Maine Maritime Museum
Maine Maritime Museum in Bath will open a new exhibit Thursday, “Cotton Town: Maine’s Economic Connections to Slavery” that reveals Maine’s complicated and long-buried connection to slavery.
Tess Chakkalakal, chair of the Africana Studies Department at Bowdoin College and author, and her Africana Studies students helped curate the exhibit. Chakkalakal said she hopes the display dispels the narrative that the North universally advocated for abolition, because the whole truth is messier than that.
“The idea is to complicate the story that we think we know,” said Chakkalakal. “The idea that the South and North were so disconnected is one that we want to shake up. The North and the South had more in common than we think they did.”
The exhibit includes newly discovered artifacts exposing the efforts of 19th-century Bath captains, merchants and shipbuilders to stifle abolition and protect the town’s economic interests in slavery, primarily through the cotton trade, according to a statement from the museum.
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