March 28, 2022 Press Release
ORANGE, VA., March 28, 2022—The Montpelier Foundation (TMF) Board of Directors voted on March 25 to amend the Foundation’s bylaws to provide that director recommendations by the Montpelier Descendants Committee (MDC) be “a manner, but not the exclusive manner, in which the Foundation may achieve structural parity in the composition of its Board of Directors.”
“James Madison’s Montpelier is a leader in advancing the inclusion of descendants of enslaved persons in the governance of an important historic site,” said Board Chair Eugene Hickok.
“Currently, there are five descendants of enslaved persons on the 16-person board,” said Hickok. “Three are named by the MDC, and two are named by the Foundation. Our goal is 50%.
“Candidates for board membership will continue to be put forward by the MDC,” said Hickok. “Additionally, we want to expand that pool of candidates, as part of Montpelier’s longstanding commitment to structural parity.”
“There has been some misunderstanding about the purpose of the board’s vote,” said Hickok. “It is, in fact, a way to ensure that more voices of descendants of enslaved persons are heard in the telling of the history of Montpelier.
“The vote broadens the pool of descendants of enslaved persons for board membership.”
“The March 25 vote is a ‘reset’ of the process, meant to provide greater flexibility for the Board in developing structural parity as defined by a 2018 Rubric for teaching the history of enslaved persons."
The resolution approved by The TMF Board of Directors reads, in part: “The Board Development & Governance Committee shall consider any recommendations of the Montpelier Descendants Committee presented to it in making director nominations and shall endeavor in good faith to reach and maintain a goal of at least one-half of the Board to be comprised of directors either (a) individuals who are recommended or endorsed by Montpelier Descendants Committee or (b) individuals who are identified and recommended by the Foundation to represent the Montpelier descendants community consistent with the definition of the descendants community as defined by the Rubric, in order to achieve parity.”