Prudence Crandall

Prudence Crandall (1803-1890)

In 1995 the General Assembly designated abolitionist and teacher Prudence Crandall our State Heroine. Rhode Island-born Crandall opened the Canterbury Female Seminary in 1831. In 1832, she admitted an African American student, Sarah Harris. Many parents removed their children as a result. Crandall stood firm, re-opening the school as an academy for young black women, the first in New England. Harassment followed: a new state “Black Law” that imposed barriers to equal education, three court trials, and mob attacks that forced the school’s closure in 1834. Crandall left the state but remained committed to social reform. Today, the Prudence Crandall Museum is a site on the Connecticut Women’s Heritage Trail as well as the Connecticut Freedom Trail.

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Prudence Crandall

Prudence Crandall Fights for Equal Access to Education

A headmistress champions education for African American women and although forced to close her school in 1834, she helped win the battle for generations that followed.  …[more]

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The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, & Abolition. “A Canterbury Tale: A Document Package for Connecticut’s Prudence Crandall Affair,” 2010. Link.
Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. “Prudence Crandall,” 2017. Link.
National Women’s History Museum. “Prudence Crandall (1803-1890),” 2006. Link.


“Connecticut Museum of Culture and History,” 2017. Link.
State of Connecticut: Department of Economic & Community Development. “Prudence Crandall Museum,” 2017. Link.


Judson, Andrew. “Broadside: Barbarism: Who Are Now the Savages?,” 1833. Connecticut History Illustrated, Connecticut Historical Society. Link.
Connecticut College - Linda Lear Center for Special Collections & Archives. “Finding Aid to the Prudence Crandall Collection,” 2017. Link.
Connecticut Digital Archive. “Prudence Crandall Collection,” n.d. Link.
Connecticut State Library. “Prudence Crandall Materials,” 2017. Link.
Yale University, The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, & Abolition. “The Black Law of Connecticut (1833) - Citizens ALL: African Americans in Connecticut 1700-1850 - PDF,” 2016. Link.


A Statement of Facts, Respecting the School for Colored Females, in Canterbury, CT. Together with a Report of the Late Trial of Miss Prudence Crandall. Brooklyn, CT: Advertiser Press, 1833.
Strane, Susan. A Whole-Souled Woman: Prudence Crandall and the Education of Black Women. New York: W.W. Norton, 1990.
Welch, Marvis Olive. Prudence Crandall: A Biography. Manchester, CT: Jason Publishers, 1983.
Williams, Donald E. Prudence Crandall’s Legacy: The Fight for Equality in the 1830s, Dred Scott, and Brown V. Board of Education. Wesleyan University Press, 2014.
Member of the Bar. Report of the Arguments of Counsel in the Case of Prudence Crandall Plff. in Error Vs. State of Connecticut Before the Supreme Court of Errors at Their Session at Brooklyn, July Term 1834. Boston, MA: Garrison & Knapp, 1834. Link.
May, Samuel J., and Andrew T. Judson. The Right of Colored People to Education, Vindicated: Letters to Andrew T. Judson, Esq. and Others in Canterbury, Remonstrating with Them on Their Unjust and Unjustifiable Procedure Relative to Miss Crandall and Her School for Colored Females. Brooklyn, CT: Advertiser Press, 1833. Link.
Foner, Philip Sheldon, and Josephine F Pacheco. Three Who Dared: Prudence Crandall, Margaret Douglass, Myrtilla Miner: Champions of Antebellum Black Education. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1984.
McCain, Diana. To All on Equal Terms: The Life and Legacy of Prudence Crandall. Hartford, CT: Connecticut Commission on Arts, Tourism, Culture, History and Film, 2004.