Wednesday, January 7, 2015

'19th-Century Racism and 20th-Century Civil Rights' at the New Haven Museum

NEW HAVEN - Former Connecticut Senate President Pro Tempore Donald E. Williams, Jr., will discuss the impact of Prudence Crandall’s life and actions at 6 p.m. Jan. 22, at the New Haven Museum, according to a release.
  Francis Alexander, portrait of Prudence Crandall.
Oil painting, #6953.
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections,
Cornell University Library.
The event is free and is co-sponsored by The Amistad Committee Inc., the release said. A reception and book signing will follow the lecture, the release said.
The snow date Jan. 29.
"When Prudence Crandall opened her 'school for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color' in Canterbury, Connecticut in 1833, she endured a violent public and political backlash that included being jailed, and the burning and eventual closing of the school," the release said. "But according to (Williams) the seeds of the 14th U. S. Amendment were sown during the arguments presented in Crandall’s defense, the case reversing the notorious Connecticut 'Black Law'.”
"The storm of controversy that catapulted Crandall to national notoriety in the 1830s also drew the attention of the most significant pro- and anti-slavery activists of the day," the release said. "The Connecticut state legislature passed its infamous Black Law in an attempt to close down her school. But Crandall’s legal legacy had a lasting impact—Crandall v. State was the first full-throated civil rights case in U.S. history. Her attorney’s arguments played a role in two of the most fateful Supreme Court decisions, Dred Scott v. Sandford, and the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education. In 1995, Crandall was designated the official state heroine of Connecticut as a symbol of courage for her stand against prejudice."

 The New Haven Museum, founded in 1862 as the New Haven Colony Historical Society, is located in downtown New Haven at 114 Whitney Ave.
According to historian and Association for the Study of Connecticut History board member Peter Hinks, “Williams has authored what will become the authoritative history of Prudence Crandall and her controversial academy. He richly intertwines the life of Crandall with other key protagonists of the struggle for abolition and black equality, and demonstrates how Crandall’s courageous stand in Canterbury helped shape the struggle for black equality into the Civil War and beyond.”

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