Founder and Director, Atlantic Black Box


Meadow Dibble is the founder and Director of Atlantic Black Box, a public history project that empowers individuals, community groups, and institutions throughout the place long known as New England to research and begin reckoning with the region’s involvement in the slave trade and the global economy of enslavement. She serves as Project Lead on the Place Justice Project, a truth-seeking and historical recovery initiative of Maine’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Tribal Populations.  

Meadow is additionally a Visiting Scholar at Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. She received her Ph.D. from Brown’s Department of French and taught Francophone African literature at Colby College from 2005–08. Originally from Cape Cod, she lived for six years on Senegal’s Cape Verde peninsula prior to pursuing her graduate studies. In 2016, Meadow experienced a brutal awakening to the reality of her hometown’s deep investment in slavery and ever since has been researching complicity among Cape Cod’s sea captains and sharing the story of The Diseased Ship. 


The Diseased Ship: A Cautionary Tale About Our Nation’s Twin Plagues That Went Untold for Two Centuries 

This dramatic story features a prominent Yankee sea captain, a tragedy on the high seas, a viral outbreak, a major political cover up, and a conspiracy of silence that has lasted two centuries surrounding New England’s involvement in the slave trade.

Following these historical threads into the present day allows us to consider the ways in which our region’s repressed history of complicity with the business of slavery relates to our current national conversations about race, privilege, identity, and access to the “American dream.”

Hiding in Plain Sight: New England Complicity in the Global Slave Economy

New England has long repressed the memory of its involvement in the slave trade and the Atlantic World slave economy, just as it has concealed or failed to center the stories of the region’s free and enslaved Black and Indigenous populations.

How could we have gotten the story so wrong for so long? This interactive presentation will contrast the cherished narrative of Northern exceptionalism with recent scholarship that reveals a long history of exploitation with which our communities have barely begun to reckon.