Today we remember Prudence Crandall, who was born into a Quaker family in Rhode Island (and educated at a Friend’s boarding school since Friends believed in educating women).  She started a school for girls in Connecticut attended by the daughters of the wealthy.  Two years later, when she admitted Sarah Harris, a young African American girl, parents demanded that she be expelled.

Instead, she closed the school, and started a new school for African American girls.  She admitted girls from across the country.  When a law was passed, making it illegal to teach black children from out of state, she went to jail.  A higher court reversed her conviction.  But the harassment kept getting worse.  She finally closed her school for the protection of her students.

She moved to Kansas after her husband died.  Twelve years later, the state of Connecticut awarded her a pension.  She died four years later.  And today she is recognized at the official State Heroine of Connecticut.  An impressive story.

What is not addressed at all is her spiritual life.  Likely it’s there.  But it doesn’t say whether she continued to attend Meeting or Church as a Friend, or was part of any other religious group as an adult.  And it doesn’t talk about how the faith that was in her may have sustained her.  And it probably had to, given what she faced.

It made me curious enough to look her up online.  Wikipedia had nothing at all about her faith.  But another source talked about her being a “committed Quaker.”  I found a painting of her online at another source (and a write up on her plaque from the state of Connecticut on another).  I tried to include it, but it disappeared when I published this post!  I also found out that she and her husband (married after the controversy), who was a conservative Baptist minister, spent much of their married life outside of the state of Connecticut.  One probably has to assume that she remained serious about her faith.  I also find myself wondering how it evolved after her marriage (and after her husband’s death).  But nothing I’ve found addresses any of this.

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