CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — More than 120 years after her death, Elizabeth Buffum Chase has been honored by the U.S. government with a post office officially named in her honor.
President Trump signed the bill to rename the Central Falls building, located at 575 Dexter Street, to “The Elizabeth Buffum Chace Post Office.”
Chace, who lived from December 9, 1806 to December 12, 1899, was an anti-slavery activist and humanitarian who fought for greater equality as a leader in the abolitionist and suffragette movements.
Mayor James Diossa first came up with the idea to rename the building. Legislation was then sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline and Sen. Jack Reed and cosponsored by Sen. Whitehouse and Rep. Langevin.
“An activist in every sense of the word, Elizabeth Buffum Chace was a champion for equality and a passionate advocate for justice. In her day, Elizabeth Buffum Chace was recognized for being ‘the conscience of Rhode Island,’” Sen. Reed said. “Her work in the anti-slavery movement and pioneering efforts on behalf of women’s rights, children, and workers still resonates. Naming this post office in her honor is further recognition to her many contributions. I thank Mayor Diossa, Congressmen Cicilline and Langevin, and Senator Whitehouse, and all who were involved in this effort.”
Elizabeth Buffum Chace was born in Providence, but lived in several locations throughout New England as a child. She attended the Friend’s Boarding School in Providence, then began a noteworthy career fighting for women’s rights. She spoke out against discrimination and was president of the Rhode Island Woman Suffrage Association, the American Women’s Suffragist Association, and the Rhode Island Equal Suffrage Association.
Chace was a well-known abolitionist and philanthropist who was active in anti-slavery efforts and regularly harbored fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad. She also helped to organize a Female Anti-Slavery Society in Fall River, Mass.
Chase also served on the Ladies’ Board of Visitors to the Penal and Correctional Institutions of the State, which examined the conditions in the state prison and reported back to the legislature about them. She was deeply committed to improving the lives of others and became a prominent citizen of Central Falls, seeing it incorporated as a city in 1895.
“Elizabeth Buffum Chace was a giant in the fight to end slavery and give women the right to vote. We are proud to call her one of our own and honored to have her legacy commemorated at our Post Office,” Mayor Diossa said. “Renaming this post office will establish a lasting landmark for the work she did.”
Chace, who died at the age of 93, is buried in the Swan Point Cemetery in Providence. In 2002, she became the first woman to be memorialized with a statue in the Rhode Island State House.