In 1831, Prudence Crandall, educator, emancipator, and human rights advocate, established a school which in 1833, became the first Black female academy in New England at Canterbury, Connecticut. This later action resulted in her arrest and imprisonment for violating the "Black Law."
Although she was later released on a technicality, the school was forced to close after being harassed and attacked by a mob. She moved with her husband Reverend Calvin Philleo to Illinois.
After her husband died in 1874, she and her brother moved to a farm near Elk Falls. Prudence taught throughout her long life and was an outspoken champion for equality of education and the rights of women. In 1886, supported by Mark Twain and others, an annuity was granted to her by the Connecticut Legislature. She purchased a house in Elk Falls where she died January 27, 1890.
Over a hundred years later, legal arguments used by her 1834 trial attorneys were submitted to the Supreme Court during their consideration of the historic civil rights case of Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education.