Mondays at the James: Author David Vermette
Monday, September 24 | 7 p.m.
Admission is free, donations appreciated at the door
Author David Vermette
A Distinct Alien Race
The Untold Story of Franco-Americans, Industrialization, Immigration, Religious Strife
“The French number more than a million in the United States…. They are kept a distinct alien race, subject to the Pope in matters of religion and of politics. Soon…they will govern you, Americans.” — British-American Citizen (Boston), 1889
Americans don’t think of Canada as a source of potential terrorists—speaking a foreign tongue, serving a foreign religion, and invading their country. But when a million French-Canadians crossed the border between 1840 and 1930, many seeking work in New England’s burgeoning textile industry, they were cast as foot soldiers in an alleged Roman Catholic plot.
A Distinct Alien Race places these Franco-Americans in the context of contemporary issues: the rise and fall of manufacturing in the U.S.; Nativism and the fear of the Other; emigration to the U.S. across land borders; and the construction of race. Vermette traces individuals and families, from the textile barons whose profits in the Caribbean and China trades financed a new industry, to the rural poor of Québec who crowded into fetid tenements after the Civil War. His social history exposes the anti-Franco-American agitation of Protestant clergy, the Ku Klux Klan, and the eugenics movement.
David Vermette is a researcher, writer, and speaker on the history and identity of the descendants of French North America. He was born and raised in Norwell, Massachusetts.
Sponsored by the South Shore Music Circus and the Cordelia Family Foundation