By Steve Bromage, MHS Executive Director
Maine Historical Society is deeply disturbed by this tragic moment in our history. We are horrified and fed up by George Floyd’s death, and those of countless other people of color. How can this happen again and again and again?
History will play a critical role in instituting the transformative social change that is required.
Together, we need:
- to understand how we got to this moment—our shared history and the roles we each play in this story.
- to be fearless in confronting the past—and to recognize how it shapes where we are today.
- to start by truly acknowledging the problem—hundreds of years of institutionalized racism, ongoing economic inequality, and an embarrassingly broken political culture.
The materials that Maine Historical Society and historical organizations throughout Maine collect, preserve, and share will be an invaluable resource during this time.
Our collections reveal that Maine is part of the story that created structures of inequality. Maine, and the land that Maine Historical Society occupies, was the first region in North America where a permanent European settlement was founded. Since that time, the foundations of white privilege have created a system built on colonialism, racism, and a slave economy that helped fuel Maine’s hallmark industries like shipbuilding, trade, and manufacturing.
Our collections also show Mainers’ resilience, leadership, and ability to change the world.
Together, we have to unpack the underlying issues, to develop a plan that will lead to transformative change, and to take the first next steps.
We pledge MHS as a partner in helping lead this process, and to providing information, context, and perspective as our community confronts these issues.