Research studies demonstrate that racial diversity of students in schools leads to significant educational benefits including:

  • improvements in cognitive abilities, critical thinking, and self-confidence,
  • promoting cross-racial understanding and reduction of prejudice,
  • civic engagement and skills needed for leadership,
  • improved classroom environments.[1]

Maine now has the ability to capitalize on these possibilities with the growth of racial diversity in our schools.

Local Resources

The USM Intercultural Diversity Advisory Council (IDAC) has collaborated with the USM Libraries to collect educational resources on the subjects of anti-racism and identity from departments and programs at the University of Southern Maine. These materials are intended for use by anyone seeking to further their knowledge in these areas.

Holocaust and Human Rights Center 

The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine promotes universal respect for human rights through outreach and education. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other events past and present we encourage individuals and communities to reflect and act upon their moral responsibilities to confront prejudice, intolerance and discrimination.

Race, Power, and Difference Symposium Notes (March 2018)

The inaugural symposium, Race, Power, and Difference, was an opportunity for Maine educators to engage in conversations about our shared democratic values and the power of education to create pathways of opportunies for everyone. We used the lenses of race, power, and difference to incorporate different lived experiences and multiple perspectives that show how gender, location (rural/urban), socioeconomic status, race, and other factors impact diverse communities.

USM Sampson Center for Diversity

The University of Southern Maine’s Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine collects and makes accessible material documenting the ongoing histories of diverse communities. Current collections represent the African American, Jewish,  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ communities, and social justice for all. The Center promotes diversity and civil rights through research, education, and outreach.

Wabanaki Studies Planning Guide for Portland Educators

Compiled by Fiona Hopper, the Wabanaki Studies Planning Guide is a K-12 curriculum resource for teaching about Maine Native Peoples. 

Dawnland Signals

Dawnland Signals is a live monthly talk show holding space for critical conversations of Truth, Healing, and Change in the Dawnland. Highlighting Indigenous topics not immediately represented in mainstream media, the show features guests involved in various aspects of truth, healing, and change work in an effort to share, inspire, and inform. The show airs on the third Thursday of each month from 4:00 – 5:00 PM and is hosted by Executive Director Maria Girouard and volunteer Esther Anne. WERU archives episodes of Dawnland Signals, as linked above.

Land Acknowledgement Resources from Maine-Wabanaki REACH

This document from Maine-Wabanaki REACH provides a number of resources for teaching and learning about land acknowledgement. 

Maine Native Studies

This material represents a continuing collaborative effort between the four nations of the Wabanaki in Maine, Native and non-Native educators, the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission, the Maine Department of Education, and the University of Maine System. The document and resources are rooted in the early work of the Wabanaki Studies Commission established by the Maine Legislature in 2001. This website is designed to support K-12 Maine educators in integrating Maine Native Studies into existing curricula.  Resources included here are not comprehensive or definitive but rather represent high-quality materials that are widely available. They have been reviewed by cultural experts designated by Wabanaki Tribal leaders and by practicing Maine educators.

Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission 

Mandated by the 5 Wabanaki Chiefs and the Maine governor in 2012 to investigate what happened to Wabanaki people in state child welfare following the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978. Aims to promote healing and contribute to change in child welfare practices. From this work the Maine Wabanaki REACH was developed.

Maine-Wabanaki REACH

Maine-Wabanaki REACH advances Wabanaki self-determination by strengthening the cultural, spiritual and physical well-being of Native people in Maine. REACH (Restoration-Engagement-Advocacy-Change-Healing) began as a collaboration of state and tribal child welfare workers who knew from their work together that children, families, and communities need truth, healing and change. 

Upstander Project

Documentary film makers who developed Dawnland to document the Maine Wabanaki Child Welfare Commission, among other films to, “amplify silenced narratives, develop upstander skills to challenge systemic injustice, and nurture compassionate, courageous relationships that honor the interconnection of all beings and the Earth.”

Penobscot Nation Cultural & Historic Preservation

The Cultural and Historic Preservation Department and the Cultural and Historic Preservation Committee strive to promote and preserve traditional teachings, cultural awareness, and historical accuracy of the Penobscot people. The department and committee work to address the cultural needs of the Penobscot people in the areas of, but not limited to: language, history, education, museum, archaeology, and outreach. 

Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness

Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness’ (WPHW) mission is to provide community-driven, culturally centered public health and social services to all Wabanaki communities and people while honoring Wabanaki cultural knowledge, cultivating innovation, and fostering collaboration. 

Wabanaki Youth in Science (WaYS)

Part of the Native American Programs at the University of Maine, “this initiative looks at developing a long-term program to engage Wabanaki students (6-12 grades) through their cultural heritage and environmental legacy to encourage and promote persistence in sciences through college and into a career” (Native American Programs, 2021).

Franco-American Studies

This page serves as a resource guide for Franco-American Studies and was created by Franco-American specialists in Maine in partnership with the Maine Department of Education. The guide’s purpose is to assist K-12 teachers and students in locating available Franco-American resources about Maine and New England.

African-American Collection at USM’s Sampson Center

The mission of the African American Collection is as follows: to provide a repository for the collection and preservation of a variety of records documenting Maine’s African Americans; to emphasize the importance of such material; organize and catalog this material making it available to scholars, teachers, students of all ages, and the general public; to sponsor educational programs and exhibitions within and beyond the University of Southern Maine about Maine’s African American community and history; to generate scholarship; and, to work with other institutions in reaching the above goals.

Black Student Caucus (Maine Youth Action Network)

This April, MYAN is hosting a multi-day virtual caucus for Black Student Unions and Black students from across Maine. Each Saturday of the month (four events in total), Black youth in Maine will have the opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another and four incredible keynote speakers. 

Gerald Talbot Collection at USM

Gerald E. Talbot was the first African American to be elected to the Maine State Legislature. He served in the Maine House of Representatives from 1972 to 1978, and worked with the Maine chapter of the NAACP and the State Board of Education. He also took part in the struggle for civil rights in other parts of the country, as well as in Maine. The Collection includes Talbot’s personal papers, records of his term in the Maine House of Representatives, of his work with the NAACP in Maine and with the State Board of Education. The Collection contains books, serials, posters, artifacts, and photographs documenting African Americans in the United States, with an emphasis on Maine.

King Fellows

The Martin Luther King Jr. Fellows (Fellows) is a Youth-Led group with the mission to advance racial equity and social justice in the Greater Portland area. Based on the philosophy and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Fellows are dedicated to the elimination of all forms of oppression and structural racism that is historically rooted in our social, political, educational and economic systems. Believing that equity and justice offer both the pathway forward and the goal, the Fellows seek to foster dialogue-to-action efforts in their schools and communities with diverse stakeholders as well as create opportunities for students of color to participate in positive racial/ethnic development activities and personal well-being.

Maine DOE Resources for Teaching African American History Month

“February marks African American History Month and the Maine Department of Education has collected resources to help educators integrate African American history into the curriculum, not only this month but on a regular basis” (MDOE, 2022).

Malaga Island

Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) conserves and stewards Maine’s coastal lands and islands for their renowned scenic beauty, ecological value, outdoor recreational opportunities, and contribution to community well-being. MCHT provides statewide conservation leadership through its work with land trusts, coastal communities and other partners.

Maine Black Educators Collective (MBEC)

Maine Black Educators Collective (MBEC) is an initiative of Dr. Larissa Malone, assistant professor in the Teacher Education Department, School of Education and Human Development at USM. The mission of MBEC is to support Black educators in the state of Maine through educational opportunities and social-emotional connection.


The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

Portland Freedom Trail

This resource from outlines a self-guided walking tour of various sites in the state of Maine that were linked to resistance to slavery and the abolitionist movements. 

Racial Equity and Justice

Racial Equity and Justice supports Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Communities of Color for surviving and thriving with more, equality, justice, liberation, resources, safety, cultural wellness, healing, empowerment, and opportunities. In addition, Racial Equity and Justice offers consultatory advocacy services, and encourages parties to reach out directly about incidents of discrimination.

[1] Brief for American Educational Research Association, et al. as Amici Curiae Supporting Respondents, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, No. 11-345 (argued October 10, 2012).