In the early to mid-19th century, Isaac Brown, a slave, was accused of the attempted murder of a prominent plantation owner, despite there being no evidence of his guilt. Brown, after enduring two brutal floggings, was shipped to a New Orleans slave pen. From there the resourceful Brown was able to make a daring escape to Philadelphia in the free state of Pennsylvania. His biggest error was writing a note informing his free wife and 11 children in Maryland of his whereabouts. The note was intercepted and led to his arrest and extradition back to Maryland.
While engaged in researching an ancestor named Isaac Brown, Bryan Prince encountered the very high-profile case of what turned out to be a different Isaac Brown. The story of this slave, with its culmination in Brown's dramatic escape and ultimate success in crossing the border into Canada, is the riveting subject of historian Bryan Prince's latest book.