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Sat, 09.03.1803

Educator and Abolitionist, Prudence Crandall


*Prudence Crandall was born on this date in 1803. She was a white- American abolitionist.

From Rhode Island, after being educated at a Society of Friends school in Plainfield, Connecticut, Crandall established her own private school for girls at Canterbury. The school was a great success until she decided to admit a Black girl.  Crandall, a committed Quaker refused to change her policy of educating Black and white children. The result, white parents began taking their children away from the school. In March 1833 with the support of William Lloyd Garrison and the Anti-Slavery Society, Crandall opened a school for Black girls in Canterbury.

Local people were furious at this and many tried to prevent the school from receiving essential materials. The school persisted and began to attract girls from Boston and Philadelphia. The local authorities then began using a vagrancy law that meant the girls could be given ten lashes for attending the school. In 1834 Connecticut passed a law making it illegal to provide a free education for Black students. Crandall refused to obey the law and was imprisoned, but won the case on appeal. When news of the court decision reached Canterbury, a white mob attacked the school forcing Crandall to close her school down.

That same year she moved to Illinois and married a Baptist clergyman. Prudence Crandall died in Elk Falls, Kansas, on January 28, 1890.

Prudence Crandall Center, Inc.
P.O. Box 895
New Britain, CT 06050

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