Child laborers, Lewiston, ca. 1920Item 67543 info
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.