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A Little-Known History of Discrimination in New England Explored at Glendon

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<p>A guest lecture with the title &ldquo;A Little Known History of Discrimination in New England: The Ku Klux Klan&rsquo;s Attacks on Franco-Americans in the First Half of the 20th Century&rdquo; was delivered at Glendon by Dr. <a href="http://www.canisius.edu/modlang/faculty.asp">Eileen M. Angelini</a> on March 16. Angelini is a professor of French at Canisius College (Buffalo, NY), and Recipient of a Canada-U.S. Fulbright Award as a Visiting Research Chair in Globalization and Cultural Studies at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ont. She came to Glendon at the invitation of course director <a href="http://research.news.yorku.ca/2010/11/15/professor-radha-persaud-to-examine-role-of-lieutenant-governor-of-quebec/">Radha Persaud</a> of Glendon&rsquo;s Political Science Department and professor <a href="http://gl.yorku.ca/GlProfProfiles.nsf/Unique/GGAT-7NJQ3J?OpenDocument&amp;subnavigation=faculty">Geoffrey Ewen</a>, Coordinator of Glendon&rsquo;s Canadian Studies Program.<br />&nbsp;<br />Angelini provided a concise historical outline of the French connection between Canada and New England, with special attention given to Ben Levine&rsquo;s documentary, <em>R&eacute;veil &ndash; Waking Up French: The Repression and Renaissance of the French in New England</em>, and a particular emphasis on the KKK in New England.&nbsp; Angelini is about to publish her article, &ldquo;New England and Canada:&nbsp; Understanding the Language, Cultural, and Historical Connections&rdquo; in the <em>McMaster University Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition Working Papers Series</em>.</p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://monglendon.yorku.ca/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins/imagemanager/files/20110314/20110321/McRoberts_sm.gif" alt="" width="500" height="435" /><span class="image_caption">L-r: Glendon principal Kenneth McRoberts; coordinator of Glendon's Canadian</span><br /><span class="image_caption">Studies Dept. Geoffrey Ewen; visiting professor Eileen Angelini and Glendon</span><br /><span class="image_caption">Political Science course director Radha Persaud.</span></p>
<p>In this article, she wrote: &ldquo;By 1900, the population of Quebec had grown substantially. However, this large population now strained the available farmland.&nbsp; At the same time, New England was harnessing waterpower from large rivers for bigger and bigger textile mills that needed workers.&nbsp; Over one million French Catholic Quebecers flooded from Quebec into largely English Protestant New England towns, creating so many <em>petits Canadas</em>, French neighborhoods, that New England was called <em>Qu&eacute;bec en sud</em>, 'Lower Quebec'.<br /><br />Unlike European immigrants of the same period, these Quebecers lived just a day&rsquo;s train-ride away from their destination and only wanted to stay long enough to save a sufficient amount of money to return to Quebec, re-start their farms and the lifestyles they had left behind.&nbsp; They were extremely loyal to their French-Catholic way of life, which emphasized community, cooperation and devotion over the individual, competitive and materialistic life prevalent in the United States.&nbsp; They were so loyal, in fact, to their French Catholic way of life that they maintained their culture despite many obstacles.<br /><br />English Protestant towns became fearful of this influx of people, who spoke a different language and practiced a different religion.&nbsp; They blamed priests for encouraging Quebecers not to assimilate, not to learn English.&nbsp; In towns all over New England, tensions rose. English-speaking Protestant elites formed branches of the Ku Klux Klan, threatened and attacked many French communities from Massachusetts to Maine.&nbsp; Boasting numbers greater than in the nation&rsquo;s South, New England&rsquo;s Klan members were powerful and well-entrenched.&nbsp; Among several who served as civic leaders, one was elected governor of Maine and the New England KKK even had a women&rsquo;s auxiliary!"<br /><br />Professor Angelini&rsquo;s lecture elicited numerous questions from the attending students, which demonstrated their preparedness and understanding of the underlying issues. Angelini, Persaud and Ewen are looking forward to further collaborations during her term as Visiting Research Chair in Globalization and Cultural Studies at McMaster.<br /><br /><em>Submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny </em></p>

Published on March 21, 2011