Maine's Visible Black History: The First Chronicle of Its People

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9780884482758: Maine's Visible Black History: The First Chronicle of Its People
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This first comprehensive book on Maine’s black history is a mosaic of early history, slavery, the Underground Railroad, arts, sciences, law, politics, civil rights, education, religion, military, and sports. Forty-two contributors write about black families |and communities.

Black men and women have been integral parts of Maine culture and society since the beginning of the colonial era. Indeed, Mainers of African descent served in every American conflict from the King Philip's War to the present. However, the many contributions of blacks in shaping Maine and the nation have, for a number of reasons, gone largely unacknowledged.  Maine's Visible Black History now uncovers and reveals a rich and long-neglected strata of state history and proves a very real connection to regional and national events. Drawing on the excellent writing of contributors Herb Adams, William David Barry, Beverly Dodge Bowens, Stephen Ellis, Leigh Donaldson, Bob Greene, Douglas Hall, Charles L. Lumpkins, Reginald Pitts, Marcia Robinson, Geneva McAuley Sherrer, Helene Ertha Vann, and others, the project covers many facets of history including slavery in Maine (which lasted until 1783), work, religions, family, education, military service, community, social change, arts and science, sports, politics, law, civil rights, underground railroad, and the contributions of individual men and women.

There are appendices, resources for students, and an index. The book's extraordinary illustrations document black life from Aroostook County to York County through the centuries.  

Authors/Editors Price and Talbot, with the many contributing writers, are owed a lasting debt. They have given us a substantive, often poignant volume that deserves a place on every Maine bookshelf. Never again will anyone seriously suggest that black people have played little or no role in the development of Maine.

B&W photographs and drawings

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From the Back Cover:

"'Maine's Visible History' marks a new stage in the history of African Americans in Maine and the United States. It is a lavishly illustrated tapestry of personal reminiscences, local, state, and national history that makes us reconsider what we thought we knew. It brings together professional and local historians, genealogists and storytellers, participants and narrators in an accessible, fascinating, and groundbreaking way. African Amerian history has always been about black populations large enough that black people could form institutions to affect their relationships with the prevailing community. In Maine the black population was so small that blacks could only form micro versions of those institutions to protect themselves from the assaults of the dominant society. Their perserverance in the face of the tremendous odds against them is not only a testament to the human spirit but provides examples that allow us to see how these institutions were formed. 'Maine's Visible Black History' is a grassroots account of African American individuals and small black communites building the institutions that enabled them to carve out lives and get a tiny piece of the promise of America." -Randolph Stakeman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of African Studies and History, Director of the Africana Studies Program, and Director of the John Brown Russwurm African American Center at Bowdoin College.

"'Maine's Visible Black History' is a remarkable achievement, vividly bringing to life hundreds of years of Maine's long obscured African American history! From the earliest days of pre-colonial settlement, Black Mainers have helped forge and build a New England commonwealth. They struggled through slavery and freedom, discrimination and liberation, to create and maintain families, communities, and institutions, from Maine's coastal islands to inland mill towns and logging centers. Meticulously researched, infused with rich personal and community oral stories, 'Maine's Visible Black History' will surprise and delight its readers. This book has reclaimed a history in danger of being lost forever and shares with us Maine's African American citizens' rightful place in the fabric of the state's long history." -Kate Clifford Larson, Ph.D., author, "Bound For the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero"

About the Author:

H. H. Price is a white New Englander with a background in civil rights and African American history, who has lived and worked in Maine since 1969. She is a writer/researcher, who led the research in the late 1990s that established Maine was part of the underground railroad and communicated those findings through published works, an exhibition, and a web site.

Gerald E. Talbot is an eighth-generation Mainer, who has been educating Maine people since the early 1970s about black history, through talks at schools, colleges and universities, and community groups. He is a black historian, a civil rights leader, the first black to be elected to the Maine State Legislature (1972-78), and the major donor of the African American Collection of Maine at the University of Southern Maine.

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