Maine's Role in the Slave Trade: Research Uncovers Significant Slave Trading in New England
In 1820, the U.S. passed an act that made participation on the slave trade an act of piracy. Yet, dozens of Maine vessels engaged in the slave trade illegally during this period. Thousands of enslaved people were transported and traded, leading to huge profits for slave traders--some of whom were Maine sea captains who are remembered as leading citizens of the day. Much of the millions of dollars from the slave trade funded the growth of New England's economy. We will learn about this troubling period in Maine's history, which has not often been mentioned or understood.
This show first aired January 21, 2020, as part of Maine Calling's coverage of topics relating to Maine's Bicentennial. We are re-airing it as the nation marks Juneteenth.
Kate McMahon, museum specialist, Center for the Study of Global Slavery, National Museum of African American History & Culture
Meadow Dibble, director, Atlantic Black Box; visiting scholar, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Brown University