In 1935, the first student of color, Margaret Hart, graduated from the four-year program at the State Teachers College of North Adams (now MCLA). Hart was born in 1911 in Williamstown and was the oldest of her siblings. After entering the State Teachers College of North Adams in 1931, Hart became very active in student clubs and activities. She participated in student council, yearbook staff, drama club, and the Women’s Athletic Association, as well as performing in plays. After graduating from the State Teachers College of North Adams in 1935, she attended Columbia Teachers College, graduating in 1939 with a master’s degree in special education. Following her Columbia Teachers College graduation, Hart taught at schools in Virginia, Alabama, and Indiana before returning to the Berkshires, where she taught in Pittsfield for twenty-six years.
Hart was important to this college not only because she was the first African American to graduate from the four-year college, but also because part of her commitment both to mentoring MCLA students and to the Pittsfield community. In Pittsfield Hart became not only the first African American teacher in the Pittsfield public schools, but also the first teacher of color in Berkshire County. Outside of teaching, Hart joined the NAACP, and she served as the director of the Catholic Youth Center in Pittsfield. A mural at Pitt Park in Pittsfield’s west side contains her portrait. In 1996, she achieved a major accomplishment when North Adams State College gave her an honorary doctorate of pedagogy. After she died, at the age of 92 in 2004, MCLA founded a scholarship in her honor called the Margaret A. Hart scholarship. It should never be forgotten what Hart did for the community and how she paved the way for diverse people to come.