st. patrick's day

The curious origins of the ‘Irish slaves’ myth

Mar 17, 2017
<a href="">Lewis Wickes Hine/Library of Congress</a>

Irish Americans were slaves once too — or so a historically inaccurate and dangerously misleading internet meme would have you believe.

The meme comes in many varieties but the basic formula is this: old photos, paintings and engravings from all over the world are combined with text suggesting they are historic images of forgotten “Irish slaves.”

The myth underlying the meme holds that the Irish — not Africans — were the first American slaves. It rests on the idea that 17th century American indentured servitude was essentially an extension of the transatlantic slave trade.

Speak of the Emerald Isle, and you picture verdant rolling hillsides. But there's another green bounty — not just on Ireland's soil, but off its coast. We're talking about seaweed. And if some Irish have their way, it'll be making its way back onto plates.

03/12/15 - On the next Topical Currents we turn to chef, author and syndicated columnist Linda Gassenheimer and her yearly Saint Patrick’s Day salute. We’ll visit with Ireland-born Martin Lynch, co-owner of the renowned John Martin’s Irish Pub & Restaurant in Coral Gables.  He’ll give tips for a traditional St. Patty’s celebration . . .


03/13/14 - On the next Topical Currents, syndicated food columnist Linda Gassenheimer, special wine correspondent Fred Tasker and WLRN hosts Joseph Cooper and Bonnie Berman interview Martin Lynch from John Martin’s Restaurant and Irish Pub in Coral Gables.  It's all about the pub's St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with on-air food tasting, lots o'laughs, and an Irish poem you don't want to miss.  Tune in for Topical Currents special Food and Dining hour at 1pm on WLRN.