Black History: Special Delivery!!




Lily Ann Granderson also known as MIlla Granson, was born a slave in 1816 in Virginia. She was moved to Kentucky as a child, where she was taught to read by the children of her owner, even though it was illegal to educate slaves. She then organized a clandestine school, eventually educating hundreds of slaves. She carried on this secret project first in Kentucky and then in Mississippi for seven years, helping many slaves to write freedom passes that allowed them to escape North. The school was finally discovered by authorities in Kentucky, becoming the subject of lengthy debate in the state legislature. After much deliberation, they passed a bill making it possible for slaves to teach other slaves.

When her master died she was sold to a Mississippi slave owner and worked in the cotton fields. She soon, however, began to work in the main house where she started a “midnight school”. Laws in Mississippi prevented slaves from becoming taught how to read and write by their owners. So teaching had to be done in secret.   Punishment would have been severe if she was discovered. Granson taught hundreds of slaves how to read and write between 11pm to 2am at night.

She generally had about 12 students in her class at a time. When missionaries arrived in 1863 to set up schools for black children in the wake of the civil war, they were surprised to learn about Granderson’s “moonlight” school that was already in operation. As a free woman, Granderson was hired as a teacher by the American Missionary Association. Last reported records regarding Granson indicated that she was 54 years old in 1880, still teaching and married.  The date of death is uncertain.


Did you miss yesterday’s post about the “Wailing Wall” in Detroit?  Click the link below to learn about how the wall was used to facilitate housing discrimination.

The Wailing Wall: Remnant of Racism & Segregation In The City of Detroit