Author Karen Foresti Hempson will discuss her new creative non-fiction book “Bean Pickers: American Immigrant Portraits,” at 5:30 p.m. June 5 at the Oneida County History Center, 1608 Genesee St. in Utica.
The book has eight true-life portrayals that focus on the struggles and triumphs of Italian-Americans who begin their American lives as summer bean pickers. Compelling personal stories of the 20th century immigration wave, the Great Depression, Prohibition, and World War II are brought to life as each character demonstrates their determination to seek a better life.
A chapter on the Utica’s refugee center, along with Mayor Rob Palmieri’s support of newcomers in the 21st century, serves as reminders of the critical roles that immigrants play in building a strong and welcoming nation.
The program is in the center’s main gallery. Books will be available for purchase following the program.
Hempson earned finalist status for her book in the 2017 international William Faulkner-William Wisdom Writing Competition, and honorable mention in the Vinnie Reams Writing Competition. She compiled her immigrant family’s authentic artifacts and personal narratives to compose her first creative nonfiction book. A native of New Hartford, Foresti Hempson taught for 40 years in Cortland and is retired in Skaneateles with her husband and her nearby family of two married daughters and grandchildren.
The Oneida County History Center, formerly the Oneida County Historical Society, is a private not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to preserving history and promoting the culture of the Greater Mohawk Valley.
Admission to this program is free for the general public; donations are encouraged.
Contact the center at 315-735-3642 or go online to www.oneidacountyhistory.org or Facebook.com for additional information.