Woonsocket (Images of America)

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enter Read more about the vital role legal aid plays in a just America. Investing in civil legal aid provides access to justice—a fundamental American value, reflected in the first line of our Constitution and in the closing words of our Pledge of Allegiance.

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The need for civil legal assistance has never been greater. Today, low-income Americans continue to struggle to keep their jobs, stay in their homes, and provide basic necessities for their families. Without adequate funding for legal aid, low-income Americans will be unable to access courts effectively to protect their legitimate legal interests. Civil legal aid provides access to legal help for people to protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families.

Civil legal aid makes it easier to access information through easy-to-understand forms, legal assistance, representation, and self-help centers to enable people to know their rights — regardless of their income. LSC-funded legal aid ensures that eligible constituents will not have to navigate the legal system alone. Eligible clients include the working poor, veterans and military families, homeowners and renters, families with children, farmers, the disabled, and the elderly. Read more. These photographs capture and preserve Woonsocket's rise, decline, and rebirth.

Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. Beacon Hill Images of America Series. Beacon Hill, an historic district and one of the oldest neighborhoods in America, welcomed its Beacon Hill, an historic district and one of the oldest neighborhoods in America, welcomed its first resident in the s. In colonial days, the area served as a strategic look-out point; in the early years of the s it quickly View Product.

Boeing, Washington Images of Aviation Series. In , an airplane company was established in the previous Heath shipyard along the Duwamish In , an airplane company was established in the previous Heath shipyard along the Duwamish River, situated a short distance south of Seattle's Elliott Bay. Work on the first two airplanes was already well underway as the articles of incorporation Branson, Missouri Images of America Series. The majority of Franco-American settlements were established from the s to the s, though some areas of Vermont had high numbers of French-Canadian Americans as early as Starting in , the Canadian government made fairly successful efforts to bring them back by offering either free or cheap land.

In fact, up to half of those who had travelled south returned to Canada by In the first two decades of the twentieth century, recessions in the United States and relative prosperity meant that immigration to the United States fell off from previous years and some French Canadians returned home.

French Canadian settlers in the United States maintained a high level of concentration and a low level of mobility. The most outstanding example is the area in Maine, along the Canadian frontier, known as the St. John Valley, which was almost entirely Franco-American.

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This level of concentration heightened the sense of community for the new immigrants and facilitated getting French Canadian priests to serve the thriving parishes. Spiritual guidance and a sense of community became all the more important because, for those who toiled in tedium at the mills, "home" was no longer fresh air and open land but crowded, dingy tenement houses.

According to The Canadian Born in the United States, a book published in using American census data, 47 percent of those reporting themselves as "French Canadian born" immigrated to the United States earlier than Almost 16 percent of those in the United States through the year came from to , while about ten percent came between and The s and s were decades of strength for French-Canadian Americans—organizations had been established, French-language newspapers were thriving, and there were successful battles against attempts to abolish teaching in French.

Mount Saint Charles Academy, a Franco-American diocesan high school in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, was established in and hailed as a strong academic school. Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, continues to offer Franco-American studies as well as French-language instruction. Elementary schools were set up in great numbers in the s and s. These were parochial schools, supported by the parishes, and they offered a half-day of exposure to the French language and culture.

By the s, however, these schools, faced with the increased cost of having to pay lay teachers, were forced to close. The initial immigrants had established a vibrant community of French-language parishes, schools, press, and fraternal organizations, but the group was slowly assimilating and there was no large wave of immigration to keep up the enthusiasm. Immigration to the United States dropped off after the Great Depression of the s. At the same time, many French-Canadian Americans took advantage of the proximity of their home country and lived where the economic conditions or political situation was better for them.

The French were also regarded differently in Canada than in the United States—in Canada they represented one of the two founding nations, while in the United States they were just one of many ethnic groups to arrive in America after much of the country had been settled. After World War II, the original incentives to remain a tight community faded away.

More French-Canadian Americans had the opportunity to get an education, for example, and their economic situations improved so that they no longer had to huddle in tenement houses while working long, hard hours in the textile and shoe mills. As a result, many began to drift outside of traditional Franco-American enclaves. For example, most of the once-numerous French-speaking parochial schools near Albany, New York, had ceased to exist by the s, having been demolished for urban renewal or sold to other denominations.

This trend reversed in the s and s, however, with a move toward reviving French Many French-Canadian immigrants continued to be farmers, growing potatoes in the Northeastern United States. Canadian traditions and language. Many books have been written, in both English and French, on the Franco-American experience, and a number of historical centers, such as the French Institute at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, support Franco-American studies. By , the state with the highest number of French-Canadian Americans was Massachusetts, with ,, followed by Michigan with ,, California with ,, New York with ,, New Hampshire with ,, Connecticut with ,, Florida with ,, and Maine with , All other states have less than , Although California ranks third, the Northeast predominates as home to French-Canadian Americans—that region alone makes up 45 percent of the total of 2.

This total is a small percentage of the American population— just under one percent of the total Franco-American New England is often divided into three regions: central and southeastern New England, which includes southern Maine; western Vermont and upper New York State; and northern Maine, particularly the area known as the St. John Valley. It is interesting to note that the number of individuals citing French Canadian as their ancestry for the census was substantially larger than for the census a decade earlier.

One possible explanation cited by census takers was that French Canadian was listed among sample response categories— intended to help those who were uncertain of their ethnic origin—in , but not in French Canadian life, in Canada and in the United States, centered around the community—first that of the family which tended to be large , and then that of the larger French-speaking community. One thing French-Canadian Americans had in common with their French Canadian ancestors was resistance to other ethnic influences.

In Canada, French-speakers long opposed all things British, and in the United States, Irish or English Americans often viewed the newest immigrants as interlopers. This lack of acceptance helped to draw Franco-Americans closer together and resulted in maintaining traditions, customs, and language through the generations. Many of the traditions and beliefs are also tied to a strong sense of religion. To be a Franco-American immigrant was to be a strict Catholic, especially for the early settlers.

American Village life.

A French Canadian potato farmer on his horse drawn digger in Caribou, Maine. Many French Canadian proverbs can be interpreted as similar to those found today in English, although several are French Canadians in origin. Some well-known examples include: Each to their own taste; God dictates and women decide; Better to prevent than to heal; If the young knew and if the old could French Canadian farmers ate hearty, simple meals.

Breads and other carbohydrates were popular and readily available. Breakfast items included pancakes, fried eggs, salt pork spread on slices of bread, coffee, and tea. Soup, made from peas, cabbage, or barley, was a staple for lunch and dinner meals; also on the daily menu might be potatoes, bread and butter covered in maple syrup, pork, and seasonal vegetables. In the Roman Catholic tradition, no meat was served on Fridays.

More elaborate meals were prepared for special religious holidays and celebrations.

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In fact, one French Canadian dish, poutine french fries covered with gravy and cheese curds is now being served in North American fast-food restaurants. Traditional French Canadian costumes harken back to the days when the coureurs de bois hunted for beaver pelts and the voyageurs explored Canada. As Brault explains, more common were the clothes worn by the farmers. They wore flannel shirts over loose-fitting pants fashioned of droguet, or drugget, a durable and coarse woolen fabric.

The pants would be held up by suspenders or a broad leather belt. On his feet, a man would wear stockings and moccasin-style boots. To combat the cold, the French Canadian farmer would add a vest or sweater, a tuque woollen cap , and an overcoat made of wool or animal skins fastened about his waist with a ceinture flechee. Women made many of their materials, such as the drugget. They, too, would wear woolen stockings and moccasins in addition to a flannel skirt over a heavy slip or jupon, as well as a long-sleeved bodice and sturdy apron.

In the winter, women would wear heavier blouses and skirts, shawls, and a cotton or woollen capuche on their heads to keep warm. Since most French-Canadian Americans today live in towns or cities rather than on farms, these clothes are worn only on festive cultural occasions. Part of the assimilation process was to adopt clothing that was "American. Rounds were a popular form of song for French Canadians. Round dances, in which the participants, often children, danced in a circle making certain actions as they sang, were also popular.

Among the most popular traditional folk songs were those that told stories of settlers, voyageurs, or kings, and courtships between maidens and young men. It can be sung as a round and tells the tale of a lark. Traditional French Canadian dances include the quadrille and the gigue or jig. Square dances, with many of the calls in French, also became popular in the twentieth century. All of these involved musical accompaniment, with fiddles, harmonicas, and later accordions. As part of the tight family and community structures in French Canadian life, music and dancing were featured at any celebration.

Inside the cake were a pea and a bean; whoever got the slice with the bean was deemed king and whoever found the pea was named queen. La Chandeleur or Candlemas, another winter holiday held on February 2, included a candlelit mass and pancake parties in the evening. John the Baptist was declared the patron saint of French Canadians by the Pope in A society was established in the saint's name in to promote patriotic celebrations.

There are no ailments specific to French Canadians in the United States, with the exception of occupational maladies related to the fact that many of the newly arrived immigrants worked in dusty, grimy mills or quarries. Paul Dufault and Dr. Gabriel Nadeau b. French belongs to the Latin and Romance group of Indo-European languages. In The French Canadian Heritage in New England, Brault notes that "correct" speech was a sign of status, but that did not stop the evolution of syntactical and phonological differences.

One French Canadian "dialect," called joual, is synonymous with the lower classes, or at least with loose pronunciation. Brault goes on to summarize some of the most obvious phonetic differences in the French spoken by French Canadians in Canada and the United States compared to France. Some of the most common French Canadian sayings are similar to those of France. The family is at the center of the French-Canadian American's world. In previous decades this meant not only the nuclear family but the extended clan who would come together to eat, play card games, sing, drink, and dance.

Some tension has existed historically between French immigrants and French Canadians because, while French immigrants tended to be well-educated, most of the first French Canadian immigrants were farmers and received little if any formal education. Although the French-Canadian Americans worked with Irish Americans in the mills and had a common religion in Catholicism, the language barrier and the sense that the Irish were established immigrants, having come a generation earlier, led to tension.

In his account of New England immigrants, The Shadows of the Trees, Jacques Ducharme wrote that "many were to feel the caillou celtique, or 'Kelly Biscuit,' for in the early days the Irish were not averse to violence by way of showing their distaste for the newcomers. There was also rampant prejudice against Catholics and Jews in New England in the s. By the Ku Klux Klan numbered more than half a million.

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It supported the Protestants in the area and their efforts to "take back what was their own. Many French Canadian immigrants hid in their houses while the Klan stormed through the streets. The tradition for immigrants at the turn of the century was a conservative courtship where a potential suitor might visit a young girl's home on Sunday evenings to spend time with the entire family.

After a series of visits that became more private— although always in public pursuits, such as buggy rides or swinging on the porch—the young man, or cavalier, would ask the father for the hand of his blonde in marriage. The wedding itself was a festive affair marked by feasting and dancing.

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In parishes, the bans would be read for three consecutive Sundays, naming the intention of that particular couple to marry. With all parishioners being so informed, if any impediments to the upcoming marriage existed, they could be announced then. Much like today, the groom was given a stag party in his honor. The bride, in turn, might be honored with a shower. Wedding attire was influenced by the fashion of the time. The elaborateness of the ceremony was dictated by the wealth of the participants. The church bells pealed for the morning nuptial mass and a reception followed.

Honeymoons often meant a few days' stay at a relative's home. Brault says that after marriage, French Canadian women were often expected to dress more conservatively and in darker colors, while men displayed their marital status by growing a mustache or wearing a gold watch and chain. Today, many of the marriage practices reflect a greater assimilation into American culture as well as a move away from a predominantly rural way of life. Until recently, French-Canadian Americans tended to have large families, often with ten or more children.

Baptisms, as a religious rite, were an integral part of life. As Brault describes, if there was any risk that the newborn might not survive, the priest was called immediately to baptize the baby. Otherwise the ceremony was performed within the first week. Traditionally, boys were given, as part of their name, Joseph, and girls given the name Marie, in addition to being named by the parents.

Often one of the other given names was that of a godparent. The role of godparent, as in other cultures, is filled by close relatives or friends. They are responsible for bringing up the child if the parents die, part of which includes ensuring that the child is brought up in the Catholic faith. After the baptismal ceremony, the parents, godparents, child, and guests returned to a family home for a celebratory meal. Godparents would bring gifts for the child, and, in the past, for the mother and the church sexton, who would ring the church bells to mark the occasion.

When a person died, the church sexton signalled the death by ringing the church bells. This, Brault says, not only told all those in the town that there had been a death, but also revealed who had died: one stroke signalled a child, two a woman, and three a man. The wake took three days, during which visitors greeted the family in their home. Until it became the practice to carry out wakes in "funeral parlours," the dead were laid out in the family home.

Flowers were not part of the setting, although it was customary to shroud the room in white sheets so it resembled a chapel and to hang a cross between a pair of candles at the person's head. The visitors came to pray with the family and gathered once an hour to recite the rosary. After the wake, a morning funeral was held, complete with a mass in church, and then the body was taken to the cemetery for burial.

The priest accompanied the family and other mourners and said a prayer as the casket was lowered into the burial plot. Everyone then returned to the family's home for a meal in honor of the dead person. Religion is at the heart of French Canadian life. In fact, as was true in Canada, the church was an integral part of the early settlements—often the priest acted as counselor in secular matters, in addition to spiritual leader.

Some of the earliest parishes were established in the s and s in rural northern Maine. By the turn of the century, there were 89 Franco-American parishes. Abramson states that the completeness with which French-Canadian Americans transplanted their religion, especially to the New England area, was partly due to being close to Canada. Basically, the immigrants set up the same sort of parish-centered social organization that had existed in the home country.

From Maine to Connecticut these churches stand, forming a forest of steeples where men, women and children come to pray in French and listen to sermons in French. When the tabernacle bell rings, know that it proclaims the presence of le bon dieu. Despite their proximity to Canada, French Canadians in New England experienced many of the trials typical to new immigrants, including discrimination by religion and language. The church offered them a place where their language could be freely spoken and celebrated. But in the early days, mass was often conducted by priests who spoke little Many French Canadians are Roman Catholics, as is often evidenced in their homes.

Because of this, many attendees could not understand sermons, risked getting their meatless days wrong, and gave little for special collections because they did not understand what they were for. The fight for French masses began in earnest in the late nineteenth century. Their battle successfully ended what became known as "the Flint Affair. Often it was the Irish Americans who opposed French-language services.

In May , for example, French-Canadian Americans in North Brook-field, Massachusetts, wrote to the Papal Delegate to tell him that their Irish American priest would not allow religious services or teaching in French. It was not until that a French priest and French services were permitted.

Such fights also went on in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine communities. It was also a matter of some time before French Canadians assumed positions of power within the Catholic church. He was followed by, among others, Ernest J. Primeau and Odore J. Gendreau —. These battles with the Irish Americans over religious issues continued into the s. One of the most notable was the "Sentinelle Affair" of These children of French Canadian papermill workers have an enjoyable day playing on the hill looking down on the town.

A group of French-Canadian Americans, most from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, had been concerned about their religion, language, and culture surviving in the United States. They resented the hierarchy of the Catholic church in the United States, which was mostly Irish, and militantly defended the Franco-American parochial schools and the fragile autonomy of the French-language parishes. Religion played another role in Franco-American communities through religiously affiliated fraternal organizations.

Like other ethnic groups, the French-Canadian Americans set these up to offer insurance as well as language and cultural activities to new and recent immigrants. Jean Baptiste in Both still exist today, although the Union has since become affiliated with Catholic Family Life Insurance. Economic times were tough in Canada, and the newly opened mills in New England offered employment for both women and men—although this was hard, back-breaking, and often unhealthy work.

Many children joined the labor force in the mills as well. Women also earned money by taking in boarders. Another group of French Canadians settled near the forest of northern Maine to work in the logging industry.

Although the first major wave of immigrants was made up predominantly of farmers, mill workers, and lumbermen with little education, there was also a select group of educated individuals, such as priests, doctors, and lawyers who came to serve the needs of their people. Of course, as Franco-Americans became more established, the numbers of professionals grew. There is a rich history of French-language journalism, particularly in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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Another judge, Alfred J. Chretien, b. After graduating, he established a law practice in Manchester, New Hampshire, and went on to be named Chief Justice of the Manchester Municipal Court in A number of French-Canadian Americans distinguished themselves in labor unions and syndicates. William Belanger c.

In he was elected president of the Massachusetts CIO. Initially parish-based, they later became independent entities that did much to support small businesses and to encourage home ownership. Brault states Franco-Americans have supported the Democratic presidential candidate since the election of when the Catholic Al Smith was defeated by Herbert Hoover.

Images of America: Woonsocket by Robert R. Bellerose (2003, Paperback)

There are also regional trends: most today are Democrats, with the exception of French-Canadian Americans in New Hampshire and Vermont, where many are "dyed-inthe-wool Republicans. Even the working class voted the Republican ticket, as in Rhode Island, to elect one of their own, Aram Pothien, as governor or to distinguish themselves from the Irish who usually voted the Democratic ticket, as in Worcester, Massachusetts. Brault adds, however, that no recent comprehensive study has addressed the issue of historical voting patterns for the group at large.

Patterns usually take into account religious and economic considerations, with French-Canadian Americans choosing the candidate who, on these two counts, is most supportive of their views. In addition to being involved in local politics— Maine alone boasts of more than Franco-American mayors and state legislators in a single century.

According to Brault, there have been a number of Franco-Americans in state and federal politics as well. Aram J. Pothier , a Republican, was chosen governor of Rhode Island in and served two terms, from to and from to Sansoucy from to and Philip W. Jean-Claude Boucher was also a senator.

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Journalist Antonio Prince made a run for the senate in as a Democratic candidate, but was not successful. Georgette Berube of Lewiston, Maine, a member of the state legislature, also made a run in the Democratic primary of June , but was defeated. Among those who have been elected U. Forand with two terms, and ; and Fernand J. D'Amours from Belisle was named Consul to Limoges in Franco-Americans have served in all of the major wars, including the American Revolution; some French-Canadian Americans are believed to have fought for American independence.

There are also many tales of French Canadians being tricked into enlisting in the Union Army. After being offered jobs in the United States and given gifts of money, many signed a document they could not read and travelled south only to find themselves put in uniform and bullied into taking part in the Civil War. For many who survived, it was a natural decision to stay in the United States, and if they were married, they sent for their families as soon as they were able. It was captured on film by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal.

Gagnon survived the battle and returned from the war to settle in Hooksett, New Hampshire. Because of the proximity of Canada—at least to the large pockets of French-Canadian Americans in New England—many French Canadians in the United States still have strong ties to their home country. However, family ties seem to diminish with each passing generation: many third- and fourth-generation French-Canadian Americans have lost touch with relatives who stayed in Canada. He published the first installment of Story of Civilization in , and the tenth volume, entitled Rousseau and Revolution co-written with his wife Ariel , won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.

Her doctoral thesis dealt with the role of the press in the evolution of the Franco-Americans of New England. He was awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur by the French government in Brault — was born in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts. A specialist in the Middle Ages, he is also interested in the language and culture of Franco-Americans.

Claire Quintal — is a professor of French at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, as well as the founding director of its French Institute. Under her direction, the Institute has organized 11 colloquia, publishing the proceedings of these between and He starred in The Vagabond Lover and later on television. Hyacinthe cemetery. She starred for many years in the Ziegfeld Follies. Paul Bunyan who had a blue bull named "Babe" was a French Canadian made famous by the loggers of Michigan.