Prudence Crandall House
1 South Canterbury Road (Junction of Routes 14 & 169), Canterbury
I’m going to flip the Freedom Trail site’s ordering of information here and put this first: In 1994, Prudence Crandall was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame and in 1995, Crandall was designated as Connecticut’s State Heroine. The Prudence Crandall House, a National Historic Landmark, is a museum open to the public.
Word up. I will need to think on which other entities in Connecticut wind up on at least five distinct pages on CTMQ: This one, as a National Historic Landmark, on the CT Freedom and Women’s Heritage Trails, and as a member of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. You can read about my visit to the museum here. Or just stick with the Freedom Trail’s explanation, which follows…
Prudence Crandall purchased this imposing late Georgian-style house in 1831 to serve as a private academy for local young women. When she admitted Sarah Harris, an African American student, Crandall found that parents of white students objected. In April 1833, she opened her house as a boarding school for young African American women, an action which led to harassment by neighbors, passage of a state law against her work and her being jailed for one night. Through two court trials and an appeal to the state’s Supreme Court of Errors, Crandall continued to operate her school. Only after a violent attack on the house on the night of September 9, 1834, did she agree to close the school and send her students home. In the United States during the years leading up to the Civil War, the Crandall incident was one of many that helped solidify attitudes against slavery. Crandall’s effort to provide equal education, however, was a rarity for the times.