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Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:44 PM

Miracle On An Orphan Train To Arizona

In late 19th & early 20th century New York, newly arrived Irish Catholics
were considered low-class by other ethnically “Anglo-Saxon” groups,
such as German, English, & Dutch, who were mostly Protestant.

“Low-class” is perhaps too mild a term. The Irish were considered hardly
better than Negroes, whom most whites believed were sub-human. Odd
as it may seem to us today, the fair-skinned, blonde or red-headed Irish
were not considered white in an era when white supremacy was a given.

Consequently, migrants from the Emerald Island faced horrific discrimination.
“Irish need not apply” was a common sign in the windows of many Eastern
businesses. The Irish in New York City languished in hopeless poverty, where
they had inferior housing, food, medical treatment, and education (if at all).

Moreover, there seemed to be no end to the number of Irish street urchins.
The orphanages run by Catholic nuns could not accommodate them all.
Public records show that about 150 Irish children were abandoned every month
and there were not nearly enough adoptive homes in the area to save them
from a hellish life on New York City streets.


The Miracle

What the nuns apparently did not realize was that the long, hot, arduous
train ride across this vast United States had miraculously transformed
their despised Irish charges into superior “white” children.


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Ptah Nov 2012 OP
monmouth3 Nov 2012 #1
NOLALady Nov 2012 #2

Response to Ptah (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:55 PM

1. Very interesting article. My grandfather was subjected to "Irish Need Not Apply." I think it

killed him...

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Response to Ptah (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:24 PM

2. My husband

has an ancestor born c.1795. He's consistently listed as a fpoc in early references. In my research I found that he listed his birthplace as well as his parents birthplace as Ireland.
Even now books refer to him as a fpoc assuming African ancestry.

When I voiced my confusion to a local historian, she reminded me that the Irish were not considered white at that time. This is why he was able to marry a fwoc.

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