Founder & Executive Director
A writer, educator, and social entrepreneur, Meadow Dibble, Ph.D. has been serving as editor of The International Educator newspaper since 2014 and is currently a Visiting Scholar at Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. She received her Ph.D. from Brown’s Department of French with a focus on Postcolonial Studies and taught Francophone African literature at Colby College from 2005–08. Originally from Cape Cod, Meadow lived for six years on Senegal’s Cape Verde peninsula prior to pursuing her graduate studies, where she published a cultural magazine and coordinated foreign study programs. In 2016, she experienced a brutal awakening to the reality of her hometown’s deep investment in the global slave economy. In the years since, Meadow has been assiduously researching complicity among Cape Cod’s sea captains while developing The Atlantic Black Box Project.
Dr. Kate McMahon is a Museum Specialist at the National Museum of African American History & Culture and leads research efforts at the Center for the Study of Global Slavery. She received her B.A. in Art History and M.A. in American and New England Studies from the University of Southern Maine. She completed her Ph.D. in History at Howard University in 2017. Her dissertation was entitled The Transnational Dimensions of Africans and African Americans in Northern New England, 1776-1865. Her current research explores New England’s connections to and complicity in the illegal slave trade and colonialism, 1809-1900. She is committed to exploring the living legacies of slavery and the slave trade in the present day and interpreting this history for a broad public through frequent public speaking engagements and scholarly production.
Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara is Associate Professor of History in the Department Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on the experiences of Black people in French and British North America in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. She is particularly interested in retrieving the hidden and unexplored histories of African Americans in areas that historians have not sufficiently examined—small towns and cities in the North and Midwest. Dr. Clark-Pujara contends that the full dimensions of the African American and American experience cannot be appreciated without reference to how black people managed their lives in places where they were few. Her first book Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island examines how the business of slavery shaped the experience of slavery, the process of emancipation, and the realities of black freedom in Rhode Island from the colonial period through the American Civil War. Her current book project, From Slavery to Suffrage: Black on the Wisconsin Frontier, 1740 to 1866, will examine how the practice of race-based slavery, black settlement, and debates over abolition and black rights shaped white-black race relations in the Midwest.
Seth Goldstein, M.A. grew up on Cape Cod where he developed his passion for maritime history. He received his B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his master’s in World History from Northeastern University. His research interests include the historic North Atlantic fishery, global piracy, New England shipwrecks and lighthouses, the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the Vietnam War era counter culture. Seth has worked with Greater Portland Landmarks and The Portland Harbor Museum. He taught at the University of New England and at Southern Maine Community College before landing his current position at The Maine College of Art. He also provides guided historic walking tours of Portland’s Old Port neighborhood through his tour business Maine Street Tours. Seth sits on the board of the South Portland Historical Society and lives in South Portland with his wife and two daughters.
Director of Operations & Strategic Development
Emily Dietsch, Ph.D. is an Academic Consultant based in Washington, DC. She specialized in American Studies and Art History at Brown University, with an emphasis on critical race theory and social justice movements. She continued that work in her doctoral studies and teaching at The George Washington University. She has served as a leader for both the Rhode Island Treasury and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she honed an appreciation for collaborative learning design, and a strategic planning model that supports diversity and relationship-building. Currently she serves as an advisor and committee member for Brown’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice (CSSJ), and as Vice President of the Brown Club of DC, and writes about cultural analysis as an award-winning journalist. Her passion is connecting people and ideas for social progress. That includes producing lauded public programs with museums and research institutions in DC to foster conversations about the history and legacy of slavery, and forwarding the Atlantic Black Box Project’s mission to do the same.
Dustin Ward, M.Div. hails from Presque Isle, Maine, after being adopted as a 2-month-old from Melbourne, Florida. He graduated P.I. High School in ‘06 with his sights set on becoming a lawyer, landing him at the University of Southern Maine, where he achieved a B.S. in Political Science and a minor in Economics. This was where his desire and love for law, politics, and ethnic & racial studies grew. Upon graduating from USM in 2010, Dustin felt called to ministry work as a Pastor, seeking additional education at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, completing his Master of Divinity in the spring of 2019. Although Dustin has experienced many levels and aspects of racism from school, church, and other surroundings, the death of George Floyd, at the hands of police, sparked Dustin’s decision to step away from ministry and pursue racial equity and reconciliation work, which led him to found It Is Time….LLC. His focus is on being an advocate for his black and brown brothers and sisters in an effort to end systemic racism, and racism in all forms, within communities of Maine and New England.
Rachel Talbot Ross
Representative Rachel Talbot Ross is serving her third term in the Maine House, where she represents Portland’s District 40 and serves the Democratic caucus as Assistant House Majority Leader. She is the first and only Black woman elected to the Maine Legislature and to legislative leadership. As a lawmaker, Talbot Ross has worked extensively on justice reform and has shaped critical conversations about equity for all Mainers. She sponsored successful legislation to create Maine’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations, which she now chairs. In that role, she has led efforts to fundamentally shift the way lawmakers evaluate public policy by incorporating analysis on the impact of generational racial disparities and to address systemic racism. Talbot Ross also secured passage of a landmark bill expanding tribal legal authority over domestic violence against Native Americans. A ninth-generation Mainer and longtime public servant, Talbot Ross has dedicated her career to social justice. Prior to her time in the Legislature, she led the NAACP in Maine and founded several nonprofit organizations, including Maine Black Community Development, Inc., Maine Freedom Trails, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellows. She chaired the Maine State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for several years as well as the African American Collection of Maine housed at the University of Southern Maine.
Anne Farrow, M.A. is a career journalist who began exploring New England’s relationship with enslavement in 2002. What began as a newspaper assignment became a book, Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited from Slavery, written with two colleagues and published by a division of Random House in 2005. The research for that book led Anne to Sierra Leone, West Africa, to a deeper investigation of New England’s colonial past and to writing The Logbooks: Connecticut’s Slave Ships and Human Memory, published by Wesleyan University Press in 2014 and available through Project Muse. Slavery in colonial America has become the story at the center of Anne’s life. She has been a professional writer for 45 years and worked for New England newspapers for 30 years, most of that time at The Hartford Courant. Over the past two decades, she has assisted museums in the development of exhibitions designed to explore stories of New England slavery and racial injustice. She also assists scholars in preparing book manuscripts for publication. Anne is currently working with her husband to renovate their mid-18th century home in coastal Maine.
Daniel Minter is an American artist known for his work in the mediums of painting and assemblage. His overall body of work, often deals with themes of displacement and diaspora, ordinary/extraordinary blackness; spirituality in the Afro-Atlantic world; and the (re)creation of meanings of home. Minter works in varied media – canvas, wood, metal, paper. twine, rocks, nails, paint. This cross-fertilization strongly informs his creations and his sensibility. His carvings become assemblages. His paintings are often sculptural. Minter’s work has been featured in numerous institutions and galleries including the Portland Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Bates College, University of Southern Maine, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, The David C. Driskell Center and the Northwest African American Art Museum. For the past 15 years Minter has raised awareness of the forced removal in 1912 of an interracial community on Maine’s Malaga Island. His formative work on the subject of Malaga emerges from Minter’s engagement with the island, its descendants, archeologists, anthropologists and scholars. As founding director of Maine Freedom Trails, he has helped highlight the history of the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement in New England. This dedication to righting history was pivotal in having the island designated a public preserve. In 2019, Minter co-founded Indigo Arts Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to cultivating the artistic development of people of African descent. In this same year, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by The Maine College of Art.
Kate Shuster, Ph.D. is Manager of Research & Evaluation at the Center for Anti-Racist Education. Kate is originally from New Mexico. In high school, college, and graduate school she participated actively in intercollegiate policy debate as a competitor, coach and educator – in 1992, she was only the second woman to win the college national debate championship. For the next 20 years, she traveled the world building debate programs across the country and in dozens of countries, training thousands of teachers, writing a dozen books and teaching at several universities. This spurred her lifelong interest to think critically about effective pedagogy, how it is measured, and who gets to decide what counts as evidence. Kate holds a Ph.D. in Educational Studies from Claremont Graduate University with twin emphases in educational policy and research methods. She has worked as an independent research and evaluation consultant for most of her life, working with large and small data sets to investigate questions of equity with advanced research methodology. Most recently, she managed the Teaching Hard History initiative for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance initiative and led an interdisciplinary team that created the world’s first K-12 framework for teaching the twin histories of slavery and settler colonialism in what is currently known as the United States.
William D. Adams
William D. Adams, Ph.D. was the 10th Chair of the National Endowment of the Humanities from 2014-2017. In that capacity, he initiated several new grantmaking programs under the banner of The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square. On leaving NEH, Adams was named a Senior Fellow at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where he continued his national advocacy on behalf of the humanities. Before NEH, Adams served as President of Colby College from 2000-2014, President of Bucknell University from 1995-2000, and Vice President and Secretary of Wesleyan University from 1988-1995. He taught political philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and at Santa Clara University, and coordinated the Great Works in Western Culture Program at Stanford University. Adams received his Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his B.A. in philosophy from the Colorado College. He is currently working on a book about the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty and the painter Paul Cézanne.
Maine Community Research Director
Vana Carmona, M.A. is the founder of The Prince Project, a database of over 1,700 people of color who lived in Maine prior to 1800. She is a docent and guide for several historic sites in the Portland area, including Maine Historical Society and Spirits Alive (Eastern Cemetery). She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and completed her Masters in Medieval History at California State University–Sacramento. She is descended from a number of early European settlers, with the first of these arriving in New England in 1620 and moving into Maine in 1633.