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Discussion of The Underground Railroad in Coastal Maine set for Feb. 16

Feb 05, 2020
Eileen Kurtis-Kleinman will discuss “Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad Along the Coast of Maine” at the Camden library Feb. 16.

Camden — Eileen Kurtis-Kleinman will present a talk on “Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad Along the Coast of Maine” Sunday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. at the Camden Public Library. Author and educator Kurtis-Kleinman will discuss colonial Maine’s slaveholders, Maine’s population of free Blacks and fugitive slaves, the strong ties Maine maintained with the South, the rise of abolitionism along the coast and Maine’s role in both the slave trade and the Underground Railroad.

The Missouri Compromise of 1820 is often described as an agreement that allowed Maine to join the Union as a free state and Missouri as a slave state, thus maintaining a balance of power between North and South; but the simplicity of the description belies the fraught complexity underlying that moment. In numerous ways, the growth of Maine’s coastal villages, towns, and cities before and throughout the Civil War reflects many — often conflicting — economic, social, and political issues faced by the nation as a whole.

Kurtis-Kleinman’s articles and books include “Life on an African Slave Ship,” which she co-authored with her husband, Joseph Kleinman, who teaches History at the Watershed School. A resident of Camden, Kurtis-Kleinman is on the board of the Camden-Rockport Historical Society and a member of the Camden Historic Resources Committee. This program is presented in partnership with the Camden-Rockport Historical Society.

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Pictured is Mrs. Seneca Palmer -- mentioned in Eileen Kurtis-Kleinman's lecture -- photographed between 1870 and 1890 at a studio on Elm Street in Camden.
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