Sunday, November 28, 2010

Prudence Crandall, Woman of Courage

If you look directly to your right, you will see my bookshelf.  I have started putting the books I've read, or plan to read, on it.  It is a little bare, as those are all from the last month or so.  You can look through it, and click on a book cover to get a review, ratings, my review if I wrote one (I usually don't, I save that for my own monthly round-up), etc. 

If you go to the "next" page on the bookshelf, you will find Prudence Crandall, Woman of Courage, by Elizabeth Yates.  I have had this on my shelf for a few years, since I saw it recommended by David Albert (homeschool author of And the Skylark Sings With Me , my all-time favorite homeschooling book).  Finally got around to reading it - and what an incredible blessing it was.

Prudence is a Quaker woman running a school for girls in Connecticut in 1833.  She admits an African-American woman as a student, and the town turns against her.  She is told that the white students will be removed from the school.  So, Prudence closes her school, and re-opens it as a school for African-American young ladies.  The townspeople begin a violent persecution, including damaging the home, stopping Prudence from acquiring food, medical services and supplies, and legal charges which lead to imprisonment.  Through it all, Prudence shows a quiet, simple strength and dignity, and dependence on God. 

I highly recommend this book - it is what I would consider a "junior biography" - the writing level would be junior high, but some of the themes are stirring even for an adult.  It also opened my eyes to the "Colonization" movement which was going on in the North before the Civil War.  All Northerner were not abolitionists, by any means.  This powerful group had as its' goal the rounding up of African-Americans and sending them to Africa to colonize and "Christianize" the continent.  The fact that many of these people had never seen Africa, and had family in America for over 100 years didn't seem to cross their minds.

All in all, a story that makes you grieve for the evil prejudice that lies in so many hearts, but also causes you to rejoice at the brave souls who made a difference where they were.

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