Spirits Alive at Eastern Cemetery Presents: Lecture on Black Mainers by Andy O’Brien This Saturday


A Block Party is Scheduled at The Abyssinian Meeting House on Newbury Street for May 11, 2024, from 3:00 – 8:00 pm.

Katelyn Manfre, of Portland Ovations with Composer Daniel B. Ramain at the Portland Ovations Office  on February 8, 2024.  His Parents Are From Haiti, Although Daniel was Born in the US.

You are invited to attend a lecture on “Black Mainers and the Struggle for Freedom and Equality in the 19th Century” by Andy O’Brien on Saturday, February 24th at the University of Maine’s Glickman Library. The lecture starts at 1:30.  The lecture is free, but parking at USM is not free.

The lecture is the second in Spirits Alive’s  3-event 2024 lecture series.

Since the Colonial era, African Americans in Maine have fought for liberation – first by resisting their enslavement and petitioning for their emanicaption, then by joining national movements for abollitionism and civil rights.  O’Brien will trace the roots of Maine’s racial justice movement from slavery to its formal abolition in 1885.  He will describe the Black Mainers in electoral politics in the antebellum period and grassroots organizing in the abolitionist and National Colored Convention movements.

Learn about influential Black Mainers like activist Reuben Ruby and others.  Ruby was the first hack driver in Maine and was instrumental in forming the Abyssinian Society and the building it constructed on Newbury Street on Munjoy Hill. The life and influence on the Black community in Portland  of Ruby is further described in the “Portland Freedom Trail” brochure available at the Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress Street, Portland.

The Abyssian Meeting House is planning an outdoor block party on Saturday, May 11, 2024 from 3:00 – 8:00 pm.The block party will be produced by Portland Ovations. It features composer Daniel B. Ramain. The Meeting House is currently undergoing extensive renovations thanks to Federal funds secured by Congresswoman Chellie PIngree (D) several years ago.

Andy O’Brien is a local writer and  the Director of Communications for the Maine AFL-CIO.