The Mayflower Pilgrims as refugee immigrants to North America

Immigrants or Colonists?

A lot of debate and passion is offered every Thanksgiving season in the USA about whether the Pilgrims should be remembered in any kind of noble way. Didn’t they help lead the white European invasion of Native American culture and sovereignty? Or, were they persecuted refugees looking for a safer land where they could be free, like many immigrants in the world today?

This Thanksgiving lesson for English learners (usually immigrants themselves) includes the above cartoon’s humorous take on the Native American view of the Pilgrims’ arrival in the New World and echoes the debates of our modern headlines.

In this interview with the author of The Mayflower: the Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America, Rebecca Fraser, says:

“As I was writing this book, the plight of refugees coming from the Middle East and Africa began to be very visible in Europe.

The parallel for me was that a lot of these people are like the Pilgrims – many had professional qualifications in their own countries.

Today’s refugees are surgeons and doctors and lawyers who have nothing to show their status in their home country. One of the most important Pilgrim leaders was an ex-diplomat who descended from a long line of members of Parliament, and many others came from wealthy families…

But the downside of Leiden was that the Pilgrims had to abandon their homes and work for Dutch cloth manufacturers who exploited them. Spending 12 hours at their looms was normal.

And like most refugees, they were living in pretty unpleasant circumstances because they had very little money.”

Fraser goes on to address the question of the Native Americans and the Pilgrims’ relationships with them:

“You can’t attribute the abuse of native peoples for centuries to the Pilgrims. The first generation of colonists were very respectful of their new neighbors and also very dependent on them.”

In this day and age, the best way to know is to listen to the voices of those who made the journey. We try to listen to the views of our countrymen, and to the views of refugees and immigrants. One way to hear the voice of the “Pilgrim Fathers” and their motives for coming to the New World is to read the arc of their story in One Candle’s Light: The Thanksgiving Story You Never Knew. 

Website for Mayflower Pilgrims Historical novel re-designed with 2020 in mind

 We are pleased to announce that this website for One Candle’s Light, the historical novel about the Pilgrims’ journey from England to Holland and then the New World, has been updated and re-designed as of July 2019. 

This upgrade includes a valid security certificate, a mobile friendly version and direct sales of the book online. Order paperback copies of Fay’s book from the website for $25.95, shipping included by clicking here.

New and Used paperback copies are also available on Amazon for various prices and from various booksellers, including our stock of new copies of Fay’s book under the name “Pilgrim Fathers,” for $26.35 plus $3.99 shipping.

 (If you are in the Gainesville, Florida area, Fay’s book can be checked out at the Alachua County Library District and a copy will be available to purchase at Book Gallery West. Ask for the book by title/author.)




Links to Mayflower 400 celebrations and articles

Here are just a few sites where the Mayflower Landing 400th Anniversary celebrations are being mentioned: 

America’s Hometown Thanksgiving

General Society of Mayflower Descendants – 2020 Commemoration Events and Mayflower Congress

London Unattached

The Mayflower 400 Group (UK)

New England Historic Genealogy Newsletter

Plymouth Rock Foundation – 400th Anniversary of Pilgrims Journey to the New World

Time to make your plans to celebrate the first immigrants to the New World who actually made friends with Native Americans, and welcomed people of all faiths and stripes into their community.*


*To read more about this and other facts, click here: 

How do the Pilgrims relate to immigrants today?



Copies of “One Candle’s Light” now available from author only

In anticipation of the 400th celebration, we have 400 print copies available of One Candle’s Lightthe Thanksgiving story you never knew.*

*Update (November 2018): Early this year, the publisher (Oak Tara) released all rights back to author Fay Alexander, and allowed one last print order to be made of the corrected version published by Oak Tara Publishers (2009).

There are no longer Kindle versions nor new print copies from the original publisher available on Amazon. We are looking into updating our links and signing up to sell our copies on Amazon soon…

If you are interested in buying a copy of One Candle’s Light, please click on the Contact Fay tab on this website with your query.

Here is Fay’s Author page on

2020: 400th Anniversary of Mayflower Landing

Breaking news: In 2020, the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims will be 400 years old!

Big preparations to celebrate are underway on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean!

Check out these links and make your plans!

The General Society of Mayflower Descendants (USA)

The Mayflower 400 group  (UK)

In anticipation of the 400th celebration, we have 400 print copies available of One Candle’s Lightthe Thanksgiving story you never knew.*

Continue reading “2020: 400th Anniversary of Mayflower Landing” »