The history of Pedro Tovookan Parris and an interview with Junes Thete

Episode 2 tells how a Paris Hill man connected Maine to the complexities of slave trade.
Logo for the Maine's Black Future podcast.
The Maine’s Black Future podcast tells the stories of historic Black Mainers and connect the longstanding history to Black changemakers weaving Maine’s Black future today. Graphic by Olivia Martin.

The Maine’s Black Future podcast boldly visits stories of historic Black Mainers and the legacies they carved into the state. Then we connect this longstanding history to Black changemakers weaving Maine’s Black future today!

We define terminology, keep it real, and invite you to connect deeply with Black Mainers creating the future that we want to live in. We showcase Black excellence occurring all over Maine and feature original music production from the GEM CITY Maine collective, throughout.

Junes Thete. Photo by Why Not Productions.

Host Genius Black opens the second episode with a look at Pedro Tovookan Parris, who came to Portland to take part in the trial of Cyrus Libby, who was arrested in Rio De Janeiro for illegally transporting enslaved Africans.

Pedro had been sold into Portuguese slavery, branded, and trafficked across the Atlantic, being warned to claim that he was free if asked. After Captain Libby was acquitted, Pedro lived in Portland for a few years then moved to Paris, Maine and made a life for himself within the family of U.S. Marshal Virgil D. Parris.

Pedro worked, attended school, and created art while living in Paris until passing away at 27 year old in 1860.

Later in the episode, Genius sits down with Portland resident Junes Thete, a Congolese-born cinematographer, producer, and fashion consultant working in Maine. Junes shares his personal inspirations and guidance for up and coming creatives, as well as his upcoming Discover Me Show.

You can listen below to the episode or you can find it on some of your favorite podcast hosting platforms including SpotifyiHeart RadioGoogle PodcastsAmazon MusicTuneIn + AlexaPodcast AddictPodchaserDeezerPlayer FM, Listen NotesDeezerPodcast Index and Pocket Casts.

Catch up on Episode 1: The history of London Atus and an interview with Alfine Nathalie.

Theme music produced by Genius Black, composed by Genius along with Bill Giordano on bass and Ben Noyes on acoustic piano.

Podcast recorded, and produced by Genius Black at Portland Media Center, for The Maine Monitor.

References & Links

The Record of George WM Gordon: The Slave Trade at Rio De Janeiro – Seizure of Slave Vessels – Conviction of Slave Dealers, Personal Liberation of Slaves & C.  Practice Against Theory. Boston, 1856.

Historic New England: Pedro Tovookan Parris papers

Portland Press Herald: Story of Paris Hill man connects Maine to ‘complexities’ of slave trade

Connect on Instagram with Junes TheteWhy Not ProductionsDiscover Me ShowGenius Black and GEM CITY Maine.


Genius Black

Genius Black, also known as Jerry Edwards, is a social innovator, entrepreneur, and musical artist based in South Portland, Maine. Naturally a storyteller and motivator, he focuses on collaboration and audio/video production as a craft. Genius curates a collaborative network and collective of musical talent, GEM CITY, driving the intersection of art, culture, and quality of place unique to Maine’s coast. He holds a degree in Africana Studies and an English minor from Bowdoin College. He is the father of two teenagers, 15 and 19 years old. Genius is a media and communications organizer for TheThirdPlace and a proud board member of Portland Media Center.
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