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The University of Southern Maine’s Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine collects material documenting the ongoing histories of diverse communities. Current collections represent the African American, LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities. The Sampson Center’s Judaica Collection preserves the history of the Jewish communities in Maine by collecting material produced or collected by organizations and individuals. The Center was named after Jean Byers Sampson to honor her life-long work for diversity, civil rights and liberties, and academic freedom. Before Sampson moved to Maine in 1952, she had worked for the NAACP in New York, researching and writing a report on African Americans in the military. Her 1947 report was circulated in government offices and helped lead to the desegregation of the armed forces. Her experience helped to found the Central Maine branch of the NAACP where she served as president during the 1960s. Sampson also served on the Maine Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission which did several studies on discrimination in rental housing in Maine. Sampson was Executive Director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union in the late seventies. The initial collection of books, papers and artifacts was donated by another local civil rights leader, the first president of the NAACP’s Portland branch, Gerald Talbot. Museums and libraries devoted to individual cultures aren’t unusual. But the Sampson Center’s three collections represent an unusual combination. Susie Bock, Director of the Sampson Center, said she’s not aware of any similar trio. “What’s neat about the collections is that you wouldn’t think there would be ties among these communities, but there are,” she said. “Often one group that does not have power finds an ally in another.” #jewishmaine #dmjpartner #usm #mclu #bangordailynews

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Thank you to DMJ for the video
Links to People:
    :  Jean Byers Sampson ;

Related organizations:
  Central Maine branch of the NAACP;  USM Jean Byer Sampson Center;