On a recent gray day in Portland, a small group of people gathers at a garage to open a box they’ve waited years to see.
It’s a late chapter in a saga that began more than two centuries ago, a story of justice twice denied — or at least delayed — for an African-American Mainer.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
William Brown was likely born a slave in Maryland, but he later settled in Portland, which was then a part of Massachusetts. In 1799, when Brown was barely an adolescent, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and he played a role in its first major victory. It started with a hot trade dispute with France that became known as the Quasi-War.