Lessons in Hard History: A Keynote Presentation with Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries & Panel Featuring ACLU of Maine

June 14, 2024 @ 6:00 pm
@ 8:00 pm

Join us for a keynote from Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries on the lessons in hard history, followed by a panel of Maine experts discussing efforts to confront our home's hard history.

Efforts to whitewash our history and censor what students can learn have intensified over the past few years. Now is the time to take stock of where we have been so we have a clear-eyed path forward together.


Keynote address: Lessons in Hard History

In this keynote address, Dr. Jeffries will explore America’s distaste for Hard History and preference for nostalgia. He will also highlight critical lessons about racism and democracy that can be learned from confronting Hard History directly.

Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries is an African American History scholar and professor at The Ohio State University. He is also a board member at the ACLU of Ohio and the co-host of the Southern Poverty Law Center's 'Teaching Hard History' podcast.

As a state and country, we must learn the full context of the past and present to make informed decisions about the future. This includes understanding the colonization that led to the creation of the place we now call Maine, and the genocide, oppression, and attempted erasure of the Wabanaki. It also includes the role of many prominent Mainers in the slave trade, and the many contributions that Wabanaki and African American people have made and continue to make to this place that we all call home.

Panel Discussion

Following his keynote address, Dr. Jeffries will join a panel to discuss the challenges of teaching hard history and the next steps we can take in Maine.


  • Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries, The Ohio State University and ACLU of Ohio
  • Rachel Talbot Ross, Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives
  • Meagan Sway, Policy Director, ACLU of Maine
  • Fiona Hopper, Social Studies Teacher Leader and Wabanaki and Africana Studies Coordinator, Portland Public Schools
  • Brianne Lolar, Panawahpskek citizen and Wabanaki Studies Specialist, Maine Department of Education
  • Moderated by: Libby Bischoff, Executive Director of the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education, Professor of History at the University of Southern Maine

The state of Wabanaki Studies

Read more about the state of Maine’s law requiring the teaching of Wabanaki studies in a 2022 report we co-authored here, and our recent efforts to ensure Maine schools comply with laws requiring the teaching of African American and Wabanaki Studies here.

The ACLU of Maine is cosponsoring this event and is participating in the panel discussion. This event is hosted by Atlantic Black Box, a non-profit helping people reckon "with our region’s complicity in colonization, the slave trade, and the global economy of enslavement," is hosting Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries for a keynote on confronting and teaching difficult history.

See more details and register via Atlantic Black Box.


Reception with light snacks
6:30 – 6:35
6:35 – 6:40
Honoring Kate Shuster
6:40 – 6:45
Introduction from Rachel Talbot Ross, Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives
6:45 – 7:15
Keynote address from Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries
7:15 – 7:40
Panel Discussion featuring ACLU of Maine and education experts
7:40 – 7:55
Q & A
7:55 – 8:00
Closing remarks