AUGUSTA — Kennebec Historical Society will host “First Franco: Albert Beliveau in Law, Politics and Love,” a Facebook live presentation, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 21.

Former Chief Justice Dan Wathen and Severin Beliveau, partner in Preti Flaherty and former legislator and gubernatorial candidate, will take part in the talk.

Albert Beliveau, 1919. Contributed photo

Author Douglas Rooks will read passages about Gov. Ed Muskie’s dramatic and surprising decision concerning Albert Beliveau’s attempt in 1956 to become the first Franco-American chief justice, and its aftermath 14 years later.

This restoration of the life of one of Maine’s most prominent 20th century Franco-Americans includes themes of enduring and contemporary interest, including discrimination against the state’s largest ethnic and religious demographic, immigration restrictions, World War I and the pandemic of 1918.

Beliveau, who grew up poor in Lewiston and Rumford, surmounted many obstacles to graduate first in his law school class, and played pioneering roles as a county attorney, Congressional nominee, Maine Superior Court and Supreme Court justice. This new biography is an accompaniment to the pandemic-delayed celebration of Maine’s bicentennial.

Douglas Rooks Contributed photo

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 the Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel, Times Record and Portsmouth Herald, and he is the recipient of numerous national and regional awards.

To view this presentation, head to the KHS Facebook page, facebook.com/KHS1891. The video will air live and will be available to watch later. Questions can be submitted in the comments during the live video presentation.

For more information about the program, call Scott Wood, executive director, at 207-622-7718.

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