Brunswick — In anticipation of Maine’s Bicentennial in 2020, Pejepscot Historical Society and the Longfellow Days program, a month-long series of events in Brunswick honoring the legacy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, are co-sponsoring a presentation on the roots of statehood by University of Maine Professor of History Liam Riordan. 

The free talk and slideshow takes place on Friday, February 8, at 6:30PM, at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 1 Middle Street in Brunswick. A snow date has been set for Saturday, February 9, at 6:30PM. 

“Bicentennial Beginnings: Setting the Stage for Statehood” delves deeply into four issues that impacted the separation of Maine from Massachusetts in 1820, and that have impacted Maine’s history ever since: the “two Maines” and sharp partisan conflict; race, slavery, and the Maine-Missouri crisis; Wabanaki sovereignty; and the international border between Maine and Canada. 

Riordan will highlight Brunswick’s role as the site of the earliest convention to discuss statehood, as well as the Longfellow family’s close ties to the origins of statehood, including Henry’s father’s role in crafting the Maine Constitution. 

Riordan is an early American historian specializing in the broad Revolutionary era and has been a faculty member at UMaine since 1997. He helped create UMaine’s McGillicudy Humanities Center in 2010, and was instrumental in bringing Maine National History Day to the UMaine campus. 

He has led community discussions about the roots of statehood and the upcoming Bicentennial throughout Maine. He is currently organizing a public conference to commemorate the Bicentennial to be held May 31-June 1, 2019, at the University of Maine in Orono. The event includes a venue for presentations by students, and displays by cultural organizations. For more information visit: 

The State of Maine Bicentennial Commission, with the tagline, “Leading the Way,” is working on a statewide series of initiatives for 2019-2020. More information can be found at 

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