their child.
A powerful young man in Abena's village who brings the cocoa plant to the village. He tells Abena that he will marry her eventually, but he never does, even after getting her pregnant.
Wife of Kojo who disappears while pregnant with their son H.
Son of Kojo and Anna. H is arrested when he is young, and, because he cannot pay bail, he is taken to work in a mine. After he finishes his sentence, he continues working in a mine for pay and joins a union. He misses his woman Ethe, who left him because he cheated on her; Ethe returns after H sends her a letter and they start a family together.
H's wife, mother of Willie.
H's best friend, who was also working off a prison sentence in the mine. After they leave the mine, Joecy lets H stay in his home, and he encourages H to join the union. Joecy is very proud that his son Lil Joe can write.
Akua, daughter of Abena, was brought up by the Missionary who accidentally killed her mother. Akua has dreams about a fire woman and eventually kills her daughters Abee and Ama Serwah while asleep.
Akua's husband who loses a leg while at war.
Mother of Asamoah, mother-in-law of Akua.
Daughter of H and Ethe. She marries a man named Robert from her town and they move to New York. They move in with Lil Joe and have a son named Carson. Willie and Robert split up due to the strain introduced to their marriage by Robert passing as white. She meets a man named Eli and they have a daughter, Josephine, together. Willie had always dreamed of being a jazz singer, but later in her life she only sings religious music.
Husband of Willie. Robert is able to pass for white in New York, so it is easy for him to get a job. He becomes distant and eventually leaves Willie after a traumatic experience at a jazz club. He marries a white woman and has a child with her.
Father of Willie's daughter Josephine, though he drops in and out of Willie, Carson, and Josephine's lives depending on how his poetry is going.
Daughter of Willie, sister of Carson. She continues living with her mother as an adult and is critical of Carson's life choices.
Willie and Robert's son who was angry during his whole childhood. He has three children with three different women, none of whom he is married to, and this upsets his mother. Sonny becomes addicted to heroin while in a relationship with Amani, a jazz singer. Sonny eventually gets clean by moving back in with his mother and sticking to a strict schedule.
Son of Akua and Asamoah. He was badly scarred when his mother set their hut on fire, and he is sent away from the village to be educated from a young age. He becomes a teacher and a writer and marries his house girl named Esther.
Esther works for Yaw, cooking and cleaning, and she enjoys talking openly with him. Eventually they get married and move to the United States.
Daughter of Yaw and Esther who is raised in Alabama in the United States. She is very close to her grandmother, Ma Akua, and loves to visit Ghana during the summers. She speaks English and Twi, though her Twi gets worse as she gets older and does not go back to Ghana as often. Marjorie is afraid of fire.
One of the only black teachers at Marjorie's school in Alabama. She talks to Marjorie about books during lunch and asks Marjorie to write a poem for a school event about the black experience.
Marjorie's friend, a German boy who reads books with Marjorie during lunch. He and Marjorie drift apart after he becomes closer with white students at school and does not take Marjorie to prom.
Son of Sonny who studies his family's lineage while at Stanford for graduate school. He is afraid of water, but faces that fear while visiting Ghana with Marjorie.
Marcus's best friend who wants to find a girl that he once met at a museum.
Homegoing Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Homegoing is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.