Prudence Crandall was a schoolteacher who fought to integrate her school in Canterbury, Connecticut, and educate black women in the early nineteenth century. When Crandall accepted a black woman as a student, she unleashed a storm of controversy that catapulted her to national notoriety and drew the attention of the most significant antislavery activists of the day. The Connecticut state legislature passed its infamous Black Law in an attempt to close down her school. Arrested and jailed, Crandall's legal legacy had a lasting impact-Crandall v. State was the first civil rights case in U.S. history. The arguments by attorneys in Crandall 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 Prudence Crandall's Legacy, author and lawyer Donald E. Williams Jr. marshals a wealth of detail concerning the life and work of Prudence Crandall, her role in the fight for civil rights, and her influence on legal arguments for equality in America.
DONALD E. WILLIAMS JR., former president of the Connecticut State Senate, is the Director of Policy and Research for the Connecticut Education Association. He holds a J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law and a B.S. in journalism from Syracuse University. He lives in Brooklyn, Connecticut.