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Fannie M. Richards

Fannie M. Richards
Portrait of Fannie M Richards.jpg
Born(1840-10-01)October 1, 1840
Fredericksburg, Virginia
DiedFebruary 13, 1922(1922-02-13) (aged 81)

Fannie M. Richards (1840-1922) was an American educator. She created the first kindergarten program in Michigan, and for that was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.


Richards was born on October 1, 1840 in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She soon moved to Toronto, and was educated both there and in Germany, working in Germany with German educator Friedrich Fröbel. She later moved to Detroit, and was allowed to teach there despite not having the correct license. In 1863, she opened a school for black children and, five years later was appointed the Instructor at Colored School Number 2. Working with John J. Bagley Richards protested against the segregated school system in Detroit; which the Michigan Supreme Court eventually mandated the abolishment of. In 1871 (the same year as the decision), she started working at Everett Elementary School, and there established the first kindergarten class in Michigan. Richards also founded the Phyllis Wheatly Home for Aged Colored Ladies in Detroit, and cofounded the Michigan Association of Colored Women. Richards died February 13, 1922.[1][2][3]

Richards home was added to the State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites on November 14, 1974.[4]

A portrait of Miss Fannie M. Richards, painted by Detroit artist Telitha Cumi Bowens, was included in the 1988/89 exhibit "Ain't I A Woman" at the Museum of African American History, Detroit. The exhibit featured a dozen prominent Black women from the state of Michigan, including Ethelene Jones Crockett, M.D., the Honorable Cora M. Brown, and Dr. Violet T. Lewis.[5]


  1. ^ "Fannie Richards". Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  2. ^ "Fannie M. Richards" (PDF). Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.
  3. ^ "Fannie Richards | Biographies". Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Finnie Richards Homesite Marker". Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  5. ^ Ain't I A Woman, an exhibition catalogue. Detroit, MI: Museum of African American History. 1989. pp. 5–7.

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