Middle Passage by Charles Johnson
1990 National Book Award
Rutherford Calhoun is a newly freed slave. He has a brother who took to the Christian life of their owner. Rutherford did not. He was a thief, liar, cheat...you name it. He gets involved with a woman named Isadora. She wants marriage and gets the local crime boss to help her trap him. Instead of marriage, Randolph chooses to jump the first ship leaving harbor.
It turns out the ship is a slaver going to pick up cargo. And the captain has alot in common with Captain Blgh. But before the crew can mutiny, the slaves gain the ship.