Margaret Hart was one of the first students of color to graduate from State Teachers College at North Adams, now the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She graduated in 1935 and went on to earn a Master’s degree from Columbia Teachers College in New York. She was born in Williamstown in 1911, the daughter of Henry Hart Sr. and Kate Alexander Hart, and was part of the family who bought the Hart Farm in 1948 in South Williamstown.
Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed, a South Williamstown resident and a professor of History, Political Science and Public Policy at MCLA, gave a brief talk on Margaret Hart at the South Williamstown Community Association’s Annual Meeting on Tuesday, June 7th, at the Second Congregational Church.
Frances Jones-Sneed has taught and researched local history extensively and is co-director of the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail. She was instrumental in setting up the Margaret Hart scholarship at MCLA, to which SWCA contributed.
Margaret Hart died in 2004 at age 92 after a teaching career of more than 50 years. The Margaret Hart Scholarship was established in her honor in 2000 and has been awarded yearly, giving preference to African American students from Berkshire County. Frances Jones-Sneed said that Margaret Hart “came to the campus to meet the scholarship recipients and was very inspirational.” Dr. Jones-Sneed said “When students asked Miss Hart about her decision to teach at Hampton Institute (which she did for 30 years), she responded that she wanted the experience, since she had grown up and gone to school in the Berkshires and had not been to an area with a large African American population. She wanted to give back to people who really needed it.” She finished up with teaching at what is now Reid Middle School in Pittsfield for 26 years.
Dr. Jones-Sneed’s talk on Margaret Hart, illustrated with photos, will be available on Willinet.