Who is Black Girl in Maine?

Meet Shay

Black Girl in Maine, also known as BGIM for those who want to keep their typing-related finger stress down, is a Chicago-born, Chicago-raised chick by the name of Shay Stewart-Bouley who was forcibly relocated to Maine in 2002. (How else does a Black woman from Chicago end up in Maine?) I am a graduate of both DePaul University and Antioch University New England. Currently I earn my daily bread by working as the Executive Director of Community Change Inc., a 49-year-old civil rights organization in Boston, MA, that has been educating and organizing for racial equality since 1968 with a specific focus on the white problem. In 2003, I decided to test the waters of a childhood dream of writing and started producing pieces periodically for publications such as the Portland Press Herald and the Journal Tribune, later that year landing my own column in the Portland Phoenix, “Diverse-City,” which for over a decade I used to share insight and commentary monthly on a variety of diversity issues ranging from race to class, gender relations to sexual orientation, and workplace issues to lifestyle choices. In 2011, I won a New England Press Association Award for my work writing on diversity issues. I was the diversity writer for the short-lived Maine weekly DigPortland in 2015. After a two-year hiatus, I returned to the Portland Phoenix in early 2017.  My writing also has been featured in a variety of Maine and national publications as well as several anthologies. In November 2016, I gave a TEDx talked entitled Inequity, Injustice… Infection.

I started this site in 2008 as a way to blow off steam and frankly to connect with any other people of color who are in Maine or other Northern New England states, whether by choice or by unforeseen circumstances. After years of striving to be a blogger, the truth is I am a shitty blogger, but I am a solid writer and a strong storyteller. I am a child of the working class and now a supposed member of the middle class, and I like to write about race, class, social issues and sometimes even motherhood. My work is deeply influenced by the work of my childhood idol, Studs Terkel and I want to bring back the art of storytelling. In the end though,  I am big mouth with an opinion on any and everything. Oddly enough in December 2011 and December 2012, I was named to Babble’s Top 100 Mom Bloggers of 2011 and 2012; however, they saw the error of their ways and did not repeat that mistake for 2013, since I don’t quite fit the “mom blogger” mold.

Opinions expressed here are my personal opinions alone (or those of the contributors when it’s not my writing) and while many other people may share them, they should never be construed as the opinions of my current or past employers; any professional organizations with which I might be involved; nor anyone who may have contracted with me for consulting, writing or other services now or in the future. To be honest, some of my own opinions might not always be my opinions, as I continue to expand my knowledge and readjust my views of myself and the world.

Feel free to reach me by email blackgirlinmaine@gmail.com or drop me a line or whatever else, I rarely do reviews, but if the right item comes my way who knows…

Black Girl in Maine

c/o Shay Stewart-Bouley

P.O. Box 564

Saco, ME 04072 

52 thoughts on “Who is Black Girl in Maine?”

  1. This was so interesting. I live in one of the whitest cities in Michigan. Where do you get your hair done? Great blog.

  2. I saw the Melissa Harris-perry show which introduce me to your blog. How can a black woman in Detroit, mi start a blog?

  3. I stumbled upon your sight looking for homemakers in Maine. I’ve been a SAHM for about a year. I’m fumbling through how to be self sufficent, save money, & environmentally friendly (and remain sane). I can relate to your posts- well except the black part- I’m as pale as they get. But, I am opinionated and sometimes have a little trouble keeping my mouth shut. Anyhow, I love your candor & think you are a riot. So glad I stumbled upon your site- it brightened my day.

  4. Hi! I travel to Maine often for work and its definitely different. Currently, I’m in Bangor and I dined at Applebee’s and was the only minority. Weird. I caught people staring like I was an oddity. Lol. Usually, I am in Portland so this experience is odd.

  5. Decided to rent a cabin in Harpswell on Casco Bay. We love the view and the dogs love the freedom to run free. We stopped in town to pick up necessities and I noticed two men staring in our direction as we entered the (major chain grocery) store, as we went further down the aisle; they had now repositioned themselves so that they could watch us from the top of the aisle. As we continued to shop I passed them again hearing giggles. We live near Boston but my spouse and I are from different parts of the U.S. and we have traveled quite a bit before and after our marriage. I am always intrigued at how much attention we still garner.

  6. Stumbled upon your blog researching Maine vs North Carolina. Thinking about relocating to either of these states trying to determine if Maine is a good fit for a black woman from Chicago. Yes, I want some peace away from the craziness here in Chicago.

    Thanks for your post

  7. Hello: I recently had a co-worker buy property and retire in Maine and another bought property and plans to retire there. Both are married and are women. I have been considering relocating there after retirement as I love being near the water. However, I am not married and am wondering what your take is on being single and a woman of color in Maine?

  8. I moved to Maine a couple of months ago and yes I am black and also a foreigner. I had out of state plates for some time and I once had a group of white guys stick their tongue out at me as they drove past my car. I had a white female coworker in the car with me when this happened and she was very surprised. I haven’t had had any crazy incidents besides that but I have noticed stares, I must add that I have met some nice people as well.

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