By the author of the prizewinning Amos Fortune, Free Man, this is a quietly but firmly dramatized biography of a woman whose activities pointedly revealed the rakishly eddying feelings about the Negroes before the Civil War. In 1833 Prudence Crandall had established herself as mistress of a small private school for girls in Canterbury, Connecticut, and was receiving praise for her work from all quarters. But when she decided to take in a Negro friend as a pupil the flattery soon turned to enmity. Instead of dampening Prudence Crandall's spirit, the criticism merely fanned the flames of a still newer conviction- that she should make her school exclusively for Negro girls, which she did. Though the school managed to survive for about three years, its life was pock marked by derision, by a prison term for Prudence, by cat calls and mud slinging from the proper whose claims ranged from the belief that the Negroes should return to Africa to the shock of Prudence's trespassing against a man's world. The school building was even barbarically stoned. Blocked legally, frustrated by barriers with no outlets except the few abolitionists in Boston, Prudence found some solace in marriage to Calvin Philleo, a minister who shared her beliefs. With no forward steps possible, he persuaded her to give up, to go west and open another school, but in the firm conviction that she had made her most positive contribution towards a free future.