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Liberating Visions: Religion and the Challenge of Change in Maine, 1820 to the Present. Each of the Sampson Center’s three scholars has crafted an original essay related to one of the Sampson Center collections—African-American, Judaic, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender—thereby reflecting on how religious institutions have fostered minority identity and have framed social and cultural transformation.

Table of Contents:

Religion and Transformation (Joseph S. Wood, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs)

Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine Programming (Susie Bock, Director, Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine and Head, USM Special Collections)

The African American Collection
“There’s a Blessing in Pressing:” Change in Maine’s African American Churches (Maureen Elgersman Lee, Associate Professor of History and Faculty Scholar for USM’s African American Collection)

The Judaica Collection
“Orthodox and Yet thoroughly Liberal:” Jews and Judaism in Maine Between Tradition and Change (Abraham J. Peck, Director, Academic Council for Post-Holocaust Christian, Jewish, and Islamic Studies and Scholar-in-residence for USM’s Judaica Collection)

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Collection
Coming Out, Going In: Spirituality and Religion in Maine’s LGBT Communities (Howard M. Solomon, Adjunct Professor of History and Scholar-in-Residence for USM’s LGBT Collection)

Publication Date



Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity at the University of Southern Maine


Portland, Maine


Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity, University of Southern Maine, African American, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Judaica, Religion, Abyssinian Church, AME Zion, Church of God in Christ, Congregation Beth Judah, Conservative Judaism, Interracial Fellowship of America, LGBT and Religion, Wilde-Stein Club, ociety of Friends (Quaker)


African American Studies | American Studies | History | Jewish Studies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Religion