Cadence Lane has so much going for her. The young African American woman is gifted with striking beauty, superior intellect, abundant charm, noted accomplishment, social prominence, and affluence. She could almost be a role model for everything a young Black woman wanted to be. If only she wasn't a conservative.
She's a historian, and takes issue with people, especially those who try to cast African Americans as victims. She can somewhat afford to take this position, as an educated, successful woman who has never known the sting of poverty. At the start of the play A House With No Walls, she heads a committee concerned with planning the Museum of American Liberty in Independence National Park in Philadelphia, where George Washington's Executive Mansion originally was.
Cadence is about to lock horns with Salif Camara, an old school radical Black activist, who is trying to have a reconstruction erected of the tiny shack where Washington's slaves resided when not at Washington's main home in Mount Vernon. His objective is to ensure that the slaves of Washington the slave owner are not forgotten, and is not above exaggeration to make his point (At one juncture, he asserts that Washington whipped and chained his household slaves, when in fact he did not).
Steven Gardner, a bureaucrat and a Republican, is charged with getting the museum opened in time. On his team is Allen Rosen, a white liberal.
Meanwhile, somehow, some way, Cadence has established a mystical connection with Oney Judge. Oney, the subject of a historical volume penned by Cadence, is one of Washington's slaves, living in Philadelphia in 1797. Oney falsely believes the President will free her. Will she run away to freedom if given the chance? More importantly, what is Oney trying to communicate to Cadence across the chasm of 211 years?