CASCO — The Board of Selectmen voted 3-1 Tuesday to censure one of its members for forwarding a racist e-mail about Michelle Obama.

That board member, Barbara York, apologized for sending the e-mail and said she would never do anything like that again. But she did not resign, as some had demanded.

The vote, which amounted to a public rebuke, was anti-climactic, though. It followed an emotional meeting that was at times ugly and contentious, but also surprisingly moving.

The most powerful moment occurred near the end, when Antonio Jackson, an African-American resident who two weeks ago demanded that York step down, said he had changed his position and now forgives her.

Speaking to about 100 people jammed into the Casco Fire Station, he talked about how the e-mail upset him when he first saw it.

The e-mail, which has circulated widely on the Internet, includes side-by-side images of the first lady and a monkey with similar facial
expressions.

“It enraged me,” he said.

Jackson recounted how York recently visited his home and apologized to him and his wife. He said he has gotten to know her personally. “What I am asking is to stand with me in forgiveness to Ms. York,” he said.

Just about everyone stood up and applauded.

York stepped away from behind the selectmen’s table, walked over to Jackson and embraced him.

Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at: [email protected]