Maine State Representative Talbot Ross’s statement marking the first Federal Juneteenth

AUGUSTA – In recognition of Juneteenth, Assistant House Majority Leader Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, has released the following statement:

“Juneteenth is an American holiday, an Independence Day. It is not only a day to celebrate those who fought for freedom and our collective liberation, it is a day to confront our nation’s true history. Just a week before President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday, a bill I proudly sponsored to establish Juneteenth as a paid state holiday was signed into law. When I submitted that legislation, I felt the weight of my ancestors and all those who came before me asking to be valued and seen as human beings. I knew it to be part of our quest for self-determination and human rights. Forty-eight years ago, my father, the Honorable Gerald E. Talbot, put in a bill to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday, and reintroduced that legislation three consecutive times, each term he was in office. Maine eventually passed the bill four years before it became a federal holiday in 1983. I am proud that, with Juneteenth, Maine was once again able to lead in recognizing such important history.”

Juneteenth memorializes June 19, 1865, the date when Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced the freedom of all enslaved people. Juneteenth was celebrated as early as the next year, 1866. Granger’s announcement in 1865 came a full two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Despite President Lincoln’s executive action, slavery did not end right away and liberation occurred with the forward movement of the Union Army. The Juneteenth holiday celebrates all people’s emancipation from slavery in the United States. 

In addition to her bill establishing Juneteenth as a paid state holiday, Talbot Ross has sponsored successful legislation to create Maine’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations, which she now chairs. In that role, she has led efforts to fundamentally shift the way lawmakers evaluate public policy by incorporating analysis on the impact of generational racial disparities and to address systemic racism. Talbot Ross’ bill to require the Maine State Legislature to evaluate the racial impact of pending legislation was signed into law earlier this year. This week, Talbot Ross’ bill to preserve fair housing in Maine became law, strengthening protections against housing discrimination. On Wednesday, Talbot Ross’ bill requiring Maine schools to teach African American studies was passed into law. 

“Making Juneteenth a state holiday is just one part of a movement happening here in Maine,” added Talbot Ross. “My colleagues in the Maine House have passed bills this session to advance climate justice, reduce incarceration, hold police accountable, expand housing opportunities, address health disparities and so much more. Racial justice must be pursued in every facet of public policy, and we have lots of work left ahead of us.”

Talbot Ross is in her third term in the Maine House, representing part of Portland, and serves as assistant House majority leader. A ninth-generation Mainer and longtime public servant, Talbot Ross has dedicated her career to social justice. Prior to her time in the Legislature, she led the NAACP in Maine and founded several nonprofit organizations, including Maine Black Community Development, Inc., Maine Freedom Trails, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellows. She chaired the Maine State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for several years as well as the African American Collection of Maine housed at the University of Southern Maine.

Insights Literary/Art Journal debuts

Welcome to the Solon Center for Research and Publishing‘s first issue of Insights Literary/Art Journal. Stories from authors published and unpublished will debut here. Original art will accompany the stories. The journal will be published online bimonthly.

Most literary journals don’t have much art. We believe combining the two is the best way to make each medium come to life, which enhances the viewer’s/reader’s experience.

We’ll host contests, working with Gallery Fukurou, of Rockland, Maine.

ISSUE 1 includes six short stories with art from COASTAL MAINE IN WORDS AND ART and other books, sutras of philosophical dimensions, a memoir from a boat builder’s WINTER APPRENTICE, two children’s poems, and two Maine based serialized novels of intrigue and insights.


We invite you to submit short stories centered around a photographic art piece.

  • This bimonthly contest, 300- 800 words, allows you to write about anything you wish – as long as the artwork is your central focus. Due by the 22nd before the next publication. So, for this May issue the deadline is June 22. GO HERE.

  • The bimonthly 800-1,200 word story contest is our climate change challenge. The evidence is in, we are in a climate crisis. Stories have to be inspired by an art piece that revolves around a climate issue and a solution to that issue. Due by the 26th before the next publication. So, for this May issue the deadline is June 26th. GO HERE.

This issue’s short story writers highlighted:

The first chapters of novels:

Enjoy reading. We hope the stories and art inspire your creativity.

Insights Literary/Art Journal

Next May, the Solon Center for Research and Publishing will announce its first literary/art journal. Stories from authors published and unpublished will debut here. Original art will accompany the stories. Working with Maine Insights Newsmagazine some of the stories will be reprinted there.

Most literary journals don’t have much art. The Solon Center believes combining the two is the best way to make each medium come to life, which enhances the viewers/readers experience.

The Solon Center for Research and Publishing will host contests and exhibits that come from the work of Insights Literary/Art Journal, working with Gallery Fukurou, of Rockland, Maine and Polar Bear & Company  Stay tuned!

Soto’s Song – a mystical journey with photographic art


Soto’s Song:

By Dave Kroner. Photographic art by Ramona du Houx.

Travel with Soto on his mystical journey through an imagined reality, where he gains perspective and listens to the wisdom in the air, water, fire and earth. Embraced by nature he is able to find truth within himself in his song. With that reality Soto’s loneliness dissipates as he is able to live in the present, without worrying about the past or the future.

The quality printed art book of 22 images retails for $20.00, which includes shipping inside the U.S.A. ISBN: 978-1-882190-90-4. First print edition, first printing 2021.

The book will be available online for the public to read, as per request of the author and artist.

When Gallery Fukurou reopens in Rockland, Maine, after the pandemic, we will host a reception that accompanies an exhibit/book-signing. Stay tuned and stay hopeful for the future!

The Maine Humanities Council, along with a generous donation from a member of the public, made this project possible.