By July 1, 1912, the community on Maine’s Malaga Island ceased to exist. The State of Maine had evicted the mixed-race community of fisherman and laborers in order to clear the small coastal island of “It’s Shiftless Population of Half-Breed Blacks and Whites”, as one 1911 newspaper article described it. The mixed-race community was controversial in the state; many people saw the island as an ugly mark on the pristine beauty of Maine’s coast. After years of well-publicized legal battles, the state succeeded in removing the community of around forty people, committing eight to the Maine School for the Feeble Minded. By the end of 1912, all visible traces of the community disappeared – houses were moved and the cemetery was exhumed.
The Malaga Island, Fragmented Lives exhibition at the Maine State Museum is now closed. But, you can continue to explore the island’s history through this website, which includes a variety of historical photographs and pictures of artifacts, as well as detailed information about Malaga Island and its people.
Click on the links at left to explore the history of the Malaga Island community.
Historic Images of Malaga Island