BANGOR, Maine — On Saturday, the City of Bangor held a ceremony for the renaming of Second Street Park to Gerald E. Talbot Park. The park is named after Gerald E. Talbot, a Bangor native, to honor his many accomplishments and contributions to the state of Maine and the Bangor community.
Daniel Tremble, Bangor Council Chair, presented Talbot with a Key to the City Saturday. A sign with the new name of the park was also unveiled.
A number of Talbots friends and family members attended the ceremony.
"We're all human... black, white, green, blue, I don't care which color you are... we're human... I want to thank all of you for everything. I still can't believe what's happening," Talbot said.
Talbot is the oldest of five siblings and the eighth generation of his family to be born in Maine. After serving in the Army, he and his wife, Anita, settled down in Portland where they raised four daughters.
Talbot is a passionate advocate for civil and human rights. He participated in marches and rallies throughout the country, including the March on Washington in 1963. He also helped to establish the Portland branch of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He was then elected as its first president.
In 1972, he became the first African American to be elected to the Maine State Legislature. During his three terms, he successfully led the passage of the Maine Fair Housing Bill, the Maine Human Rights Act, and sponsored and got passed, “An Act to Prohibit the Use of Offensive Names for Geographic Features and Other Places in the State of Maine,” removing the n-word from several place names in the state.
In 2006, Talbot wrote a book with co-author H. H. Price, titled, "Maine's Visible Black History: The First Chronicle of its People."
Last year, the Portland City Council unanimously voted to change the name of the Riverton Elementary School to the Gerald E. Talbot Community School, in his honor.
On Thursday, Talbot celebrated his 90th birthday with all of his loved ones.