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Start Date

30-4-2021 12:00 AM

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Department

Women and Gender Studies

Faculty Mentor

Rose Cleary, PhD

Keywords

Malaga Island, Race, Gender, Eugenics, Maine

Abstract

In 1912, after having lived on the island since the Civil War, the mixed-race community of Malaga Island, located just off of the coast of Phippsburg, Maine, were forcibly removed from their homes. Some of those who were removed were sent to the School for the Feeble-Minded in Pownal, Maine. The forced removal of the residents and the sterilization of those who were institutionalized were inextricably grounded to the notions of race, gender, and eugenics. Although Gov. Frederick Plaisted at the time deemed the dismantling of the island as critical in raising property values and the tourism industry, it’s clear that these were simply excuses to rid the island of its residents. Maine was ashamed of Malaga’s mixed-race community and used the term, “malagite” as a racial slur (Maine State Museum, 2021). Examining scholarly articles on eugenics, race, and gender I will explore the constructions behind the eradication and the relocation of the Malaga Islanders. As an intern for the Maine Womens Magazine, I will attempt to write an article that will showcase these findings. The tensions that may arise as Maine residents respond to this article, will also be explored as indicative of the continual eradication and dismissal of Malaga Island residents and Maines’ racist past.

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The Eradication of the Malaga Island Community: A Chapter in Maine's History - transcript

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Apr 30th, 12:00 AM

The Eradication of the Malaga Island Community: A Chapter in Maine's History

In 1912, after having lived on the island since the Civil War, the mixed-race community of Malaga Island, located just off of the coast of Phippsburg, Maine, were forcibly removed from their homes. Some of those who were removed were sent to the School for the Feeble-Minded in Pownal, Maine. The forced removal of the residents and the sterilization of those who were institutionalized were inextricably grounded to the notions of race, gender, and eugenics. Although Gov. Frederick Plaisted at the time deemed the dismantling of the island as critical in raising property values and the tourism industry, it’s clear that these were simply excuses to rid the island of its residents. Maine was ashamed of Malaga’s mixed-race community and used the term, “malagite” as a racial slur (Maine State Museum, 2021). Examining scholarly articles on eugenics, race, and gender I will explore the constructions behind the eradication and the relocation of the Malaga Islanders. As an intern for the Maine Womens Magazine, I will attempt to write an article that will showcase these findings. The tensions that may arise as Maine residents respond to this article, will also be explored as indicative of the continual eradication and dismissal of Malaga Island residents and Maines’ racist past.

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