Milla Granson

Born Circa 1800

There's not a LOT of information available about this woman who was born into slavery in Kentucky. One of black America's pioneers in education, she risked her life to educate hundreds of blacks, both children and adults in Kentucky and Mississippi. Classes were held at midnight by this woman who developed an interest in education as a young person. As a child she was awed by the knowledge and power that education appeared to give white people. She had convinced her master's children to teach her how to read and write. She was sure that education was the route to freedom. She attained permission later from her master to teach other slaves to read and write. Upon the death of her master, she was sold to a plantation owner in Mississippi.

There she suffered many hardships. She had been a house slave in Kentucky and was unfamiliar with field work and often was unable to finish the prescribed amount of work on the Mississippi plantation. Often, she was beaten for this failure. Later, her health began to fail and she was then made a house servant. This gave her opportunity to educate the others.

She started teaching classes in a small cabin in a back alley from midnight til 2AM. Once a group had ben taught as much as she could teach them, they were graduated and a new group taken in to be taught. These efforts were the precursor for a law that was passed in Mississippi allowing slaves to teach slaves. Granson opened a 'Sabbath' school for those who were unable to make the midnight classes.

Noone is sure when she died, if she married or had children of her own, or even if she had a particular religious affiliation, but it is quite clear that she made a significant contribution to the education of black slaves in America.

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