Prudence Crandall was born today on September 3, 1803.
Prudence Crandall was a remarkable woman who opened one of the first schools for African American girls, despite the ridicule and harassment she faced because of her actions.
In October of 1831, Crandall opened a private girl’s academy in Canterbury, Connecticut. She taught the daughters of many of the town’s wealthy families, and the school was ranked as one of the best in the state. Her curriculum was rigorous, as she taught her female students much of the same material being taught at prominent schools for boys.
In 1833, Crandall decided to admit an African American student named Sarah Harris, who wanted more education in order to become a teacher for African American children. The white students’ parents were outraged and demanded that Sarah Harris be expelled. Crandall, however, opposed slavery and believed in educating African Americans. She refused to expel the young student and decided instead to open a new school for African American girls.
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