A WHOLE-SOULED WOMAN: The Story of Prudence Crandall by Susan Strane

A WHOLE-SOULED WOMAN: The Story of Prudence Crandall

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A thoroughly researched, engaging biography of one of American history's unsung heroines. Prudence Crandall was a strong-willed young woman who decided in 1833 to turn her new girls' school in Canterbury, Conn., into a boarding school for the education of African-American girls, the only one of its kind in the Northeast. The scol immediately polarized public opinion in the region, for the most part against Crandall--in spite of, or because of, determined efforts by abolitionist leaders such as William Lloyd Garrison to rally support. Crandall's neighbors, concerned for property values and the imagined burden of indigent graduates on the town's welfare rolls, vilified and threatened her, and finally had her arrested. Refusing to back down, she remained confident and determined through no less than three trials and increasingly violent acts against her and her students; but she was fighting a lost cause, and finally gave it up when her school was attacked by a band of citizens under cover of darkness and severely damaged. First-time book author Strane explores the remainder of this remarkable woman's long life as well--as she married into obscurity and moved away, eventually finishing her days in Kansas--but this episode was clearly Crandall's moment of glory. Encompassing both general abolition issues and the details of New England small-town politics and justice, this is an inspiring, informative, and strongly written personal chronicle.

Pub Date: May 28th, 1990
Publisher: Norton