Somali Bantu farmer in Maine
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African refugees who call America's whitest state home

Maine is the least diverse state in the US - 96.9% of the population describe themselves as white - but a growing community of African immigrants now call it home.

In 2001, several Somali families moved to Lewiston, a city of 30,000 in a rural part of the state. Today there are approximately 6,000, of which 1,000 are Somali Bantus.

Bantus - who trace their origins to Tanzania and Mozambique, and are ethnically, physically and culturally distinct from Somalis - fled conflict at home in the 1990s.

In 2003, the US accepted 12,000 refugees in what was described by US authorities as the most ambitious resettlement programme ever from Africa.

But the transition to American life has not been easy. And local politicians and residents have also raised questions about how the influx of immigrants has changed their community over the past decade.

Produced by the BBC's Matt Danzico, Pramod Morjaria and Salim Kikeke

  • 12 Sep 2012
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