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Board To Consider Renaming Portland School To Honor Maine's First African-American Legislator

Tom Porter
Maine Public file

The Portland school board is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to rename an elementary school in honor of Maine’s first African-American legislator.

The proposal would change the name of Riverton Elementary School to the Gerald E. Talbot Community School. Talbot has had a long career as a legislator and civil rights activist and was the founding president of the Portland chapter of the NAACP.

Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana says Talbot’s work aligns with the goals for Riverton, which he says is currently in the process of becoming a formal community school that would support health and wellness needs for children and parents.

“It seemed like a really good opportunity to connect that focus on community with the name Talbot, a man who has done a tremendous amount for our community,” he says.

Botana says one of Talbot’s family members also attends the school.

“Riverton is a place where they have a strong connection and sense of identification,” he says.

If approved, Botana expects the school will formally unveil its new name at the beginning of the next school year.