Around New England

Bill Owens Dies — First Black State Senator In Massachusetts

January 26, 2022

The first black state senator in Massachusetts died this past weekend.

Bill Owens (D-Mattapan) died from coronavirus on Saturday, January 22. He was 84.

Owens served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1973 and 1974. He went on to serve as a state senator from 1975 to 1982 and again from 1985 to 1992.

During his time as a Massachusetts legislator, Owens was known for proposing reparations for the descendants of enslaved African-Americans, according to MassLive.

Boston mayor Michelle Wu tweeted out her condolences on Monday, January 24.

“Heartbroken about the passing of former MA State Sen. Bill Owens, who broke barriers as the first Black state senator in our Commonwealth,” Wu wrote. “His legacy lives on in our work to serve every community & in the continued fight for racial equity.”

 

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