Greetings! This is my blog dedicated to this semester’s project about migration in America. The students of the class have been tasked with selecting a particular group or focal point in our local area and researching it. I attend school at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, MA. This small town was once a booming center of industry, home to many factories, and an important transportation checkpoint for goods. After many of the factories shut down, North Adams was forced to evolve into a college town and a haven for artists. It is home to MCLA as well as Mass Moca (one of the largest museums of modern art in America).
In learning about the history of the area, several groups came to my attention. One the largest groups were the Irish factory workers. There was also the group of Chinese strikebreakers, but I have discounted these since very few remained in the area for more than two years. I also considered a more modern focus, revolving around Mass Moca. Who comes to the area to create or view art, and who remains? However, this would be incredibly hard to research as Mass Moca was only established in the 1990s. My partner expressed a desire to research the Irish factory workers, and believes that they will be the easiest group to research.
I want to keep several questions in mind this semester; who are the people of my area? Why did they come here? Did they make a permanent home here? How did the number of migrants vary over time? What cultural effects did their migration have of my area? Who are their descendants? What echos of the past can be detected in modern North Adams?