A Historical Map of POC folks in Maine
Many people assume that Maine, being a majority White state, does not have much to learn in terms of the history of People of Color. but thanks to the research of Altantic Black Box, and the work of Vana Carmona, the Prince Project aims to research the history of those early folks in our state. This map, still being updated, shows data gathered about People of Color in Maine prior to 1800.
This resource would be a great conversation starter for a Social Studies class at many grade levels and allows us to formulate questions around our observations. What do you notice? What does that make you wonder? Do you see any patterns? What do you think causes those patterns? Does this information challenge any previous ideas you had about People of Color in Maine?
Vana Carmona is currently the Maine Community Research Director for Atlantic Black Box, an organization dedicated to the study of New England’s role in the global economy of enslavement. Her interest in African American history began eight years ago when she began her pursuit of information on people of color in Maine prior to 1800. They are now all part of The Prince Project, her database of over 1800 free and enslaved people living here through the post-Revolutionary period. A descendant of several early notable Maine families, Vana left the State after high school to indulge her wanderlust. Her journey took her abroad and then to Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she graduated with a BA in Italian and international studies. She went on to work for the Italian press for several years. This was followed by a “temporary” stay in Northern California that lasted 30 years. During that time, she raised her two daughters, rode her horses, developed her business, and eventually returned to college for an advanced degree. She holds a Masters in Liberal Arts from California State University Sacramento (CSUS) where she focused on Medieval History. Eleven years ago, she returned to her hometown of Portland, bringing her Los Angeles husband with her. Immediately she became involved in a number of local historic venues: Maine Historical, Portland Observatory and Eastern Cemetery.