Thursday, January 30, 2014
The other night I watched a feature on Maine. (Shout out to Black Girl in Maine.) It's a state that I have always wanted to visit because of its beauty, and because, quite frankly, Boston is usually as far as it gets for me when it comes to New England.
The Mrs. and I keep telling ourselves that we are going to do the whole bed and breakfast thing in that state one day.
Anyway, while watching, I was reminded of the incredible story of Malaga Island* and the interracial families who inhabited it. It was an island purchased after the civil war by a freed slave (Benjamin Darling) with money that his owner gave him for saving his life.
Unfortunately, Maine, like most states in America, has a dark side (no pun intended) to their history.
"AUGUSTA -- A century ago this spring, Maine Gov. Frederick Plaisted oversaw the destruction of a year-around fishing hamlet on Malaga Island, a 42-acre island in the New Meadows River, just off the Phippsburg shore. The island's 40 residents -- white, black and mixed race -- were ordered to leave the island, and to take their homes with them, else they would be burned.
A fifth of the population was incarcerated on questionable grounds at the Maine School for the Feebleminded in New Gloucester, where most spent the rest of their lives. The island schoolhouse was dismantled and relocated to Louds Island in Muscongus Bay.
Leaving no stone unturned, state officials dug up the 17 bodies in the island cemetery, distributed them into five caskets and buried them at the School of the Feebleminded -- now Pineland Farms -- where they remain today.
Several islanders spent the rest of their lives in this state-run mental institution. One couple, Robert and Laura Darling Tripp, floated from place to place in a makeshift houseboat, but, unwelcomed, wound up moored to another scrap of an island. Malnourished, Laura fell sick during a gale; when her husband returned with help, he found the couple's two children clinging to her lifeless body.
Many others suffered from the stigma of being associated with the island.
"After the island was cleared, people did not really want to talk about this incident, especially the descendants, because to raise your hand and say you were from Malaga supposedly meant you were feebleminded or had black blood in you or both," said Rob Rosenthal, whose 2009 radio documentary "Malaga: A Story Better Left Untold" helped draw attention to what is one of the most disgraceful official acts in our state's history. "Nobody wanted to declare that." [Source]
I am glad that this story is being told and that the people of Maine are now finally coming to grips with this ugly side of their history.
The story of Malaga Island is apropos given the latest political bru ha ha here in America. It also involves interracial issues, but this one has to do with a popular cereal and not an Island.
MSNBC was forced to apologize to wingnuts because of a tweet that they sent out taunting them about that controversial Cheerios ad featuring an interracial family.
"The Republican National Committee is calling for supporters to boycott MSNBC, after the network posted a tweet taunting conservatives over the Cheerios ad starring an interracial family that will air during the Super Bowl.
"Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family," read a tweet posted late Wednesday on the MSNBC account, providing a link to a short article on the news website about the ad.
MSNBC apologized for the "offensive live tweet" and then deleted the message.
"The Cheerios tweet from @msnbc was dumb, offensive and we've taken it down. That's not who we are at msnbc," MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe tweeted." [Source]
Why is it that everyone has to apologize for their "offensive" actions except the right wing and the folks over at FOX?
Anyway, all I will say is this: Is there anyone out there who does not believe that if Gov. Frederick Plaisted was around today he would be a republican?