Harris Sisters Month at Otis Library


Otis Library will be hosting a series of programs in April, 2019 to celebrate the Harris sisters, Norwich natives and students at Prudence Crandall’s school for young African-American women from 1833 – 1834. The umbrella theme for the month is student advocacy.

Prudence Crandall is justifiably celebrated in Connecticut as the State Heroine. Less recognized are the black students who assumed enormous risk to receive an elite education. Indeed, the stimulus to the establishment of the academy was the repeated requests of Sarah Harris to take classes at the then all-white school. Sarah started taking classes in 1832; the resulting withdrawal of the white students from the academy and subsequent establishment of an all-black girls' school in 1833 constitute a remarkable chapter in the annals of abolitionist history.  Sarah Harris and her sister, Mary, were key in this brave, transformative effort.

 Throughout the month of April, items on loan from the Prudence Crandall Museum will be on display in the Otis Library atrium display cases. 

 On Friday, April 5, from 6pm – 8pm in the Children’s Department, the library will host the opening of the student art exhibit “How Can I Make The World A Better Place?”Children from pre-school through fifth grade will exhibit art – paintings, drawings, collage, and assemblage – that illustrates this theme. The exhibit will be on display throughout the month of April.