Wednesday, November 23, 2005

book cover
Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students by Suzanne Jurmain
In 1831, Prudence Crandall opened the Canterbury Female Boarding School which quickly became very popular with wealthy and important local families. Unlike many educators of women, Prudence felt girls should have a real education and the courses taught included reading, writing, math, geography, history, philiosophy, chemistry, astronomy and French. The girls were happy, the school was busy, until Prudence made an unpopular decision.

On one September day in 1832, Sarah Harris, an African American, asked Miss Crandall if she could attend her school so she could "get a little more learning, enough...to teach colored children." Prudence knew if she admitted Sarah, the parents of the white students would be angry. But, she could see no reason to deny an education to a young woman because of her skin color.

In January 1833, Sarah Harris took her seat at the Canterbury Female Boarding School and Prudence Crandall's troubles began. This is the story of a time not so long ago when getting an education if you were female was difficult and almost impossible if you were African American.

Recommended for grades 5 and up. A great family read-aloud.

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