Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True Story of Abolitionist Teacher Prudence Crandall

0618473025[1][1]In 1831 well-known and highly-respected schoolteacher Prudence Crandall opened a boarding school for young ladies in Canterbury, Connecticut. By the end of the first year, she had earned the praise of parents, community members, and students throughout New England. Then one day an African American student named Sarah Harris asked to be admitted to the academy. Sarah said she wanted to learn how to be a teacher so she could open her own school for black students. Prudence knew admitting an African American student would generate some resistance from her neighbors, but after some soul-searching she decided her conscience would not allow her to refuse the request. Prudence had severely under-estimated the resistance. Figuring the complaint was that she was operating an integrated school, the teacher closed her academy for white girls and re-opened as an academy for “misses of color.” That just made the situation worse, causing ripples all the up to the U.S. Supreme Court and resulting in Prudence’s brief incarceration in the local jail. Read the gripping account of this valiant teacher in the book, The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students by Suzanne Jurmain, available on amazon. I have also included a chapter about this heroic teacher in the book I am currently writing, tentatively entitled Chalkboard Heroes.