The Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn College presents “First Franco: Albert Beliveau in Law, Politics and Love” with Douglas Rooks and Severin Beliveau, Esq. SYSTEM

The Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn College will present “First Franco: Albert Beliveau in Law, Politics and Love” with Douglas Rooks and Severin Beliveau, Esq., from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, as the second event of its Spring 2021 Zoom series.

Rooks, author of “First Franco: Albert Beliveau in Law, Politics and Love,” and Albert Beliveau’s son, Severin Beliveau, founding partner of Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios, will present readings from the book and discuss Albert’s life and achievements. The first reading will be about Albert’s childhood in Lewiston. His parents, Severin and Cedulie, migrated separately from Quebec, married in Lewiston, and had nine children, six of whom survived to adulthood. It was a childhood of poverty and little schooling, yet Cedulie saw something special in her oldest child.

From Chapter 1: Cedulie was even more important to Albert than her traditional homemaking role might suggest; mothers were often referred to as the “ruling force” in Franco households. Despite the family’s meager financial circumstances, she encouraged her only surviving son to take a different path than his father. Because money was often short, Cedulie, like the children, worked in the mills part-time, and after a long day, she often returned with swollen feet. Albert prepared basins of hot water to ease her pain; he also helped with the laundry, an unusual role for sons.

Next, Severin Beliveau will talk about his father’s approach to the community he came from, combining a fierce pride in his heritage, as well as an understanding that political and legal success would depend on his acceptance within the dominant Anglo culture. After Severin’s presentation there will be a question-and-answer period.

The final reading will be about congressional politics in Lewiston. Albert Beliveau was more successful in reaching his goals in the law than in politics. But he waged two spirited campaigns for Congress in 1928 and 1930, with Lewiston as his base of support, and had the satisfaction of seeing a close friend, Carl Moran of Rockland, win the 2nd District seat in 1932 amid the national Roosevelt and Democratic landslide.

Beliveau to a supporter: “You know, of course, of the dire results in this district. The reason for it, and I know this from my travels over the district in the last two weeks, is the rank religious prejudice which exists in most places in the state of Maine.”

The event will close with a final question-and-answer period, including “how this book came to be.”

Rooks is the author of two previous books, “Statesman: George Mitchell and the Art of the Possible” (Down East Books, 2016) and “Rise, Decline and Renewal: The Democratic Party in Maine” (Hamilton Books, 2018.)

He has served as editorial page editor for the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, editor and publisher of Maine Times, and has covered state government and politics for 36 years, currently as State House correspondent for the Portland Phoenix.

His political columns appear in four daily newspapers, including the Times Record and Portsmouth Herald, and he is the recipient of numerous national and regional awards. A graduate magna cum laude of Colby College, he lives with his wife, Labrador retriever and coon cat in a 215-year-old farmhouse in West Gardiner.

The free programs are made possible by a grant from the Québec Delegation in Boston.

All programs are archived at https://video.maine.edu/channel/Franco-American%2BCollection%2BHistory%2Band%2BMemory%2BVirtual%2BSeries/186544603. A full listing of the Franco-American Collection’s 2020-2021 programs is also available there.

The third program in the series will be “Making the Invisible Visible: Bringing a Franco-American Perspective to the Stage and Page,” with author Susan Poulin. Poulin’s Zoom talk will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, March 8.

For more information or to register, contact Denis Ledoux, FAC board program chair, at [email protected] or FAC’s archivist Anna Faherty at [email protected] or by phone, 207-753-6545. Those interested can also register at https://maine.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMlcOqtrz8qE9FqpRN69p_MgEluxBxQ68gj.