“A Distinct Alien Race: The Untold Story of Franco-Americans: Industrialization, Immigration, Religious Strife,” by David Vermette Submitted photo

The Books and Stories Series will feature author David Vermette reading from his book, “A Distinct Alien Race: The Untold Story of Franco-Americans: Industrialization, Immigration, Religious Strife,” at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at the Franco Center in Lewiston. He will have books available for purchase and signing, and follow up with questions and answers after the presentation.

Author David Vermette will discuss his French Canadian immigrant-themed book at the next free Books and Stories program on Wednesday at the Franco Center in Lewiston. Submitted photo

According to Vermette, in the later-19th century, French-Canadian Roman Catholic immigrants from Quebec were deemed a threat to the United States, potential terrorists in service of the Pope. Books and newspapers floated the conspiracy theory that the immigrants seeking work in New England’s burgeoning textile industry were plotting to annex parts of the United States to a newly independent Quebec. Vermette’s groundbreaking study sets this neglected and poignant tale in the broader context of North American history. He traces individuals and families, from the textile barons who created a new industry to the poor farmers and laborers of Quebec who crowded into the mills in the post-Civil War period.

Vermette is a writer, researcher, editor, and a speaker on Franco-American history and identity. He is originally from Massachusetts.

“Attendees at our Sept. 13 Books and Stories program, which featured local Franco-American author Suzanne Roy, stated that the Ku Klux Klan’s negative reflection of Franco Americans and Catholics was not something they remember hearing about,” said Scammon. “David will share information about how the Ku Klux Klan’s local activities stirred up animosity against Franco Americans.”

Later in the Books and Stories series, local author Paul Dionne will talk about his books on Oct. 4.

It is suggested that attendees buy the featured books ahead of the book talk. “The authors in this series have all been suggested by our patrons to be included,” said Scammon. “All the books are of interest to residents and local historians.”

The Franco Center is at 46 Cedar St., Lewiston. Parking is available in the mill lot. The building is handicap accessible on the Lincoln St. Alley side.

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