Irish American Segregation

Last Updated: 25 May 2023
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In the 1960’s and 1970’s there was a lot of different types of segregation throughout the world, particularly in the United States. The more people immigrated here the worse the segregation became. One particular group that I was interested in learning about was my ancestors the Irish-Americans. They faced a lot of segregation just for the fact that they were Irish and they were not born in the United States. But it was not just the fact that they were not born here because even the Irish-Americans who were born here were discriminated against just because of where their parents or grandparents came from.

The Irish after the civil rights movement with Dr. Martin Luther King held the same type of movement to be able to gain their rights. But it was all ended with a massacre in Northern Ireland that killed 14 civilians who were participating in a peaceful march to gain their civil freedoms. Many of the Irish who had immigrated to American for freedom were held at the same standards as they were in their own country and that was as low class citizens. They were discriminated against as bad as the African Americans even though there were laws that were supposed to protect them from this type of treatment.

Many Irish-Americans who were being treated unfairly held protests and hunger strikes but not until things got to the extremes was the problem resolved and even then it was only a temporary solution. Many times the segregation was used in housing, jobs and a very large portion in education. The children in schools were treated differently just because they were not from America. The start of the immigration of The Irish to the American was for a new chance and then years later it was due to the failure of the potato crop in Ireland.

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Many of the Irish–Americans lived in devastating amounts of poverty and tried to find any work they could but with many people not trusting the Irish-Americans they refused to hire them. The Irish were not only an ethnic group but they were a Religious Minority Group at least until the end of the civil war. After the civil war because of their great numbers in the north they were able to turn the tides and were no longer a minority. They took control of government among other things. They went from being one of the most discriminated against free Americans to having an Irish-American being resident.

“Thomas Beer identifies reasons why many were prejudiced against the Irish. The American Protective Association feared that the Irish were making America a Papal state: priests were allowed to ride trains free in California and Irish aldermen had attempted to fund parochial schools with funds from the city treasury. ” This is just a small example in ways that the Irish-Americans were treated differently in America. Once they started earning their rights back they abused that power to get the things that they wanted.

All the Irish-Americans in society were then discriminated and segregated from society once again. Because many Irish-Americans were abusing their rights and setting trends that made a stereotype for the other Irish-Americans, all Irish-Americans were treated that way. They were then back to being told “No Irish Need Apply” when they went looking for work and the only place that did not have that sign posted was the United States Army recruiting offices. They did not care if you were from here just as long as you were a citizen you could find work in the army.

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Irish American Segregation. (2017, Apr 03). Retrieved from

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