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Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition

   Voices: Modern Americans on Acceptance.

A sample of public statements and interview responses.

  1. "When my uncle gave his name (Irish) during a job interview, the first thing out of the interviewer's mouth was, " Do you drink?" [Irish American religious, retired] (See DeLa Salle Christian Brothers Interview)

  2. "My father looked as if he was anything but a "Negro". We stopped together at a restaurant to eat. They wanted to serve him, but not me." [African - Irish American writer ] (See James McGowan Interview)

  3. "You worked with different kinds but returned to your own at night. Each culture had its own club. You were taught to stick to your own kind and I did and so did my husband." [Irish American, born in Ireland. Retired.] (See The Corcorans Interview)

  4. "Freedom still embraces subtleties of attitude which make one suspect about attitudes of people." [African American School Superintendent, retired]

  5. "The Irish always took care of their own through organizations like the Knights of Columbus and did not bother with other groups." [Irish American, born in Ireland. Retired]

  6. "Irish Americans seldom invite African Americans into their personal lives. I attended the funeral of a prominent Connecticut Irish American politician and was the only black person there. [Jamaican American Minister] (See Hopeton Scott Interview)

  7. "If you needed anything and we had it, you got it. We kept our word; we looked for you to keep yours." [Harry Payne, African American construction worker, retired] (See Harry Payne Interview)

  8. "Sensitivity to color is a socially imposed filter because I can not be certain of acceptance. One example is institutionalized racism in language. [ African American College Administrator] (See Larri Mazon Interview)

  9. "Irish Americans who write stories about the Irish being dirty or ignorant aren't telling the truth. I don't believe that Irish immigrants ever fought against African Americans. Not my Irish." [Irish American Teacher]

  10. "There is a tendency on the part of some African Americans to feel proprietary about their history and experience. Sometimes, we (African Americans) are just not ready to hear about anybody else's pain." [African American Magazine Editor]

  11. It's evident that Irish and Blacks shared discrimination. They were both trying to raise themselves up. Irish and Blacks took similar steps. Starting at bottom. Proving their worth. They were side by side. Both were discriminated against There are low and high Irish and low and high of every group. Who you know depends on what group you are in—low or high. [African-Irish American author, retired] (See Warren Harper Interview)

  12. "The use of hyphenated identity perpetuates the myth of other than American and lessens our chances for a shared community. No book has been written about "How the Blacks became White. " [African American Minister and Professor] (See Frederick J. Streets Interview)

  13. "When I came here was I was lonesome. But I knew if I wanted to go back my father would say, 'you wanted to go...'. But the leaving home was worst thing. And the water. That was the worst of it. I was glad to land here." ( See Conversation with Mary Walsh)