Lewiston, a mill town of about thirty-six thousand people, is the second-largest city in Maine. It is also home to some three thousand Somali refugees. After initially being resettled in larger cities elsewhere, Somalis began to arrive in Lewiston by the dozens, then the hundreds, after hearing stories of Maine’s attractions through family networks. Today, cross-cultural interactions are reshaping the identities of Somalis—and adding new chapters to the immigrant history of Maine.
Somalis in Maine offers a kaleidoscope of voices that situate the story of Somalis’ migration to Lewiston within a larger cultural narrative. Combining academic analysis with refugees’ personal stories, this anthology includes reflections on leaving Somalia, the experiences of Somali youth in U.S. schools, the reasons for Somali secondary migration to Lewiston, the employment of many Lewiston Somalis at Maine icon L. L. Bean, and community dialogues with white Mainers. Somalis in Maine seeks to counter stereotypes of refugees as being socially dependent and unable to assimilate, to convey the richness and diversity of Somali culture, and to contribute to a greater understanding of the intertwined futures of Somalis and Americans.