Ever wondered why Montserrat have a day off for St Patrick’s Day too?

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2016-03-20 19:29Z by Steven

Ever wondered why Montserrat have a day off for St Patrick’s Day too?

Dublin, Ireland

Laura McAtackney, Associate Professor in Sustainable Heritage Management (Archaeology)
Arhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

Krysta Ryzewski, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

This edited article, written by Laura McAtackney and Krysta Ryzewski, is part of a chapter ‘Historic and contemporary Irish identity on Montserrat, the ‘Emerald Isle of the Caribbean’ in Alison Donnell, Maria McGarrity & Evelyn O’Callaghan ‘s book: Caribbean Irish Connections for University of West Indies Press.

CONTEMPORARY MONTSERRAT IS marketed globally as the “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean”. This tagline inspires tourists and scholars to visualise a verdant, fertile paradise bolstered by genuine and lasting historic links to Ireland.

The island’s Irish connections have long been a source of interest for local residents and tourists alike, and over the past two decades government agencies, the tourism industry and local communities have made concerted efforts to bolster its Irish legacy and build upon perceived connections between present-day Montserrat and historic Irish communities.

Its most prominent example of these efforts is St Patrick’s Day, a national holiday that simultaneously commemorates the island’s Irish heritage and a failed uprising by Afro-Caribbean slaves and members of the island’s free black community on the same day in 1768.

The St Patrick’s holiday has grown into a week-long festival that attracts international tourists and acts as a major homecoming event for Montserrat’s diaspora community.

Today, Montserrat’s connection to an ‘Irish’ identity is strong but this has not always been the case…

Read the entire article here.

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How Green Was My Surname; Via Ireland, a Chapter in the Story of Black America

Posted in Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2015-12-29 03:58Z by Steven

How Green Was My Surname; Via Ireland, a Chapter in the Story of Black America

The New York Times

S. Lee Jamison

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Shaquille O’Neal!

So many African-Americans have Irish-sounding last names—Eddie Murphy, Isaac Hayes, Mariah Carey, Dizzy Gillespie, Toni Morrison, H. Carl McCall—that you would think that the long story of blacks and Irish coming together would be well documented. You would be wrong.

Randall Kennedy, a professor at Harvard Law School and the author of ”Interracial Intimacies; Sex, Marriage, Identity and Adoption,” said that when it comes to written historical exploration of black-Irish sexual encounters, ”there are little mentions, but not much.”

And most African-Americans do not know a lot about their family names.

“Quite frankly, I always thought my name was Scotch, not Irish.” said Mr. McCall, the former New York State comptroller.

But the Irish names almost certainly do not come from Southern slaveholders with names like Scarlett O’Hara. Most Irish were too poor to own land. And some blacks, even before the Civil War, were not slaves.

…Elizabeth Shown Mills, who recently retired as the editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, said that unlike native-born whites, “Irish were more willing to accept and acknowledge interracial allegiances.”

Before the Civil War, she said, “the free mulatto population had the same number of black moms as white moms.”

Ms. Mills said that mixed-race children would have been given Irish surnames when their Irish fathers married their black mothers, or when their unmarried Irish mothers named children after themselves.

The Irish ended up in the Caribbean, too. Britain sent hundreds of Irish people to penal colonies in the West Indies in the mid-1600’s, and more went over as indentured servants.

Mr. [Charles L.] Blockson noted that “Lord Oliver Cromwell’s boatloads of men and women” sent to Barbados and Jamaica intermingled with the African slaves already there.

Montserrat ended up with the largest Irish community in the West Indies…

Read the entire article here.

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