The Roaring Kelly Band delivers a big dose of Irish pride this Sunday at O’Connor’s Pub in Delray Beach, for Happy Hour fun starting at 4pm. We’re delighted to be the bearers of our Irish heritage which has survived discrimination and conflict. When we perform, there’s no mistaking it. Still, there are those who say this discrimination is a figment of imagination. Such is the case with the NINA controversy.
Was there such a thing as the ‘No Irish Need Apply’ (or NINA) discrimination in America? This controversy over whether or not there was any overt discrimination against the Irish with signs reading “No Irish Need Apply” continues to this day. In 2002, Richard Jensen, a University of Illinois professor of history, published an article in the Oxford Journal of Social History that proclaimed the “No Irish Need Apply” or NINA signs were a myth of the American-Irish collective imagination. “The fact that Irish vividly remember NINA signs is a curious historical puzzle,” he stated. Further, Professor Jensen cast doubts on the existence of the signs proclaiming “No historian, archivist, or museum curator has ever located one; no photograph or drawing exists.”
Interestingly, in a stunning rebuttal, Rebecca A. Fried, a high-school student in Washington, D.C.’s Sidwell Friends School, wrote an article for the same journal presenting overwhelming proof that the NINA signs did indeed exist. She presents digitized newspaper advertising archives and databases that provide undeniable examples of NINA. Ms. Fried writes, “We have more NINA advertisements from the 1840’s than from any other decade, but from the 1850’s through the first decade of the twentieth century, the frequency of NINA-restricted advertisements remains generally similar.” This is particularly compelling in light of An Gorta Mór, the Great Famine in Ireland which reached its deadliest peak in 1847.
As part of my own music research, I present a Civil War ditty, published in 1862 in Philadelphia composed by Kathleen O’Neil entitled “No Irish Need Apply.”
Click on the link t o get the website with all the lyrics. http://goo.gl/WTepBT
There stands the proof that actual discrimination against the Irish was the order of the day and not as stated by Professor Jensen, “the political need to be bona-fide victims rather than by the fact of historic discrimination.”
Did such discrimination exist? It’s absolutely certain.
Did the Irish overcome this blatant discrimination? The Irish-Americans today who have succeeded as professionals, politicians, artists, musicians, craftsmen, laborers and builders are living proof of it.
Are we proud of our Irish heritage? The Roaring Kelly Band is here to perform and present beyond reservation our Irish pride. You are invited to witness it in full bloom this Sunday, July 19, at O’Connor’s Pub in Delray Beach starting at 4pm. Come be a part of the tunes, songs, and rousing fun to raise the roof.
Information regarding the NINA controversy was taken from an article in Irish Central http://goo.gl/cwn8Vd