Have You Heard of Malaga Island?
Updated: Jun 26
We graduate students every year who have never heard of Malaga Island. Why? I attended the 2012 opening exhibit. It was incredible to be there when a picture was taken of the descendants, a racially mixed group of people. I watched as they caught up with each other over decades of separation. One proud white woman from New York told me about her brother who hated that she was there. He said he wanted nothing to do with it. She was embarrassed that her brother was ashamed of their mixed race heritage. She carried 3/5 cards and was getting contact information from all her relatives. She had approached me thinking I was a descendent. At the event, I noticed Gov. LePage talking for quite a while to a young descendent who turned out to be a student at UConn. He announced he was going to get the state legislature to establish a college scholarship for descendants. As it turned out there was a time limited dollar limited scholarship established.
Alexa Allen (RSU 10 Graduate) tells the story of Malaga Island.
It was a middle school teacher who revived interest in the story of Malaga Island. Her students can be heard telling the story following their study. They placed a small marker at the location of the burial place of former residents at what we now call Pineland. At the time it was the Maine School for the Feeble-minded. That is another ugly, painful part of the story. Below are several youtube videos and other sources. This is an example of history hidden in plain sight. Why do we not teach this? It is Maine history, Eugenics history, African American history, American history. C-SPAN segment on Malaga Island Malaga Island descendent tells her story Malaga Island and Pineland Cemetery Why do we not teach this story, and when it is time, field trip this story? Why?
"Coming to Terms with Tragedy Through Art": the artwork of Daniel Minter, twice selected to create the Kwaanza Stamp. Click here to learn more. - Adelaide Solomon-Jordan