Malaga Island

by fmhilton

To many people, Maine has a homey, comfortable feel and the people are wonderful. They’re funny, kind and generous. They make great clam bakes and chowder. The scenery is beyond gorgeous and there’s lots of it.

That’s the exterior.

However, in the interior of this state, there’s a hidden and ugly side that nobody likes to talk about, and Paul LePage’s recent remarks spotlight it all too much.

It’s called racism. It’s ugly and unacceptable in our society. By giving words to this insidious and evil idea, he’s made us not only the laughingstock of this country, but also called our moral boundaries into question.

The truth is that too many people accept him and his ideas of what society should look like. There are too many who say, “He was just telling the truth”..” “He is plain-spoken, nothing meant by it.”

No. That’s not the way this is done. This is the 21st century. What was (very unfortunately) acceptable in 1816 is not now.

We are better than this, we do not have to think like this. Paul LePage brings back some memories of a time when the color of your skin determined your fate.

Like on a Maine island called Malaga.

In 1912, the Governor of Maine decreed that all the residents would be forcibly removed from their homes and some put into mental institutions: Malaga Island

While some saw improvement in the island, Governor Frederick W. Plaisted saw blight on his state’s reputation. Under the Governor’s direction, Maine authorities abducted and removed men, women, and children many of whom were forced into various institutions and, in 1912, undertook the mass eviction of the remaining 45-member interracial community. To discourage resettlement, Maine authorities eventually even dug up the graves, and took the dead for burial at the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded in Pownal.

The reason for it? There were black and white people living together and having bi-racial children. Usually without the benefit of clergy or society’s approval. They were considered a ‘blight’ on our state. They were not to be tolerated. By erasing this island and all of its’ inhabitants, the Governor hoped to ensure our ‘pristine’ environment by removing all the traces of less than desirable inhabitants.

The Maine State Museum had an exhibit in 2012 about this terrible event.

Paul LePage was the person who opened it.

If he cannot see the connection between his words now and the actions of past Governors, he is truly blind.

There is no difference between the two.

Racism is still racism no matter what century it takes place in.

And it’s still unacceptable.

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