Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Prudence Crandall operated a school for girls in Canterbury, Connecticut. In 1832, a young black girl asked Ms. Crandall to educate her. Ms. Crandall admitted her to the school, creating a controversy.
The parents of all the white girls removed them from the school, so Ms. Crandall had to close the school. When it reopened, it became a school for black girls. Soon 20 African American girls from up and down the East Coast attended the school.
Controversy continued. The State of Connecticut enacted The Black Law, prohibiting a school from admitting African American students without permission from the town. A lawsuit was filed. The school eventually won in the Connecticut Supreme Court, but the situation was still dangerous. In 1834 Prudence Crandall closed her school and moved away. The Black Law was repealed in 1838. Many years later the Connecticut legislature attempted to compensate Ms. Crandall by granting her a small pension. The school is now a museum.
The statute is near the entrance to the Connecticut Capitol. It was created by New York Sculptor Gabriel Koren. The statue is bronze but looks like clay.