Tag Archives: Framingham_State_University

Going the Extra Mile – Mary Elizabeth Miles in the History of FSU

Black History month asks us to remember some of the most influential members of our history. Some of these people are closer to our school than you may think. Mary Elizabeth Miles was the first African-American woman to enter and graduate from Framingham Normal School when it resided in Lexington, MA in the early 1840s. She was born in Rhode Island around 1820 to free parents in the Quaker community. Miles was educated at Prudence Crandall’s Female Academy by Crandall herself, a white abolitionist who was the first to teach exclusively black children. By the time Miles was a young adult she had proven herself capable enough for Rev. Samuel J. May and Horace Mann to petition the school committee to allow her access to higher education.

Miles entered the school on May 26th, 1842 as a twenty-two year old woman and graduated in April of 1843. Back then, an Education major had requirements that could be achieved in one or two years, a fact that shocks many present day Education students. The 1861 school catalogue states that students were only required to attend three consecutive terms (roughly a year and a half) to complete their courses of study in Reading, Spelling, Writing, Defining, Grammar, Geography, and Arithmetic. Miles already had some teaching experience working in public schools before she entered the Normal School giving her an edge in her studies.

After her graduation in 1843 she began her teaching career. She moved from Boston to Albany to Cincinnati before meeting her future husband Henry Bibb, a fugitive slave from Kentucky and ardent abolitionist. They formed a bond at an abolitionist convention in New York City in 1847 and married a year later in Ohio before moving back to Boston. They resided in the North until the federal government passed the Compromise of 1850 and the dreaded Fugitive Slave Act. Since Bibb himself was a fugitive slave and Miles’s family had been free for generations with little way to prove they were not slaves, the couple emigrated to Canada and lived in Sandwich.

Unfortunately, much of Miles’s career was overshadowed by her husband’s. He established Canada’s first black newspaper, Voice of the Fugitive, and continued the abolitionist movement while in Canada until his death in 1854. During his lecture tours, Bibb left the job of editing and publishing the paper to his wife making Mary Miles the first ever woman in Canadian history to publish a newspaper.

Meanwhile, Miles was doing more than her part in trying to promote education in the black community. She opened her first school in their home in 1851, the year that Canada segregated its public schools. Miles’s school was the first opened in Sandwich for black children. Attendance swelled she had no choice but to find a bigger space to accommodate all of her students. Unfortunately, the community was too impoverished to afford the meager six cents a week per student she was asking to be paid, and Miles was forced to close the school.

In a way, Miles’s story should make us present day Rams very proud because she continued her fight despite the odds against her. She opened a second school in 1852 in Windsor for both black and white children to attend with no prejudice about race. She also opened a third school later on in her life as well that promoted the same model.

At the same time that the Bibbs were running the newspaper and opening schools, they were also acting as the final stop on the Underground Railroad. They accepted American refugees into their home as a part of the Windsor Anti-Slavery Society and the Refugee Home Society. They worked to give the fugitive slaves enough of a foothold to survive and thrive in a new country.

Thanks to her dedication to education, Mary Elizabeth Miles forever changed the lives of the children she taught as well as the fugitive slaves she bravely sheltered. She was someone who sought to brighten the future by teaching new generations while trying to help fugitive slaves find a new life beyond the border. This is a woman who each Framingham State student should find strength in as well as an immense sense of the pride.

For more information on Mary Elizabeth Miles, check out the exhibit in the foyer of the Henry Whittemore Library.

Written By,

2017 English Intern

Ryan Toomey

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Did You Know? 163 Years in Framingham: From Normal Hall to West Hall

 

Part 1: The First Residents

 

Normal Hall

 

When the first State Normal School was relocated to Framingham Massachusetts in 1853, there were limited living accommodations available for students. It was not until 1869 that Normal Hall, the first dormitory here at Framingham, opened its doors to the first class of “boarding students.” These first residents of Framingham faced new opportunities as well as challenges, and their living situations were ones that today’s Framingham State University residents might be appalled by.

As the oldest state supported institution for teacher training in the United States, Framingham State University has a diverse history with thousands of alumni who have walked through our campus. During the initial years at Framingham, when the school had less than a hundred students enrolled, Normal Hall was the only dorm available for resident students.

Henrietta Graves a student of the class of 1884, recalls the rough experience of living in this dorm. “The last of the double beds was banished from Normal Hall in my day,” she states. “Many a night [had] I lain awake trying to keep from sliding over the outer edge of one while my roommate slept peacefully on the continental divide in the middle. The joy of the new single bed with good springs and a level mattress remains with me yet.” Though, to today’s residents, the very idea of sharing a bed with one’s roommate at FSU might seem like a scene from a nightmare, it was the reality for the earliest students. If that is not enough to make anyone appreciate modern times, it should also be noted that the Normal Hall dormitory was not only home for these students, but it was also home to the principal of the school and some of these students’ teachers.

 

Normal Hall dorm

Courtesy of Framingham State University Archives

Another resident student, referred to only as Mrs. Brockway, a graduate of the class of 1871, describes living in Normal Hall, “when water had to be brought in barrels and our baths were limited to one per week in three inches of water, when the guaranteed heating apparatus proved altogether inadequate, so that in cold weather we put on our coats when we dressed in the morning and kept them on until we went to bed at night.” She also remembers times when the lights “went out all over the house and [students] huddled together in the corridors with the few little oil lamps we were able to procure.” Crocker Hall was the next dorm to be constructed; in 1886. It was at first home for students and teachers, but later became the center for Household Arts. This building, after a fire, a hurricane, and a great deal of reconstruction, currently still stands on campus. What were once dorms for students are now office spaces used by FSU faculty.

Normal Hall dormitory, on the other hand, was eventually destroyed on February 13, 1914, in a fire ignited by a defective fireplace chimney in the principal’s quarters. What was left of the building was completely demolished in 1919 so that Horace Mann Hall could be constructed. This second dorm still stands on campus to this day, and remains a home for resident students.

As Framingham State University’s newest dorm, West Hall, nears its fall, 2016 completion date, the differences between this new building and the first dormitory on FSU property become striking. The new dorm has six stories and can comfortably house 315 residents. There is currently enough space for more than 1770 students to live on campus in one of FSU’s many dorms (not yet including West Hall). Comparatively, when Normal

 

Student Dorm

  

Hall only had three floors and housed less than seventy residents at any time. In Fact, the class of 1905 only had 63 students in total, and not all of these were “boarding students.”

 

Though “living on the hill” at FSU has become an entirely different experience for today’s students, times were not all bad back in the early 20th century. Things were simpler; the Framingham campus was mostly farmland and was referred to as “bare hill,” students could get to personally know their classmates and communicate regularly with their teachers, and school was only a two year endeavor. However, the women that attended Framingham State Normal School were still creating history by bravely making unexpected choices for this era. During these days, not as many girls continued their education after high school as do now. This was a time when “Serge bloomers, serge blouses and high collars, and long black stockings” were the style, a time when “the average citizen scoffed at the idea of [it] being necessary to teach teachers.” These first students at Framingham were defying expectations by continuing their studies. From Normal Hall to West Hall, this goal remains a constant. However, luckily for them, FSU residents can now continue to learn in much more comfortable environment than they might have in the past.

Written By,

2016 English Intern

Rebecca Waitt

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Remembering Challenger: 30 Years (and 73 Seconds) Later – The Christa McAuliffe Collection at Framingham State University

In 1984, when Ronald Regan announced that the first citizen to go to space would be “one of America’s finest: a teacher,” Christa McAuliffe was teaching social studies at Concord High School. She was one of the 11,500 applicants reviewed by NASA, but after rigorous tests and examinations, she was chosen to be the first teacher to fly into space.

On her application to NASA Christa wrote, “I watched the Space Age begin and I would like to participate.” With a teacher making the journey into space, NASA hoped to revive public interest in the space program, an interest that had never faded from Christa’s own thoughts. Space-bound and ready to teach the first lessons from the skies, Christa was an example for teachers, children, and hopeful dreamers all across the United States.

Christa’s passion continues to be an inspiration to incoming students at FSU, not only those attending the University, many with the hope of becoming teachers in the future, but also the visitors who stop by to experience the possibilities of space travel and the thrills of science at the Christa McAuliffe Center

Here at Framingham State University, the Christa McAuliffe collection in the Archives and Special Collections, donated by Christa’s mother, Grace Corrigan, also remains a great source of motivation for students and researchers.

The majority of the collection features photographs and a large number of personal letters; many of these letters were written to the family of Christa McAuliffe with thoughts of sympathy and concern following the 1986 Space Challenger tragedy. The collection also features information collected from the McAuliffe center regarding the work they have been conducting for the past 21 years.

A few other letters amongst the collection were written by Christa herself; in one such letter, a young Christa writes about a visit to the Boston Museum of Science. The highlight of this trip involved a show at the planetarium; as the lights went off, “suddenly the stars and the moon came out.” With her eyes turned skyward, Christa was ready for adventures in space.

The McAuliffe Center, dedicated to keeping Christa’s memory and goals alive, as well as the collection here at FSU, reveal the immediate and lasting impact of Christa’s passionate dedication to teaching and lifelong learning. As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Space Challenger disaster this week, and celebrate Christa’s personal goals driven by her own message that “we all have to dream,” we learn by her example that there are greater possibilities made by taking risks and looking forward.

Written by Rebecca Waitt
English Intern 2016

 

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3rd Annual Literary Cake Decorating Contest 2013

Please follow the link to a slideshare presentation of the 3rd Annual Literary Cake Decorating Contest held at the Henry Whittemore Library  on  April 19, 2013.

http://www.slideshare.net/cprevite/henry-whittemore-library-framingham-state-universitys-3rd-annual-literary-cake-decorating-contest-event

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by | April 30, 2013 · 2:02 pm

Celebrate National Library Week April 16-19th

The Henry Whittemore Library will be celebrating National Library Week – April 16-19

Events include:

-A performance by Ben Cosgrove in Library Café, at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16th.
-Get a free wrapped book in our Books “under-wrap” give-away
(Give-away is all week long or until we run out).
-Enter our Whittemore library staff matching baby photo contest.  Win a prize!  (entries accepted until drawing on Fri. April 19th).
-Draw Your Favorite Book (Month of April)
-Faculty/Staff Publications and Art & Craft Exhibit (Runs month of April).
-Environmental Poetry Workshop/Poetry Slam led by Professor Sam Witt in the Library Cafe at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17th.
-Reading by author Maryanne O’Hara in the Library Café on Thursday, April 18 from 2 to 4 p.m.
-Literary Cake Decorating Contest – Any patron can make a cake in the theme of a book in the Library Café on Friday, April 19, come vote for your favorite 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m, come enjoy a sample of these yummy creations 1-2pm.

We look forward to seeing you all participate in all the week’s events.

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Blue Wrap Group: Design Competition Exhibit April 13-20th

Blue Wrap Group: Design Competition (Exhibit: April 13-20)

Tuesday, April 17, Opening Reception  from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Whittemore Library, FSU

     Students will compete in design using recycled materials known as “Blue Wrap,” a durable, sterile

protective cover made of polypropylene used to wrap surgical instruments. Designs will be evaluated

by a panel of judges on the creative use of Blue Wrap, design concept, and the design process.

The competition is open to all faculty, staff and students and is being done in collaboration with

MetroWest Hospital, Natick.

For more information, please contact: pseborcable@framingham.edu.

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Whittemore Library Participated in the 4th Annual FSU Green Festival

In celebration of Earth Day, the library hosted a table at the 4th annual campus Green Festival on Thursday, April 21, 2011. The library’s table included handouts, print reference and circulating books, children’s books, videos, DVDs, magazines and journals related to Environmental Science. Also featured was the online subject guide for Environmental Science, which includes direct links to eBooks, databases, full-text journals and websites.

Library staff members also created an “Earth Day Bingo” game, which required participants to answer 4-5 trivia questions associated with Earth Day, going green, environmentalism, and more. Sample questions from the game include: “What Rachel Carson book instigated the environmental awareness movement in the US?”, “Name 3 types of sustainable energy” and “What are 2 things you can do to ‘go green’?” The winners of “Earth Day Bingo” had their choice of prizes: a potted cutting from an official library plant, a worms & dirt cupcake, or an environmental science children’s book.

The festival featured fascinating presentations by Donna Merritt of the Climate Project, and Kathleen Freeman from NStar. Following the presentations, FSU faculty members and the presenters had a panel discussion, “Sustainability: Luxury or Necessity?” where students, faculty and staff were able to ask questions to these experts on the topic of sustainability.

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