Author Lawrence Reid Bechtel has captured the story of Isaac Granger, a slave from Thomas Jefferson's plantation as told through the eyes of amateur historian Reverend Charles Campbell.
In 1852, after much searching through the Black districts of Petersburg, Virginia, the amateur historian Charles Campbell finally located Isaac Granger, a former slave of the late Thomas Jefferson. Though disinterested at first in sharing his memories, Isaac was at last persuaded by the persistent Reverend to tell the full story of his time in Philadelphia as a young man in the early 1790s. It was supposed to have been a simple story: he would apprentice with a Quaker tinsmith and then return to Monticello to produce tinware for sale in such abundance that "Old Master" might pay down his plantation's crippling debts.
But Isaac was impressionable, and more thoughtful than Mr. Jefferson knew. Philadelphia was a big city, home to a thriving African-American community, and Isaac met all manner of characters, both tragic and comic. Isaac got himself into difficulties, contemplated his place in the world, and was challenged to do more than just serve. Conflict was inevitable.