Donald E. Williams, Jr., the author of the recently published book Prudence Crandall’s Legacy: The Fight For Equality in the 1830s, Dred Scott, and Brown v. Board of Education, will be the featured speaker at a program sponsored by the Middlesex County Historical Society at 7:00 pm on Thursday, November 13, at Congregation Adath Israel. Williams will be joined by Kazimiera Kozlowski, the curator of the Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury, Connecticut, who will offer remarks about the museum.
Prudence Crandall, Connecticut’s Official State Heroine, was a schoolteacher who fought in the early nineteenth century to integrate her school in Canterbury and educate black women. Her acceptance of black girls into the school unleashed a storm of controversy that catapulted her to national notoriety and drew the attention of the most prominent pro- and antislavery activists of the day. Crandall was arrested and jailed, and Williams’ account details her legal legacy. Crandall v. State was the first full-throated defense mounted for civil rights in United States 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.
Williams served as the President of the Connecticut State Senate from 2004 through 2014, and represented the 29th Senate District of Connecticut from 1993 through 2014. In addition to his career in public service, he has served as an attorney, educator, and journalist. He graduated from Syracuse University and earned his law degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and inscription.
Congregation Adath Israel, located at the corner of Broad and Old Church Streets, is handicap accessible plus there is parking in the rear of the building. The program is free and open to the public, although donations are welcome. For further information, contact the Historical Society at 860-346-0746.