Massachusetts Town Board Chairman Says He Won’t Run For Reelection Due To Racism

Fairhaven thought it was ‘more liberal than it actually is,’ says Leon Correy, the town’s first Black selectman.

A Massachusetts town that is 95 percent white thought it was progressive until it elected a Black local official, Fairhaven’s Select Board chairman Leon Correy told

Voters elected Correy, 46, in 2022, making him the first Black person elected as a selectman. But Correy announced in October that he won’t seek reelection because he’s experienced racism and microaggression since becoming a public official.

In an Oct. 28 Facebook post, Correy details some of those experiences, including some yelling the N-word at him, another person advising him to “know your place and shut your mouth,” and someone expressing surprise that he’s not poor.

“These are just examples of the things I have heard over the 17 months that I have been in service of a town that people thought was progressive,” Correy wrote. “Some of these statements are from people who thought they were progressive. Some were statements from people who voted for me. All are racist whether or not that’s their intention.”  

Correy told that he published the lengthy post to educate Fairhaven residents.

“There’s never been a leader figure of color in the town. In theory, I think the town thought it was more progressive or more liberal than it actually is. Then, when you got some people of color in positions of leadership, it’s been a learning lesson in who the town really is,” he said.

After his Oct. 28 post, Correy took to Facebook again when graffiti that included the N-word and expletives was found on an exterior wall of the historic Rogers School building.

Correy told the Fairhaven Neighborhood News that some people expressed “a degree of remorse” after his October Facebook announcement, and others said they understood and respected his decision not to seek reelection. 

He said Fairhaven must first recognize that it has a problem.

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“By me saying Fairhaven has an issue with racism is not me saying everyone is a racist. And that’s how people are taking it,” he told the Neighborhood News, adding that the town has experience with women and LGBTQ leaders but not with a leader of color.

However, Correy has not washed his hands of politics. He’s considering a run for a state Democratic committee seat.

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