Applied Research in History

Incorporation of the distinctive human and natural resources of Downeast Maine provides a combination of both theory and practice in some courses. A specific example is the opportunity for History, English, and Anthropology students to participate in the previously study of the lost African-American settlement known as the Atusville District in Machias, Maine.

History Professor Kay Kimball, English Professor Marcus LiBrizzi, and Anthropology Professor Mike Kimball have been studying this local Revolutionary War-era African-American community.

Students in Dr. Kay Kimball's Maine and Local History class gathered and examined area newspaper accounts and archival material related to the African-American presence in Maine and Atusville community, and conducted oral interviews.

Dr. LiBrizzi's students in his American Literature class collected and analyzed oral and written histories of Atusville and worked with a local middle school to produce a social studies exhibit.

Dr. Michael J. Kimball's students conducted a systematic, nondestructive, transect-based archeological survey, aided by Dr. Daniel Belknap, professor of geology at the University of Maine (Orono), by using ground-penetrating radar to detect burial locations.

Professors Kimball, LiBrizzi and Kimball have dedicated a plaque commemorating the location. Professors Kimball and Kimball have presented their findings at historical society meetings and Professor LiBrizzi has put their research into the context of folklore: “Recovering a Lost African-American Community: Literary and Folklore Studies in the Service of History,” which was presented at the Humanities Conference for Northern New England in the Nineteenth Century.

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