Friday, February 17, 2012

Freddie's Tale: Historical Highlights

"Life in the states is harsh? I won’t say that. 
Competition, yes Sire. Especially when you are in places where immigrants, like myself, flock in stock."

From 1820 to 1860, 1,956,557 Irish arrived, 75% of these after the Great Irish Famine (or The Great Hunger, Irish: An Gorta Mór) of 1845–1852, struck. The Famine hurt Irish men and women alike, especially those poorest or without land. It altered the family structures of Ireland because fewer people could afford to marry and raise children, causing many to adopt a single lifestyle. Consequently, many Irish citizens were less bound to family obligations and could more easily migrate to the United States in the following decade.
Of the total Irish migrants to the U.S. from 1820 to 1860, many died crossing the ocean due to disease and dismal conditions of what became known as coffin ships.
Gravestone in Boston Catholic cemetery erected in memory of County Roscommon native born shortly before The Great Famine.

Most Irish immigrants to the United States favored large cities because they could create their own communities for support and protection in a new environment. Another reason for this trend was that Irish immigrants could not afford to move inland and had to settle close to the ports at which they arrived. Cities with large numbers of Irish immigrants included Boston, Philadelphia, and New York, as well as Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. In 1910, there were more people in New York City of Irish heritage than Dublin's whole population, and even today, many of these cities still retain a substantial Irish American community. Mill towns such as Lawrence, Lowell, and Pawtucket attracted many Irish women in particular. The best urban economic opportunities for unskilled Irish women and men included:factory and millwork, domestic service, and the physical labor of public work projects.

"The money crises closed the factories. Shops and workshops would rather employ the hordes of blacks flooding from the South; lads with a mild timid behavior, rather than welcome a stubborn mouthy Irish asking for decent man pay and consolidating in labor unions, moreover demanding and striking the shit out of their pants.We had no choice but to plunge deeper into the Midwest. The girls were unloaded off the family with early marriages, and the boys were scattered all over Illinois and Missouri. Early winter ‘32, I found myself on the streets of Chicago, bouncing from cheap laborer’s jobs to bootlegging some precious liquor (on behalf of some gang lords) to some of the Windy city’s fancy bars and hotels."

The Great Migration was the movement of 2 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest and West from 1910 to 1930.African Americans migrated to escape racism and prejudice in the South, as well as to seek jobs in industrial cities.
Some historians differentiate between a First Great Migration (1910–40), numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration (1940 to 1970), in which 5 million or more people moved and to a wider variety of destinations. From 1965–70, 14 states of the South, especially Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, contributed to a large net migration of blacks to the other three cultural (and census-designated) regions of the United States.By the end of the Second Great Migration, African Americans had become an urbanized population. More than 80 percent lived in cities. Fifty-three percent remained in the South, while 40 percent lived in the North and 7 percent in the West.

A reverse migration has gathered strength since 1965, dubbed the New Great Migration, the term for demographic changes from 1965 to the present which are a reversal of the previous 35-year trend of black migration within the United States. Since 1965, deindustrialization of cities in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, growth of jobs in the "New South", family and kinship ties, and improving racial relations have all acted to attract African Americans to the Southern United States in substantial numbers. As early as 1975-1980, seven southern states were net black migration gainers. African-American populations continue to drop throughout much of the Northeast, particularly with black emigration out of the state of New York as well as out of Northern New Jersey, as they rise in the Southern United States.

"However, by end of ‘33, prohibition was repealed, and a number of us bootlegger boys were out of job once again. Sure, there were loads of work for the gangs, but I didn’t pretty getting my hands soaked with blood or getting busted for some serious crime. After all, bootlegging wasn’t comparable to smuggling powder or guns. 
Ok, ok, I’ll quit my gibberish and jump to Mr. Seamus Malone..."

Follow Freddie's adventure in the 1930s Midwest and find out the truth behind the mysterious Mr. Malone;

No comments:

Post a Comment