Rhea Côté Robbins

Contact: rhea.robbins@maine.edu

Rhea Côté Robbins was brought up bilingually in a Franco-American neighborhood in Waterville, Maine known as 'down the Plains.' She is the author of several books of creative nonfiction. She is a founder and Executive Director of the Franco-American Women's Institute which promotes awareness about the contributions of Franco-American women to the culture, their families and their communities. She developed and taught several courses for the University of Maine offered through the Franco-American, Women & Gender, and University Studies. 

Among other topics, Rhea can speak about Camille Lessard Bissonnette, a leading Franco-American suffragist who wrote regularly for Le Messager, the French language newspaper in Lewiston. Camille carried on an important bi-cultural, bi-border conversation about suffrage between the women of Maine and Quebec. And as a recent immigrant, she gave voice to the larger issues for immigrants and their struggle for full civil rights. Consequently, Camille set the stage for many French heritage women of Maine who have followed in her footsteps and have increased opportunities for all Maine women. Rhea Cote Robbins will present on these aspects of why it is important to take into consideration the Franco-American woman’s perspective on suffrage and beyond.