Crandall Day

Crandall (Prudence) Day

September, Saturday of Labor Day weekend
The official celebration of Prudence Crandall Day in Canterbury, Connecticut, only dates back to 1987, but Crandall herself has been recognized for some time as a pioneer in the education of young African-American girls. Born in 1803 in Hopkinton, Rhode Island, and educated at the Friends' School in Providence, she established a private academy for girls in Canterbury in 1831. Although her school was widely recognized as one of the state's best, she lost many of her white patrons when she admitted a young African-American girl. Rather than bow to social pressure, she opened another school for "young ladies and little misses of colour"—an act for which she was socially ostracized.
Eventually the Connecticut legislature passed a Black Law (repealed in 1838), which prohibited setting up schools for nonresident African Americans in any Connecticut city or town without the local authorities' approval. Crandall ignored the new law and was arrested, tried, and convicted. Although the verdict was reversed by the court of appeals in July 1834, this only served to strengthen the opposition of the people of Canterbury. Crandall moved to Illinois later that year with her husband, a Baptist clergyman. In a belated attempt to make amends, Connecticut provided Crandall with an annuity. She died in Kansas in 1890. In 1995 the state legislature proclaimed her the official state heroine.
Prudence Crandall Day events include craft demonstrations from the 1830s, period children's games, and at least one activity directly relating to Crandall herself. One year, for example, an actor portraying Crandall gave an interpretation of her character. Most of the festival events are held at the Prudence Crandall Museum, located in the house where Crandall lived and taught.
Prudence Crandall Museum
Routes 14 & 169
P.O. Box 58
Canterbury, CT 06331
CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, State of Connecticut
One Constitution Plaza, 2nd Fl.
Hartford, CT 06103
860-256-2800; fax: 860-256-2811
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.