Prudence Crandall purchased this imposing late Georgian-style house in 1831 to be serve as a private academy for local young women and men. 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. However, Crandall’s effort to provide equal education in this house was a rarity for the times. In 1995, Prudence Crandall was designated as Connecticut’s State Heroine. The Crandall House, a National Historic Landmark, is a museum open to the public.
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