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Have Irish Americans forgotten they come from a ‘sh**hole’ country too?
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Mass starvation began. The entire crop failed again in , and huge numbers of people fell prey to typhoid and dysentery.
People sold their animals, their furniture, everything. The most destitute wandered the streets naked, having hawked their clothing.
Landlords evicted tenants who could not meet their rents, creating homeless by the thousands. People starved or died of fever or left at such a rate that the Irish population was swiftly reduced by a quarter. One million succumbed to famine or disease, and another million emigrated. Premature deaths and constant emigration continued even after the worst of the famine years.
Thus began the great Irish diaspora. Passage to Canada was cheaper than passage to the United States, and the Irish fled to both places. They arrived emaciated and penniless. Officials in New York City attempted to turn away boatloads feared to be bringing contagious diseases, but the Irish landed elsewhere and migrated to New York anyway.
Soon they made up a quarter of that city, and the same quickly became true in Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. In tenements and in cellars, they crowded together, 10 or 20 to a room. So many came at once that in the rare letters which have survived, writers warn kin back in Ireland that their own influx had caused a depression in wages along the East Coast.
After word of the gold and silver rushes reached city slums, the most adventurous headed westward, settling in places like Butte, Montana, as well as San Francisco and Leadville. The Irish who flocked there were willing to toil underground with the dream of striking it rich, but instead they died in appalling numbers.
services.mwanzoni.com/il-nido-del-falco-vol2-italian.php Today it seems more important than ever to remember that when the Irish arrived in greatest numbers, we came without skills or resources. Many famine survivors harbored so much shame about the dissolution of their communities that they considered the past better left undisclosed, handing down to later generations only a partial understanding of the famine years.