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 which 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.

Item 1 of 13