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Lost Opportunities: The Troubled History of African American and Irish Relations

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, March 15, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1CV011
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Manhattan Draft Riots, armed rioters clashing with Union Army soldiers, 1863

The individual histories of African Americans and Irish Americans have each been fraught with discrimination and hardship. Despite both groups having faced oppression and societal scorn as second-class citizens, they often found themselves at odds during the 19th century, with the competition for housing and jobs creating racial tensions.

The commonalities of African Americans and Irish Americans in social status and economic standing could have set the two groups as allies, but the divide that ensued destroyed this likely union. While the Irish seized the opportunity they were presented to assimilate, African Americans continued to face racial prejudice and violence, sometimes even at the hands of the Irish, despite the relationships of abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and Daniel O’Connell.

Join historian Christopher Brooks as he discusses the parallel histories of African Americans and Irish Americans, the unlikely kinship of abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Daniel O’Connell, and how natural allies became historical rivals.

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