The State of Maine and the Ku Klux Klan. It’s an improbable antithesis, but not only did the KKK take root in Maine in the 1920s, the group’s first daylight parade in America was held Sept. 3, 1923, in nearby Milo. The parade made newspaper headlines across the country, heralding the possibility of “klaverns” across the Northern states.

This astonishing time in Maine’s history, left out of textbooks for nearly 100 years, will be explored by author Mark Alan Leslie as part of Thompson Free Library’s Bicentennial Speaker Series at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 18.

“Milo, Dexter, Newport and Bangor-Brewer were hotbeds of KKK activity in the 1920s,” Leslie said. “I’m certain that when the Klan held its first state conclave in a forest outside Waterville in 1923, some from this area were among the 15,000 who attended.”

Indeed, the Klan reached such heights that it helped elect Governor Ralph Owen Brewster, the mayors of Rockland, Saco, Bath and Westbrook, the Speaker of the Maine House and a number of other political and law-enforcement leaders.

An estimated 19 percent of the state’s population supported the Southern-based secret society, Leslie said, adding, “While few African-Americans lived in Maine at that time, the KKK’s targets were French-Canadians, Catholics and Irish and Polish immigrants as well as Jews.

In his talk “Maine Burning: The Ku Klux Klan Invasion” Leslie will tell the tale of the extraordinary rise and fall of this organization which, now and again, still makes headlines in Maine today.

This event is free and open to the public. To participate, join the Zoom meeting online at: https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/84237161160 (Meeting ID: 842 3716 1160) You can also dial in by phone at: 1-646-876-9923.

The Crossing by Mark Alan Leslie

The Monmouth resident’s fictional novel, The Crossing, is a sweeping — and ultimately uplifting — look at the KKK’s impact on a small western Maine town in 1923.

The AFA Journal called Leslie “a seasoned wordsmith…in the class of John Grisham” and the Midwest Book Review termed his insights into world politics and culture “staggering and frighteningly realistic.”

Leslie earned Featured Book status from Publishers Weekly for his 2015 book, True North: Tice’s Story, a novel about the Underground Railroad in Maine.

Interested in philosophy, Hindu spirituality, or how to plan for a successful life and smooth transition to end of life? Join us on Tuesday, December 10 at 5:30 pm as Dr. Krishna Bhatta speaks on the topic of “Achieving Higher Purpose” and his new book Journey from Life to Life. Dr. Bhatta is an author, surgeon and an inventor, currently practicing as chief of urology at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine.

About the Book:

Journey from Life to Life demystifies the underlying principles of life and death, one of the world’s most thought about existential questions. Dr. Krishna Bhatta meets Western readers where they are, providing an accessible, easy entry into even the most sophisticated aspects of eastern teachings.

In this book, Dr. Bhatta offers:

  • Insights into the nature of the human soul and its journey
  • Practical advice on what to do with our spiritual understanding
  • An understanding of the importance of planning for a successful life, smooth transition to end of life and the journey beyond
  • Answers to the question, “Can I plan for the next life too?”

Journey from Life to Life is an open hand extended in invitation. Join the expedition and let Dr. Krishna Bhatta be your guide. Seek the unseen world and find joys in this life and beyond.

About the Author:

Dr. Bhatta began his life in a small Indian village, attended Patna Medical College in India, continued his education in the UK, and completed his research & medical training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Bhatta is equal parts practical and spiritual; he speaks and writes on meditation and spiritual topics, and frequently travels across the globe to meditate at holy sites and speak with luminaries from various spiritual traditions. He lives in Maine with his wife, Nayantara, who is an OB/GYN and their two children, also physicians.

 

Thursday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 pm holistic wellness teacher Alicia Randolph-Lucchesi talks about her book, Transformation 101—Your Guide to Empowerment in Just 3 Weeks.

She’ll discuss the keys to better health and self-improvement focusing on sleep, exercise, meditation, time management, nutrition, and nourishing all of our senses. As Alicia puts it, “There is a middle road between medicine and nature and I’m here to help you find it.”

Join us on Thursday, September 5 at 5:30 pm to meet Maine mystery writers Maureen Milliken and Sandra Neily!

Sandra Neily has been a registered Maine guide and whitewater river outfitter. Maureen Milliken spent more than 30 years a journalist for northern New England newspapers, including in Maine. Both are mystery writers whose books focus on the Maine outdoors. They both have strong-willed female protagonists and, in each of their most recent books, horrible things happen to people in the woods. But there is where the similarities end. Find out how Maine and its northern outdoors informs the work of two mystery writers and how they came to their unique approach to mysteries in Maine’s outdoors.

About the Authors

SANDRA NEILY is a Maine native whose varied career has included working as a registered Maine guide as well as a whitewater river outfitter. An avid outdoorswoman who loves woods, waters, and wildlife, Sandra has paddled, fished, hiked, and skied all over the beautiful state of Maine, and enjoys transporting readers into the places she knows so well. Sandra is the winner of the Mystery Writers of America Helen McCloy National award, as well as a finalist for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association’s Rising Star Contest, and a finalist in the Maine Writers and Publishers’ 2018 Maine Literary Awards competition. Sandy lives in the Moosehead Lake region.

Sandra’s upcoming book, “Deadly Turn,” is due out this fall after being delayed by cancer and cancer treatment, and in a way informed it, Sandra says. As her most recent book, “Deadly Trespass,” opens, Cassandra Patton Conover is about to become an outlaw. Searching for her wayward dog in Maine’s dense woods, she finds her best friend Shannon crushed under a tree. Then she finds tracks larger than any animal she knows and a mystery only wild animals can help her solve .

MAUREEN MILLIKEN is a long-time journalist both in Maine and northern New England, and returned to Maine, where she grew up, in 2011 because she didn’t want to live anywhere else. Her three-book Bernie O’Dea mystery series, which is set in Franklin County, Maine, is based both on her love of journalism and her love of Maine.  Maureen lives in central Maine and the book she’s working on now is a stand-alone based in Piscataquis County.

In Maureen’s latest book, “Bad News Travels Fast,” Appalachian Trail thru-hiker Lydia Manzo becomes lost in the woods then is found dead, setting off a chain of events that upsets the fragile peace of Redimere, Maine. While state investigators are sure Lydia killed herself, some in Redimere are sure someone killed her. As newspaper editor Bernadette “Bernie” O’Dea tries to sort out the truth, Police Chief Pete Novotny disappears, too.

Aislinn Sarnacki, outdoors columnist for the Bangor Daily News, will speak about her latest book, “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine,” at the Thompson Free Library on Thursday, August 29 at 6:00 pm.

About the author: Aislinn Sarnacki is a reporter for the Bangor Daily News, as well as the author of the “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine,” “Maine Hikes Off the Beaten Path,” and “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine.” For the BDN, Aislinn produces stories and columns about outdoor recreation, especially hiking. She also writes weekly stories about Maine wildlife, conservation and outdoor recreation, which she often supplements with videos and photos. Originally from Winterport, Maine, she graduated from the University of Maine in Orono with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

About “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” (Down East Books, 2019): “Today, more and more people travel with their pets, taking their beloved four-legged friends everywhere. Yet, it can still be sometimes difficult to find a park or hiking trail that’s dog-friendly. Bangor Daily News outdoors columnist Aislinn Sarnacki presents 35 hikes around Maine that you can feel comfortable taking your dog on.

Along with maps and color photos to detail the hikes, she includes practical information such as proper etiquette to observe with your canine companion and when it’s okay to let your pet off the leash. She also rounds out with helpful suggestions on dog-friendly restaurants, hotels, parks, and beaches, so you and your furry friend can make the most of your time in the Maine outdoors.”