Saturday, September 3, 2016

For All the Saints: Prudence Crandall

On the Episcopal calendar, Prudence Crandall (1803-1890) is honored today, the anniversary of her birth, as a prophetic witness. She was a Quaker school teacher who admitted an African American student into her private school in Canterbury, Ct, the first integrated classroom in the U.S. The student was named Sarah Harris, who wanted to teach other free blacks. Crandall refused to expel Harris when townspeople objected. Crandall shortly opened a school for African American girls, and effort supported by William Lloyd Garrison. Crandall suffered legal repercussions, including a night in jail, and a new Connecticut law (on the books for five years) that preheated schools for black students from outside the state, without local permission. Violence by townspeople forced Crandall finally to close the school. She was finally vindicated by the town and state and was recognized for her courageous work. Here are two sites about her:

Harris (1812-1878) went on to be an abolitionist and activist and has a dormitory named for her at the University of Rhode Island:

Today is also the feast day of Pope St. Gregory the Great, whom I wrote about in March:

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