Irish Immigrants

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Date Submitted: 09/16/2010 08:56 AM

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The Potato Famine of 1845-1851, was one of the harshest disasters in Irish history. This began the greatest departure of Irish immigrants to the United States. The famine, caused devastation to the land, starvation, and death throughout the country. The potato was the Irish’s main source of food. Without their crops they had no choice but to migrate to other countries. If they stayed they would starve to death. Roughly 1.5 million individuals died of starvation and almost 1.7 million Irish immigrated to the United States. (Rapple, 2009). In the United States the Irish immigrants encountered racism, discrimination, and prejudice. Segregation for the Irish immigrants began immediately. Once they arrived off the boats, the Irish were forced to stay put in the port area because of no money, sickness, and weakness. Many Americans considered the Irish as dirty, stupid, and lazy (Daw, 2006).

Redlining, discrimination of housing was faced by the Irish immigrants (Axia College, 2006, Week Two supplement). Their living conditions were devastating. The Irish were only allowed to live among other Irish people. Rundown, filthy and small, the rooms the Irish families shared created disease and crime (Daw, 2009).

Dual labor market discrimination, the separation of two areas of employment, was a familiar place for the Irish immigrants (Axia College, 2006, Week Two supplement). Only the lowest paying, unskilled jobs were made available to them. The railroad would advertise “good pay,” but when mostly Irish applied the pay decreased (Rapple, 2009). There was no room for job security or training (Daw, 2009). Unfortunate discrimination against the Irish became acceptable. Many job posters and newspaper ads ended with “No Irish Need Apply.” When the workers protested, the militia was called in to force the men to accept (Rapple, 2009).

Institutional discrimination, the denial of opportunities to groups because of their race and...