An examination of the life and work of African American master cabinetmaker Thomas Day and his brother John Day, who were free, black craftsmen in the height of the antebellum period. Both skilled in furniture making, learned from their father, they established a business in Milton. John became a Baptist minister and relocated to Liberia, which he helped found. Thomas Day's furniture skills and the fact that he owned both land and slaves gave him a status that was unusual for free blacks in antebellum North Carolina. Thomas and his work reached a sort of mythic reputation in the state in the early 20th century and was glorified by whites who felt comfortable with his middle-class ethics and establishment loyalties.