In January and February 2021, Atlantic Black Box and the Indigo Arts Alliance will convene two public conversations related to memory, art, place, and race supported by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council. This pair of events will feature panelists from around New England who have developed site-specific projects aimed at making Black history and heritage visible in the built environment and at promoting place-based literacy through the lens of racial history.

New England has long repressed the memory of its complicity in Atlantic world slavery, just as it has suppressed the stories of the region’s free and enslaved Black and Indigenous populations. These glaring omissions perpetuate historical harms. In plotting a course toward a more equitable future, we are going to need a better map. Remapping New England is a historical recovery project aimed at inscribing these effaced narratives both in the built environment and on a dynamic digital landscape in an effort to re-member our communities in all their diversity and shift public consciousness toward truth.

The inaugural event in the series, “Remapping New England: Monuments, Markers, and Collective Memory,” will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, on zoom. Dr. Kate McMahon of the Center for the Study of Global Slavery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will moderate a conversation about public memory and representation with the following panelists: Representative Rachel Talbot Ross, Portland Freedom Trail (Maine); Charles Roberts, Rhode Island Slave History Medallions  (Rhode Island); JerriAnne Boggis, Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire (New Hampshire); and Dennis Culliton, Witness Stones Project (Connecticut).

The second event in the Remapping New England series is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23. Artist Daniel Minter of Indigo Arts Alliance will moderate a panel discussion about the role of art in truth, reconciliation, and reparations movements.

Registration is required for these events. To register, visit atlanticblackbox.com/events.

Indigo Arts Alliance connects Black and Brown artists from around the world with Maine’s artists of African descent through a multidisciplinary artist-in-residency program that embodies a Black-led approach to creativity, community-building, and mentoring. Indigo Arts Alliance is located at 60 Cove St., Portland.

For more information, visit indigoartsalliance.me.

Atlantic Black Box is a public history project that supports individuals and institutions in researching and reckoning with New England’s role in the Atlantic world slave economy. For more information, visit atlanticblackbox.com.

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