Saturday, February 13, 2010

M. Elizabeth Chitty, Historic Plainfielder

One of the first stories people told me about Plainfield was how M. Elizabeth Chitty took off her dress at a school board meeting to make a point. I never got the full context, but now all can read about her dramatic move in a Star-Ledger article on her life, part of a series on local icons of Black History.

An activist in many fields, she was a three-term president of the Plainfield Board of Education. According to the S-L article, she was "often criticized for being hard-line on budget issues." She removed her dress, the story goes, to prove she was human and not a "two-headed monster."

Her story is compelling for many reasons, including her personal struggle to succeed and the many causes she took up. A portrait of her hangs in the Plainfield High School library, which is named for her.

Kudos to the Star-Ledger for celebrating the lives of local historic figures. We need to know more about them, in addition to the traditional roster of Black History personalities.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure sorror Chitty is turning over in her grave with this BOE. What an embarrassment for the City of Plainfield. Shame, Shame, Shame. You all need to be voted out of office. Gallon needs to be thrown out on his ***.

5:24 PM  

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