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Malaga Island



Virtual Legacies



Why is this a Civil Rights issue?


Malaga Island is a civil rights issue for several reasons. One important part, is the whole reasoning behind the eviction. The people of Phippsburg and Harpswell, mainly being the Governor, (Frederick Plaisted,) considered Malaga to be a bad image for tourism in Maine. That in itself is a violation of the civil rights of the Malagites. Because their population was so racially-mixed, it was considered shameful, or unattractive for them to live on the island, and be seen by tourists. This discrimination alone could make it a civil rights issue, not to mention what the Governor actually did to the Malagites. Because it was taken as far as actually evicting the people, soley for the purpose of promoting a 'racially-sound' Maine, it is considered a Civil Rights issue. These people's only so-called crime was the color of their skin, one thing that no matter what, can't be determined or changed by a person. Another reason the Malagites were evicted is because many main-landers saw Malagites as a competition for the steadily decreasing fish market on the mainland. But even though all the residents of Phippsburg, Harpswell, and Malaga were the same on the inside, people felt it appropriate that the Malagites be put into the School for the Feeble Minded. Not only was their home taken away, but their pride, freedom and justice were as well, and their civil-rights were violated.

Such a thing in the history of Maine is not only an embarrassment and a disgrace, but it is mostly a lesson. Looking back at what happened, only one person has ever acknowledged what happened (see important people), but no one has truly apologized for what happened. This is said to be because the feelings of people who went through it were taken into account, and it was determined that in order to not hurt any feelings, it would be best to not make a formal apology. Putting yourself into the position of the Malagites for a moment, does it seem a greater injustice to not apologize, then it does to apologize? I believe it is a mistake that no one has apologized yet, and it should be done soon. Hopefully we can somehow forgive and forget the terrible happenings of Malaga Island, and try to learn from it. The ability for our state to mend any grudges, or bad thoughts about Malaga, or any other civil rights issue in the history of Maine, will determine whether or not things like this will happen again. If we can put this behind us, our state can become stronger and stronger, until civil rights issues are a thing of the past. The same is true of the country, just a little cooperation and effort can take us a long way.