“White Supremacy, Maine and the Sanitized Past” Talk with Todd Little-Siebold on Wed., Feb. 27

Learn more about an often overlooked part of Maine’s past with Todd Little-Siebold, a professor at College of Atlantic, at a talk with the Racial Equity Working Group on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Jesup Memorial Library. Few Mainers (and New Englanders) know that the region’s past is every bit as much rooted in white supremacy as the rest of the nation. Instead we learn about the hearty colonists and heroic patriots who settled the area often overshadowing the stories of slavery and violence that were present.

Little-Siebold will speak about how this serves to erase and de-emphasize the region’s own sins. Stories of colonists and patriots eclipse the history of in New England as well and the racism and violence directed towards the region’s Wabanki people. Slavery was established and practiced throughout the colonial period, and thousands labored their lives away as the property of Maine’s prominent houses.  Similarly, the stories of the prominent ship’s captains all along the coast usually emphasize fishing for cod not their central role in the slave trade. And histories of the prominent families in the region rarely recount the haunting tales of settlers as bounty hunters who scalped native men, women and children to exterminate them and drive them from their ancestral lands.

Little-Siebold is professor of history and Latin American studies and has been a professor at COA since 1997. His undergraduate work in anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst provided his initial exposure to Latin America. Many of Todd’s classes explore how power works in society. By looking at varied forms of power in diverse historical and geographical settings, these courses seek to sensitize students to the processes and mechanisms behind the exercise of power and communities’ responses to power.

This is the second talk in a series of three talks at the Jesup in the Racial Equity Working Group Winter Speaker Series. The Racial Equity Working Group (REWG) is a group of Mount Desert Island residents who aim to deepen our understanding of power and privilege and to foster racial justice, equity, and inclusion on MDI and beyond. REWG seeks to: educate ourselves and the MDI community on racial justice, equity, and inclusion; explore and organize local programs that increase understanding of historical and structural racism; and research, devise, and advocate for practices and policies to foster racial justice, equity, and inclusion.

For more information on the talk contact the Jesup at 207-288-4245 or mrice@jesuplibrary.org.