Reared in a New England Quaker family in the early 1800's, Prudence is ahead of her time regarding education of females. When she opens an academy for "young ladies of color," the town is thrown into an uproar. One man in particular is determined to run her out of the state, but despite a campaign of persecution and underhanded legal tricks, she stands firm against him. In the midst of the turmoil, she falls in love with the widowed father of one of her former pupils, and though longing to be his wife, she is unwilling to put personal happiness ahead of her calling. When her neighbors' hostility escalates into a night of terror, she must make a decision that will not only change her own future but will impact the history of America.