In 1831, Prudence Crandall, educator, emancipator, and human rights advocate,
established a school which in 1833, became the first Black female academy in
New England at Canterbury, Connecticut. This later action resulted in her
arrest and imprisonment for violating the "Black Law."
At the same roadside park is another marker:
Although she was later released on a technicality, the school was forced to
close after being harassed and attacked by a mob. She moved with her
husband Reverend Calvin Philleo to Illinois.
After her husband died in 1874, she and her brother moved to a farm near
Elk Falls. Prudence taught throughout her long life and was an outspoken
champion for equality of education and the rights of women. In 1886,
supported by Mark Twain and others, an annuity was granted to her by the
She purchased a house in Elk Falls where she died January 27, 1890.
Over a hundred years later, legal arguments used by her 1834 trial attorney
were submitted to the Supreme Court during their consideration of the historic
civil rights case of Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education.
The State of Connecticut proudly joins the State of Kansas in
honoring the lifetime achievements of Prudence Crandall, educator and
champion of human rights. Crandall's courage and determination serve as
examples to all who face seemingly insurmountable odds and to those who
refuse to be limited by social conventions. To this day, her efforts to promote
equality in education remains unequaled.
The building which housed Crandall's academy in Canterbury, Connecticut
opened as a museum in 1984 and is administered by the Connecticut
Historical Commission. The museum's national importance was
recognized in 1991 when it was designated a National Historic Landmark
by the U. S. Department of the Interior.
This plaque was made possible through the
generous donations of citizens of the State of Connecticut.
Prudence Crandall is buried in the Elk Falls cemetery.
September 8, 2002 /
Bob Walter /
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