Black Life in Maine


Having lived in Maine since 2002, moving to Maine from a large city will most likely be a jolt to your system but you can survive it. That said, Maine’s current governor has made it clear that he does not see people of color as full Mainers and assumes the majority us to be miscreants coming to destroy the good people of Maine.

Maine does not have a geographic community where you will find people of color , we are found all over the state though most of us tend to be in larger cities such as Portland or Lewiston. If you are considering a move to Maine, I would strongly encourage you to spend some time here before loading up the moving truck.

Practical Stuff- Hair

If I had a buck for every email I have ever seen asking about Black hair salons in Maine, I might actually be able to afford a vacation. In Southern Maine, there are two known Black salons that I have had experiences with.

Blended Beauty-Westbrook, ME (207) 591-5900 My suggestion is see Trish, she has amazing braiding skills and does locs as well as relaxers. I haven’t seen her in over a year but if she is still there, I highly recommend her. Nope, they don’t have a website.

Toni’s Touch- Portland, ME (207) 747-4885 I highly recommend Tonya. She is a hair goddess and I don’t say that lightly. 

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98 thoughts on “Black Life in Maine”

  1. I am not black. So I understand from the get go that I can’t know things from the black point of view. But I would like to take up for Texas. I LIVE IN Houston…now we Houstonians who are white dont feel comfortable in Dallas…the elite snooty black suit and white shrt with cuffs and links showing is totally different from the Houston vibe. THE BLACKS I see here seem to be happy and successful. I go to the largest Methodist Church in Texas and we have a pretty decent black membership..we’ve also had several black ministers. I SEE YOUNG black men in in all the well attended sports bars and hot spots around town sitting comfortably with their young white friends.. We’ve had two black mayors, and a gay female one. People live where they can afford to live and there are blacks in every neighborhood..I assume they are happy but that’s the part I can’t know.

  2. What about Farmington Maine?
    Considering a job there (in healthcare). It looks like a very small town, less than 0.2% black

    • I would be very cautious about living out outside of the greater Portland area. I spent over a decade in York County which is south of the Portland area and it was a challenge. That said, you might like the area. My best advice is to visit and get a feel of things.

  3. Any updates on the Black hair care scene? We’ve lived here in Scarborough Maine for a little over a year. My husband is mixed race and every haircut he’s gotten around here has been horrible. It’s not just that the haircuts are bad, but the barbers say whatever weird offensive racist thing comes to mind while doing his hair. They keep threatening/begging to shave his hair off completely, because as they’ve said “you can’t do anything with an Afro”.

    • Sarah there is a place called Toni’s Touch where there are barbers and black hairstylist. It’s on Forest Ave. in Portland. They have a gallery on their website and Facebook page.

    • Toni’s Touch on Forest Avenue. I would highly recommend seeing Tonya, she was at another salon and I have followed her to Toni’s. She does excellent work.

  4. Ismael, I am not sure where the Islamic center is. I am Christian, I am pretty sure you can look it up on-line. Best of luck.

  5. I think I have to comment about Becky’s hair.

    First, as I read the post, I was thinking throughout “She is 11, she is 11.”
    That is such an incredibly hard age to deal with all issues of how a girl
    presents herself to the world. Her body is starting to change in so many
    ways. She is more fully aware of the images that the world, and
    particularly her peers, seem to value for young black people, and for
    females. It is a time fraught with pain and expectations.

    I hope I am reading this correctly. Because your daughter, as you
    describe her here, seem to have fully embraced her hair as it is. In
    fact, by loving it long is she not putting it fully out there to the
    world and saying “here I am.”

    Harder for her deal with? No doubt. But a threat to her sense of
    self-worth? Somehow what you described to me was an emerging young woman
    who in fact has embraced herself in a way that we don’t often see at that
    age. If perhaps I’m right–then good for you for raising your child in
    a very challenging time and place to love her hair exactly as it is.

  6. Hello,
    Thank you for blogging about this subject. I’ve been searching for another minority’s take about living here dealing with intolerance. I recently moved to Maine with my wife about 2 months ago from California. I’m a minority (Mexican decent). I’m enjoying the beauty and friendliness of some people here so far, but recently I have been experiencing a lot of prejudice attitude toward me by Caucasians here (a lot of dirty looks when I’m with my Caucasian wife, have had store security called on me for watching my Caucasian niece at Macy’s, rude attitude by many employees at cafes, stores, etc). I’ve also witnessed some rude store employees dealing with black customers. I’m no stranger to this type of disgusting attitude and I’m learning more about the problems plaguing this state (an ignorant governor & a growing drug problem). I understand Maine isn’t a culturally diverse state either, but we are living in 2016 with a President who is a minority. I would say there is a little more prejudice here than where I came from in San Luis Obispo, CA working in law enforcement where I also dealt with other dispicable racist officers. Sad to see how many ignorant people there are here so far.

  7. Bi-racial family here, although not in Maine. Pretty sure my grandparent’s rolled over in their graves the day my husband and I tied the knot.

    I have a lot of worries about the future, how will I be able to raise my children and answer their questions when they ask them? What challenges will they face every day? How can I explain my way through something I have never experienced? How will I comfort them?

    So thank you for your stories. They are a window into a world I don’t know.

    • Your grandparents would roll over in their graves only due to the era in which they were raised. I’m Black and my grandfather was very prejudiced also. He would’ve had a fit about the fact that my youngest daughter is half Latina. But it’s up to us to teach our kids a different way of thinking. I taught my oldest to love without color and I will do the same with my youngest. It’s time to start passing down a legacy of love instead of hate. ❤

  8. Hi, I just moved way up to northern Maine, near Fort Kent. My tiny town (village) has a population of 570 residents. It’s so far away, yet so peaceful and serene. I’ve been up here for about a year now. I was kind of scared at first because I seemed to be the only woman of color within a 50-100 mile radius, lol. But to my surprise, most of the looks I get are because I’m a new face in town and not because of the color of my skin. The folks here have been nothing but cordial once they’ve gotten to know me. So far, I think I’ve seen about 6 Black folks in Fort Kent and more in Presque Isle (the nearest large city). One thing I’ve noticed up here is that folks are proud to be Acadian (French speaking Canadian descendants). I think that’s a really nice cultural touch. The views up here are nothing short of stunning. So I’m glad I chose this place to raise my 9 month old daughter.

  9. Shay! So glad I found this blog! I visited Maine in the mid-80s and just loved it. Now I am planning to come back up to retire and homestead. I will keep your blog close at hand and hope you keep publishing (or posting, or whatever the equivalent isin a blog.) Thanks for the Hair tips! That is something that is VERY hard to explain to folks who have never have to look for a “specialist” when they find a new home or travel….

  10. hello! i’m an international student from Tanzania currently enrolled in a university in Bangor Maine, i really havent seen any female black salons and its frustrating, does anyone know if there are hairstylists who can raid black hair?

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