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Ph.D student Marc Sanko publishes in Michigan Historical Review

Ph.D.student Marc Sanko published an article in the Fall 2017 publication of The Michigan Historicial Review. His article, "Gift of Empire: Maltese Migrants to Detroit, 1919-1924," (The Michigan Historical Review Vol. 43, No. 2, Fall 2017). This article came from research for Sanko's dissertation, which he successfully defended this fall. 

"Gift of Empire" explores the advantages Maltese immigrant brought with them when they settled into Detroit. These advantages stemmed directly from British influence on the island. Malta was swept into World War I on the wing of British imperialism and they experienced a radical economic transformation. British demand for highly trained workers in the shipyards able to repair British vessels of war led to an economic explosion on the island. Yet after the war, over ten thousand Maltese were left unemployed and sought the economic security of the United States. 

For the majority of these skilled laborers, Detroit called to them. Drawn by the promise of high wages for skilled labor, thousands settled in the city taking up jobs with the auto giants, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. In addition to a specific industrial skill set, the Maltese came armed, in most cases, with basic English language abilities, once again thanks to the rule of the British Empire. By using these "gifts of empire," the Maltese adapted to their new lives in North America in ways other Southern European Catholics could not achieve.

The stories of the Muliett family demonstrates the migration experience. Francesca and Lawrence Muliett (first image below) migrated in roughly 1925. The father of the home is Emmanuel Muliett (second image below), who migrated to Detroit in April 1920 where he began work at Chrysler Motor Company as an electrician. His wife and son joined him in Detroit in 1926. According to Sanko, they represent a very typical story, where the man comes over with a skilled trade, gets a job and establishes a home and then sends for the wife and family. Sometimes they did have to wait to pass through the quota for several years.