Tagged with " immigrants"
18 Dec
Posted in: Diversity
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Mayor Wilmot Collins


Mayor Wilmot Collins, Helena MT

Mayor Wilmot Collins. (Photo: Christian Science Monitor, Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff)

This story inspired me and touched my heart especially since it describes the amazing accomplishments of the man who serves as mayor of the capital of Montana, my home state, and a state that holds the distinction of never before having a black mayor since it became a state. Read all about Mayor Collins here:

Wilmot Collins’s back story includes escaping the civil war in Liberia, only to end up homeless in Ghana without permission to join his new wife in the U.S. After a miracle connection, he began the arduous process of completing the bureaucratic hurdles to come to the United States.

Now almost 25 years later he is not only the mayor of Helena, Montana, his part-time job, but he also serves as a child protection specialist in his “day job”. In addition, he holds leadership positions in the community– coaching soccer, singing in his Methodist church choir, serving on the board of the United Way, joining the National Guard.

Wilmot Collins stands in stark contrast to the voices of hatred who shout their resistance to allowing immigrants into our country as we have for generations. I have written about diversity as a hope for the future and love as a public ethic. Collins’s visibility and accomplishments demonstrate hope in the potential of immigrants who give back to their communities in gratitude by “channeling their fortitude forged by tribulation into education, community work and public service.” As we hear the heated conversation, hateful slurs and unrealistic fears of immigration critics, we can remind ourselves of the love and enthusiasm of Wilmot Collins, “who has overcome a tumultuous past and is trying to make the most of his future in an adopted land.” I appreciate the residents in Montana who volunteer and offer a loving hand to welcome immigrants from African and Middle Eastern countries who have resettled there. Their actions out-shine their critics.

1 Sep
Posted in: Book Reviews
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Book Review: “Dakota: Or What’s a Heaven For” by Brenda K. Marshall

Dakota, by Brenda K. MarshallReviewed by Bev Scott

This complex historic epic brings together politicians, the Northern Pacific Railroad, land-hungry men, European immigrants, especially Kristen and her family from Norway, with the main protagonist Frances Bingham in the Dakota Territory of the late nineteenth century. Frances is married to Percy, an educated but lazy man addicted to his flask of brandy. They live in Mr. John Bingham’s house (Percy’s father), with his disabled sister Anna, who Frances admires and longs for unconventional intimacy. Kristen, who becomes the housekeeper, offers her naive observations directly to the reader which reveal many hidden truths of the story. Frances manipulates the members of the household to achieve her own desires only to find in the end that she is rejected, turned away and without any means of support. The story describes the political and economic intrigue and greed which drives the personal and social lives of the Bingham family while crushing many poor immigrant farmers.

The characters are finely drawn by Marshall, leaving the reader with a sense of personal knowledge of not only their behavior but also their motivations, emotions, and secret longings. The descriptions of the landscape provide a photographic image of the Dakota Territory at the time. The tales of manipulation and the exercise of power by the political and economic elite offer a fascinating historic context despite the sometimes boring descriptions.

I found this book to be engaging and engrossing. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and is willing to learn from the complex historic context of the story.

Author: Brenda K. Marshall

11 Apr
Posted in: Book Reviews
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Book Review: “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline


Reviewed by Bev Scott

Two young girls both long for family and acceptance.  Yet their young experiences are separated by almost eighty years.  Vivian, a young abandoned Irish immigrant is sent on the train to the uncertainty of the rural mid-west in hopes of finding a loving home.  Much later in her life, while living on the Maine coast in a quiet peaceful existence, Molly comes to help Vivian sort through her possessions and keepsakes.  Molly is seventeen and living in foster homes.  An outsider as a Penobscot Indian, she reluctantly agrees to help Vivian in order to stay out of juvenile hall.  Molly discovers that she and Vivian have more in common than she imagined.

The story is told by the author moving back and forth between present-day Maine and the depression years in Minnesota.  The engaging story describes a seldom acknowledged treatment in U.S. history of abandoned and orphaned children.

Author website:


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