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Crandall, Prudence

CRANDALL, PRUDENCE (1803-1889), American school-teacher, was born, of Quaker parentage, at Hopkinton, Rhode Island, on the 3rd of September 1803. She was educated in the Friends' school at Providence, R. I., taught school at Plainfield, Conn., and in 1831 established a private academy for girls at Canterbury, Windham county, Connecticut. By admitting a negro girl she lost her white patrons, and in March 1833, on the advice of William Lloyd Garrison and Samuel J. May (1797-1871), she opened a school for "young ladies and little misses of colour." For this she was bitterly denounced, not only in Canterbury but throughout Connecticut, and was persecuted, boycotted and socially ostracized; measures were taken in the Canterbury town-meeting to break up the school, and finally in May 1833 the state legislature passed the notorious Connecticut "Black Law," prohibiting the establishment of schools for non-resident negroes in any city or township of Connecticut, without the consent of the local authorities. Miss Crandall, refusing to submit, was arrested, tried and convicted in the lower courts, whose verdict, however, was reversed on a technicality by the court of appeals in July 1834. Thereupon the local opposition to her redoubled, and she was finally in September 1834 forced to close her school. Soon afterward she married the Rev. Calvin Philleo. She died at Elk Falls, Kansas, on the 28th of January 1889. The Connecticut Black Law was repealed in 1838. Miss Crandall's attempt to educate negro girls at Canterbury attracted the attention of the whole country; and the episode is of considerable significance as showing the attitude of a New England community toward the negro at that time.

See J. C. Kimball's Connecticut Canterbury Tale (Hartford, Conn., 1889), and Samuel J. May's Recollections of Our Anti-Slavery Conflict (Boston, 1869).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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