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Maine Voices: Portland Public Library committed to welcoming you back safely

posted: , by Heather Wasklewicz
tags: Adults | Teens | Parents & Teachers | Kids & Families | Discover Portland | Seniors




We’re offering a popular no-contact pickup service, we’re seeking submissions for a COVID archive and we’ll soon eliminate overdue fines.


posted: , by Raminta Moore
tags: Adults | Seniors | Art & Culture | Genealogy
image scan of the Emancipation Proclamation

Emancipation Proclamation. Lithograph by L. Lipman, Milwaukee, Wisc., Feb. 26, 1864. Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.


Today marks the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, on June 19th, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger led Union soldiers into Galveston, Texas, with the news that the War was over and slavery was abolished. According to Juneteenth.com, there are several guesses as to why the two year delay. Some speculate, that the messenger carrying the notice from the Federal government was murdered. Another theory assumes, that the information was withheld by slave owners hoping to continue to have labor for their cotton harvests.

Pres. Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the people of Texas, since there were few Union troops around at the time to enforce it. But, with the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee in April 1865 and the arrival of Gen. Gordon Granger’s regiment in Galveston, troops were finally strong enough to enforce the executive order. Newly freed men rejoiced, originating the annual “Juneteenth” celebration, which commemorates the freeing of the slaves in Texas.

Although Juneteenth has been informally celebrated each year since 1865, it wasn’t until June 3, 1979, that Texas became the first state to proclaim Juneteenth an official state holiday.

Photo of Uncle Billy McCrew, freed slave

Billy McCrea, a former slave who remembered the Union troops coming into Texas in 1865 and being told that he was free. Photo by Ruby Terrill Lomax, September 30, 1940.

Currently only Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana are the only states that do not celebrate Juneteenth.

Juneteenth Resources and Local Events:


  • PPL resources regarding Juneteenth and Emancipation.
  • For a list of African American parks from the National Parks Service, please click here.
  • For recordings of former Texas slaves, please click here.
  • For African American Culture in Maine, please click here.
  • For information on African American genealogy from the Library of Congress, please click here.
  • The Freedmen’s Bureau Project has compiled nearly 1.8 million records of men, women and children, searchable online. To use this database to find your African American ancestry, please click here.
  • For the “resolution recognizing the historical significance of Juneteenth Independence Day and expressing the sense of the Senate that history should be regarded as a means for understanding the past and solving the challenges of the future” by the 111th US Congress, please click here.
  • For the African American Biographical Database, collecting information on African Americans from 1790 – 1950, please click here.



  • Juneteenth! with Janaesound, Rodney Mashia, B. Aull, Abdul Ali
    Fri, June 19, 2020, State Theatre Facebook   Doors: 8:00pm – Show: 8:00pm – all ages
  • The third and final installment in Maine Inside Out’s outdoor June performance series is a recognition and celebration of Juneteenth in Portland’s Congress Square Park. Hosted by the MIO Portland group, the event will feature the final performance of MIO’s original play “Unspoken Truth” along with original artwork created in partnership with the Maine Center for Electronic Music. Please come join us for the final performance of this powerful, bold play.
  • The Slave Liberation Project, Installation by Hi Tiger in honor of Juneteenth
    Friday, June 19th, 5:30 – 7:30 Engine, 163 Main Street, Biddeford
  • The National Museum of African American History & Culture’s virtual event, Juneteenth: A Celebration Of Resilience

Poetry 2020: “Homie” by Danez Smith

posted: , by Elizabeth
tags: Library Collections | Recommended Reads | Adults | Seniors | Readers Writers

Poet Danez Smith sings out poems of love and intimacy in their 2020 collection Homie. In the poem “my president” they affirm all those who are their people, supporting their mama for president and their grandma for president and trans girls for president and teachers and birds and neighbors who hold the door open for them when their arms are full of laundry and the dude at the pizza spot and the children who they’d elect too, like “jonathan, eleven /…blog writer, young genius, community activist, curls tight / as pinky swears, black as my nation i trust the world in his tender / blooming hands, i trust him to tell us which rivers are safe to drink / & which hold fish like a promise.”

There’s a whole Danez Smith world in this book, a world’s expanse of observation and feeling, life and motion, elegy and ode, and the nation they create in these verses is for their beloved friends, their fam. They call their loves. The morning is a soft shawl. Texts arrive at just the right time. Trees are slow green explosions. Their anthem is mighty.

An exerpt from a poem by Danez Smith

















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