“Payne-ful” Business: Charleston’s Journey to Truth


Payne-ful Business is available for preorders now! 

Information about the book launch here.

“Payne-ful” Business: Charleston’s Journey to Truth is a nonfiction book written by Margaret Seidler that explores the history of Charleston’s slave trade, the involvement of Margaret’s ancestors, the Payne family, and the modern efforts to reconcile with Charleston’s bloody history.

Available on backorder

SKU: 978-1-929647-93-4 Categories: , , , ,


“Payne-ful” Business: Charleston’s Journey to Truth follows Margaret Seidler’s mission to learn and process her family’s genealogical past. Using extensive research and personal experience, Seidler discusses the realities of Charleston’s racial history while highlighting the historians, journalists, and community members who work to reconcile those truths. The book features authentic, historic slave advertisements brought to life by vivid paintings by artist John W. Jones that uncover the humanity hidden beneath the detached advertisement descriptions. Seidler hopes that acknowledging a more complete truth about our past will motivate us to bridge today’s racial divide.

About the Author

Margaret Seidler is a retired Organization & Leadership Development consultant, national conference speaker, and author. Her book, Power Surge: Energizing your Leadership Strengths, was published by HRD Press, 2008. Her practice focused on creating higher performance in leaders and in addressing local government and community system complexity.

Margaret was born and raised in Charleston. In the aftermath of the Mother Emanuel massacre, she and former City Police Chief Greg Mullen led the Charleston Illumination Project, a year-long effort, designed to give all parts of the community a voice in strengthening citizen/police relationships. A case study of the Charleston Illumination Project was published in The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Paradox, Oxford University Press, UK, 2017.

Her broader work with the city of Charleston was published in Both/AND Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems, Harvard Business Review Press, MA, 2022.

Margaret has a BA in Psychology and a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Carolina. She became a certified Polarity Thinking Master in 2009.



“It is rare and good news when a family that helped to perpetrate the slave trade tries to measure, and own, the human ruin that it spread. Margaret Seidler seeks a personal reckoning in her book, whose story joins a scarce dialogue and aims to deliver a modicum of justice.”

Edward Ball, author of Slaves in the Family and Life of a Klansman