Lucy Colman School Site

Attractive new detached homes line one part of Rochester's Favor Street.
Type: Unmarked Location Involved: Colman, Lucy N.
Location: Favor Street
Rochester, NY
Cause: Abolition

Residing in Rochester by the mid-1800s, Lucy Colman briefly accepted employment at an all-black "colored school." In her autobiography she said the school was based in an "African church" in "a low part of town." Disgusted at its segregation – and by being paid less than half the amount paid to her male predecessor – Colman contends that she secretly persuaded so many parents to withdraw their children that the school closed the year after she joined its staff.

Presumably the school was the one founded on Favor Street in 1828 by the escaped slave Thomas James, also a founder of the adjacent African Methodist Episcopal (A. M. E.) church. Historian Milton Sernett locates this church at the intersection of Favor and Spring Streets. Favor and Spring do not intersect today because Spring no longer exists west of the I-490 Inner Loop; the location is now just south of I-490 and just east of Ford Street.

Ironically, the school whose segregation Colman found so distasteful was viewed as a great step forward when it was founded. The school closed in 1857, which could have coincided with Colman’s employment there.

Anyone having more detailed knowledge about this school or possessing independent documentation of Colman’s claim to have singlehandedly closed it is invited to contact Trail management at tflynn@centerforinquiry.net.