Skip to Main Content

Celebrating Maine's Black History

Throughout the month of February, the Maine Celtics will honor and recognize Maine's rich Black history in a variety of ways.

The Uniforms

On Feb. 2, 2024, the Maine Celtics partnered with Unum to host "Maine Black History Night" at the Portland Expo. The team wore special uniforms for the game, with the design paying tribute to Maine's role in the Underground Railroad.

"The Maine Celtics hope to use our platform to shed light on our state's history, and some of the great people that make Maine a great place to live," said Maine Celtics Team President Dajuan Eubanks.

The uniforms were designed by Eamon White, a local Black artist.

Proceeds from the night's 50/50 raffle went to benefit benefit the Indigo Arts Alliance, a local nonprofit organization committed to providing Maine-based artists of African descent access to a broader range of practicing artists of color from around the world.

“It is wonderful to be joining our long-time partner, the Maine Celtics, for a special evening that celebrates the contributions of Black history in Maine,” said Cary Olson Cartwright, assistant vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility at Unum. “The jerseys, which Mr. White created for tonight’s game, are also an incredible visual reminder of the impact that this history, the arts, and our community partner, the Indigo Arts Alliance, make in our community.”

Representatives from the Indigo Arts Alliance were on hand for the game

Recognizing Maine's Black Community Members

At our home games in February, the Maine Celtics will recognize local Black leaders and influential people within our communities.

Bob Greene

At least the eighth generation of his family to be born in Cumberland County, Maine, Bob Greene has been busy as a genealogist, historian and government contract employee since he retired from The Associated Press. Following stays at two black newspapers – the Hoosier Herald in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the Kansas City Call – he became sports editor of a daily newspaper in Leavenworth, Kansas. That led to his joining The Associated Press in Kansas City. He also worked for The AP in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Washington, DC; Portland, Maine, and New York Sports. In 1980, he was named The AP’s Tennis Writer, a post that enabled him to travel to Europe, Africa and Asia. After a 36-year career with The AP, Bob retired in 2001 and moved back to his beloved Maine. His genealogical search has led him to become the foremost expert in the Black history of Maine, a subject he teaches at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Southern Maine.

Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson has more than 50 years of experience in education, public service and athletic coaching. He served in the Peace Corps in Thailand in the 1960s and then worked as a language arts and history teacher for over 20 years. Wilson also coached football and wrestling at Dexter High School and the University of Maine, Orono, and was inducted into the Maine Wrestling Association Hall of Fame and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. Tim has been appointed by three Maine Governors to posts including Chair of the Maine Human Rights Commission. He currently serves as Senior Advisor to Seeds of Peace, an organization that he has been with since its founding in 1993, and is Director of Seeds of Peace's Maine Programs. 

Leonard Cummings

Born and raised in Portland, Leonard Cummings is the former President of the Portland NAACP, a Founder of Maine Association For Black Progress, a member of the State of Maine Black Caucus, and lobbied for the legislation of Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in Maine.

Leonard and his wife, Mary Jane, developed the first annual MLK breakfast. He is also the owner of The Bridge, a black owned and operated newspaper. Leonard researched, co-created, and published the information since used to create the Portland Freedom Trail. Today, Cummings is Vice President and a founding board member for The Abyssinian Meetinghouse. He is married to MaryJane Hill for 68 years and has 4 children, 8 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild.

Joan White

Joan White worked with us for 10 years.  Joan is the last living model of the Ogunquit School of Painting and Sculpture.  She began modeling there in 1943 for the cousin of Norman Rockwell.  She spent her childhood summers in Ogunquit where her mother managed two residences. It was there she became spellbound with Maine and its people. She has been embraced by the Ogunquit community as not only Black American kid in the Ogunquit Village school during those years, but still today.  She began lobstering at the age of 7 in Perkins Cove of Ogunquit. White modeled for many famous artists between Maine and Pennsylvania where she posed for classes at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, Moore College of Art and at Cooper Union in New York. She was the first woman on the Special State Police Force of Harvard University which served many towns that housed Harvard property including Cambridge and Boston. She studied under and worked for the great poet and educator, Maya Angelou for 11 years. Most recently, Joan has been inducted into the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 01, South Portland, this past October.  

Gerald E. Talbot

Gerald E. Talbot is an eighth generation Mainer who was born in Bangor and settled in Portland with his wife and three daughters.

Jerry became a passionate advocate for civil and human rights on the local, state, and national levels. He was one of a handful of Mainers to participate in the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his ‘I have a dream’ speech. Talbot also was the first president of the Portland chapter of the NAACP.

Jerry became the first African American legislator in State of Maine history, addressing a variety of societal issues and helping make Maine a better place to live.

Talbot has gone all over the state to promote African American education. Much of his work is now permanently at the University of Southern Maine to help teach African American history and make it accessible to all. The Gerald E. Talbot Collection serves as the foundation of the African American Collection of Maine.