Sarah Ann Major Harris 
  Possibly Saybrook, Connecticut; 1822–28
  Linen, silk
  Museum purchase with funds drawn from the Centenary Fund 2017.0032a,b 

Family records were a popular format for samplers in the nineteenth century, allowing young women to stitch connections between family members past and present. This example records the history of a trailblazing young woman of color, Sarah Ann Major Harris (1812–1878).  
 In 1832, Harris approached Canterbury, Connecticut, teacher Prudence Crandall and asked to join Crandall’s school. After Crandall agreed, parents began to withdraw their daughters. Crandall recruited other young Black women to fill the ranks, many from neighboring states. Connecticut’s “Black Law,” prohibiting instruction for “colored persons” who were not state residents, was a direct result. Harris, who married Rhode Island blacksmith George Fayerweather in 1833, remained a life-long activist, hosting Frederick Douglass in her family’s Kingston, Rhode Island, home. She named her first daughter Prudence Crandall.