Franco-American Collection

Monthly Memories Workshop Immigration and Discrimination

March 19, 2019
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Room 170 at USM-LAC, 51 Westminster St. in Lewiston

March 19 Monthly Memories Workshop Immigration and Discrimination
Author and historian James Myall will present a talk entitled “Know Nothings and Klansmen - Anti-Franco Feeling in Maine” at the Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College March 19.

The talk will include a look at the history of anti-immigrant groups in Maine, how Franco-Americans were discriminated against and even attached, and will discuss how we can draw lessons today from that history. Audience members are invited to bring along their own memories and stories to share.

French Canadians immigrated to Maine in large numbers in the 19th and early 20th centuries. At the peak of immigration, around 1910, Maine’s foreign born population was much larger than it is today. In cities like Lewiston and Auburn, up to half the population was made up of immigrants and their children. These new arrivals powered Maine’s industrial revolution and contributed greatly to their adopted communities. But they weren’t always welcomed. Maine underwent several periods of anti immigrant scares, largely targeted at Franco-Americans and other Catholics. Efforts against Franco Americans included the activities of groups like the Know Nothings of the 1850s and the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. Politicians passed laws restricting the rights of Francos to vote or become citizens, and there were innumerable examples of individual discrimination.

Myall is a former coordinator of the Franco-American Collection and the co-author of “The Franco-Americans of Lewiston-Auburn.” He writes a blog hosted by the Bangor Daily News on Franco-American history called “Parlez-Vous American?” He lives in Topsham with his family.  

Myall’s talk will take place in Room 170 at USM-LAC, 51 Westminster St. in Lewiston.