[Frances Joseph Gaudet]
Educator and Prison Reformer, 1934
Frances was born in a log cabin in Holmesville, Mississippi, in 1861, of African American and Native American descent. Raised by her grandparents, she later went to live with a brother in New Orleans where she attended school and Straight College.
While still a young woman, Gaudet dedicated her life to prison reform. In 1894, she began holding prayer meetings for Black prisoners. She wrote letters for them, delivered messages, and found them clothing. Later, she extended this ministry to white prisoners as well. Her dedication to the imprisoned and to penal reform won her the respect of prison officials, city authorities, the governor of Louisiana, and the Prison Reform Association.