FRAMINGHAM – North Hall will soon be renamed in honor of Mary Elizabeth (Miles) Bibb, a pioneering abolitionist and the first African American graduate of Framingham State University, after the proposal received approval from the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on Tuesday, October 22.
Bibb graduated from Framingham State – known at the time as the Lexington Normal School – in 1843, and went on to become one of the first African American female teachers in North America.
Her contributions to the anti-slavery movement have been recognized in the United States and Canada.
Framingham State University’s Board of Trustees approved a plan to rename North Hall, a 410-bed residence hall built in 2011, after Bibb in spring 2018.
The decision was prompted by a petition signed by more than 100 students who wanted to recognize this significant historical figure in University’s history.
“I am really proud of the fact that this idea came from our students,” says FSU President F. Javier Cevallos. “They deserve the credit. It was a terrific idea that we were all very excited to support.”
The change could not become official until it was signed off on by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.
“This year marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first slaves in North America,” observed Carlos E. Santiago, Commissioner of Higher Education. “I cannot think of a better time to honor the legacy of a Framingham graduate who devoted her life to ending the scourge of slavery, all the while serving as a role model for women of color. I
congratulate the Framingham State community for its work to honor the legacy of Mary Miles Bibb.”
Bibb met her husband, Henry Bibb, an escaped slave and abolitionist, in 1847.
The couple moved to Canada following the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, where they frequently took fugitive slaves into their home who had arrived via the Underground Railroad.
In 1851 they began publishing a newspaper called Voice of the Fugitive, the
first major newspaper targeted at black Canadians.
Details of a special renaming ceremony and ribbon cutting for Mary Miles Bibb Hall will be shared with the public once they are confirmed.