Windsor Historical Society, Connecticut, Finally Elects Its First Black President After 102 Years

(from left to right) Lance Hall, Secretary Daniel Crittenden, Sarah Gilligan, David Pugliese, Vice President Liz Burke, and President Randy McKenney. Photo Credit: Windsor Historical Society

The Windsor Historical Society in Connecticut is getting closer to its goal of being more inclusive after electing Randy Mckenney as its first Black president in 102 years.

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The Historical Society was established in 1921 to serve as the primary historical institution for Connecticut’s oldest town. The group hopes to engage people in the evolving history of Windsor by preserving, interpreting, and spreading items and tales from the neighborhood.

According to the CT Insider, McKenney, who has resided in Windsor for over three decades and has been engaged with the Society for three years, was chosen to serve a one-year term.

The Executive Director of the Society, Douglas Shipman, said, “Randy has expressed interest in Windsor history for many, many years.” He also added that McKenney has presided over a number of boards, served on the Town Council for ten years, and has made significant contributions to racial dialogue in Windsor.

“I’ve been involved in the community and this is just kind of new, being a part of leadership with the historical society,” the newly elected president said. “I feel comfortable because I think we’ve done really good work the last couple of years and we’ve actually made some changes.”

Only two people of color were on the board when McKenney joined the Society three years ago, he noted.

According to Shipman, 52% of the town’s residents are people of color, compared to 47% of the 17-member board. “Our goal is to actually represent the community with our board,” he said. He stated that by enlisting a more diverse staff, members, and volunteers, he hopes to make the Historical Society more inclusive as a whole.

Nonetheless, McKenney was quick to point out that people aren’t picked for the board solely based on their skin color.

According to Shipman, increasing societal diversity is a long-term process, and there is still more work to be done. The group chose two students to the Board of Directors in December in an effort to involve the town’s younger citizens.

“Our goal is that all Windsor people see themselves reflected in their shared history here and experience the Society as a vital part of their community,” the executive director said.


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