Archives on Abolitionist Movement in Framingham Donated to Framingham State University

Archives on Abolitionist Movement in Framingham Donated to Framingham State University

May 21, 2019

On July 4, 1854, a large group of abolitionists gathered at Harmony Grove on the shores of Farm Pond in Framingham, where William Lloyd Garrison gave a fiery speech condemning the United States for supporting slavery, before burning copies of the Fugitive Slave Act and Constitution in front of the crowd.

The event, which made headlines across the country, was one of many gatherings of abolitionists that took place at Harmony Grove during those years. The Dyer family, led by Edwina Weston-Dyer, has spent years amassing an archive of primary research documents on Harmony Grove and its link to the abolitionist movement. The family, which founded the Harmony Grove Research Center for the African Diaspora, Inc., donated this historic work to the Framingham State University library archives during a special ceremony on Monday, May 20th.

 “There are days in the life of an institution that are exceedingly important, and this is one of those days,” FSU President F. Javier Cevallos said during the ceremony. “It is truly an honor and a responsibility to accept this gift from the Dyer family.”

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Linda Vaden-Goad says when she first came to Framingham and began to learn about the city, one of the first things she read about was Harmony Grove. She later learned that some of Framingham State’s earliest graduates, known as the Normalites, were involved in the abolitionist gatherings that occurred.

“I realized how our University and these events were tied together in really important ways,” she said. “Your family has pulled that together for all of us.”

Framingham State students and faculty will now have access to historically significant primary research documents on the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts. 

Dr. Charles A. Dyer, Rev. Adam Lawrence Dyer and Mustafa Abdul-“Hakim” Dyer were all on hand for the donation ceremony. They were joined by state and local officials including Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer, State Representatives Jack Lewis, Carmine Gentile and Maria Robinson, and Susan Nicholl from the office of Senate President Karen Spilka.

Framingham State Education Professor Kelly Kolodny, who wrote a book on the Framingham State Normalites, also spoke about the University’s connection to Harmony Grove during the event.

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.