Children's LiteraturePrudence Crandall was brave enough to risk failure. A white Quaker, Prudence began the Canterbury Female Boarding School in Canterbury, Connecticut in 1831. Parents were pleased until she accepted Sarah Harris, a black girl, as a student. Refusing to give in to parental anger at Sarah's acceptance, Prudence closed the school in 1833, re-opening it as a school for young black women from Connecticut and surrounding states. Town leaders then persuaded the state legislature to pass the Black Law, which forbade out-of-state black students an education in Connecticut without the consent of local residents. Prudence defied the law, was jailed, and put on trial. The school remained open, however, until the citizens of Canterbury made it life-threatening for students to attend. Prudence closed the school in 1834. This biography invites the reader to enter the life of a pioneer for equal education with short, easy-to-read chapters. The text is leavened with colorful oils. An author's note, an afterword, and a list of important dates provide additional information for teachers or more advanced readers. This book comprises one of the "On My Own Biography" series. 2001, Carolrhoda Books/Lerner, $21.27. Ages 8 to 11. Reviewer: Stephanie Farrow
School Library JournalGr 1-3-This easy-reader biography concentrates on the story of the Quaker teacher's fight to keep open the first school in the U.S. for African-American girls. The story begins in 1832, one year after Crandall opened the Canterbury (Connecticut) Female Boarding School, as she met with strong community opposition for accepting an African-American student. Facing the prospect of being forced to close her school, the educator decided to open it to black students only. Despite the community's legal challenges to the school, it was only after the townspeople physically attacked the building that she decided to close it because of her concern for student safety. An afterword about her later life and a chronology follow. The large-print, easy-to-read text and many full-color paintings and a black-and-white portrait of Crandall will appeal to beginning readers.-Marilyn Ackerman, Brooklyn Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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