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The African American Trail Project at Tufts University A Walking Tour

Lena Bruce Bench

8 Professors Row, Somerville, MA

to the right of the entrance

Tufts alumnae Lena Bruce (E '92) and Anita Griffey (J' 90) were successful students, committed leaders and sisters of Delta Sigma Theta, a historically black sorority dedicated to community service. Tragically, both women died within two years of each other in the early 1990s. The Tufts community, led by their fellow sorority sisters and Africana Center peers, along with their respective families chose to honor their memory and legacy with the dedication of two separate benches.

Lena Bruce grew up in Philadelphia, where she was a community activist, and mentored at-risk youth in Boston. She was also the only African-American woman in her electrical engineering class. After graduation with honors, she began working at the engineering firm Stone & Webster. She was murdered in her Boston apartment in July 1992 by an unknown intruder. The case remained unsolved for nearly two decades until a suspect was indicted in October 2015.

The Lena D. Bruce memorial bench sits outside of the Africana Center, Capen House; and the Anita Griffey memorial bench is just outside Olin Center. The benches were re-dedicated in April, 2015. In 2017, the Tufts Alumni Association, the Tufts Black Alumni Association, the Tufts Career Center and the Africana Center collaboratively established the Bruce-Griffey Leadership and Diversity Internship Fund, which provides a stipend to fund internships in the non-profit sector for current Tufts students who are leaders on campus and have demonstrated a commitment to public service.