In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Maine Memory Network

Franco-American Childhood

Child laborers, Lewiston, ca. 1920

Child laborers, Lewiston, ca. 1920

Item 67543 info
Franco-American Collection

Our sense of self and identity is often drawn from our childhood experiences.

Until the late 20th century, for young Franco-Americans, the journey into adulthood meant becoming accustomed to the discrimination that their parents were exposed to, often from an early age.

From the attitudes of their English-speaking neighbors, Franco-Americans were taught to think of themselves as Petits Pains ("Little Breads"), who were relegated to a lower position in society.

This attitude was impressed onto them at a young age, by teachers who scolded them for their poor English, and by the conspicuous lack of successful Franco role models in the community.

The hardships suffered by a difficult upbringing also ingrained certain values in the Franco-American community - particularly faith, family and a strong work ethic.


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