Teacher + Prophetic Witness
3 September 1890
From the Satucket Lectionary
Prudence Crandall, (September 3, 1803-1890) a schoolteacher raised as a Quaker, stirred controversy with her education of African-American girls in Canterbury, Connecticut. Her private school opened in January 1832, but was boycotted when she admitted a 20-year old African-American female student in the autumn of 1833, creating what is generally regarded as the first integrated classroom in the United States. Parents of the white children mostly withdrew their daughters, leading Crandall to found a school for “Young ladies and Misses of color”.
Crandall endured violent opposition to her school, both locally in Canterbury and at the State level. Laws were passed against it, the well was poisoned, windows were smashed, and finally the school was burned down, forcing it to close.
Connecticut repealed the Black Law in 1838, and later recognized Prudence Crandall with an act of the state legislature, prominently supported by Mark Twain, providing her with a $400 yearly pension in 1886 (about $9600 in 2010 dollars).
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