By Terry Rogers
When she was elected in 1994, Katrina Wilson became the first female black member of City Council, taking a place in Milford history. Councilwoman Wilson, who has served 24 years, 12 terms of office, took the seat previously held by Douglas Gibson.
“Being the first black American woman to serve on City Council was an honor and still is,” Councilwoman Wilson said. “My biggest challenge on council is to make decisions based on the needs of the entire City and not just the needs of individuals. I don’t feel any added pressure as the only black woman on council and have not been treated differently because of my race. I have, however, feel I have been treated differently because of my sex. I feel I am a big voice for all women by demanding respect and earning it.”
Councilwoman Wilson was born and raised in Milford, the fourth of five children. She has been working with Nemours Pediatrics in Milford for 24 years and is the “proud wife” of Darrell Wilson. They have two children and three “beautiful grandchildren,” Councilwoman Wilson says. A member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Councilwoman Wilson volunteers for many boards as well as committees for the City.
“I try to be an honest person, but while serving the community, that is not always appreciated,” Councilwoman Wilson said. “I am very proud to be a servant and volunteer for good causes that benefit the lives of good people.”
During the Civil Rights movement, Councilwoman Wilson recalls being upset because she was not able to attend the same black school that her older siblings attended. When she started elementary school in a desegregated school system, she realized how fortunate she was to have the freedom of speech to voice her opinion.
“Black children were often made to feel they were second to whites,” Councilwoman Wilson said. “I was fortunate that I had great teachers who recognized I had a strong personality and they embraced me rather than being intimidated. I remember being proud of the black national leaders silently before we could celebrate them as a country. My parents instilled in us to be proud of who you are and to treat others as you want to be treated.”
Wilson states that one of the best parts of serving on Council is seeing positive growth and realizing that her vote was part of that growth. She said that when senior citizens or other members of the community tell her she is doing a good job or praise her for a decision she made or opinion she expressed, it makes her feel proud that she is making a difference in her hometown.
“The main thing I would like people to understand about me is that I love my town and will always be a part of making Milford a great place to live,” Wilson said. “My family is a priority, though. I believe success is measured by your work ethics and how much you give back to those who are less fortunate.”
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