Ignatiev traces the tattered history of Irish and African-American relations, revealing how the Irish used labor unions, the Catholic Church and the Democratic party to help gain and secure their newly found place in the White Republic. Ignatiev explores and challenges the Irish tradition of labor protest and the Irish role in the wave of anti-Negro violence that swept the country in the 1930s and 1840s. In addition, HOW THE IRISH BECAME WHITE provides a provocative recounting of hte roles of northeastern urban politicians in the Irish triumph over nativism, which allowed for the Irish entry into the 'white race.'
'Amazing! What a work of history! I learned a great deal about Philadelphia history - re: Irish anti-black history. It has its resonance in police-black relations; and one can see May 13th as an historical echo of the torching of abolition and Black Masonic buildings a century before and its subsequent (instant and historic) white-wash. Kudos to Ignatiev - a masterful (yet quite short!) piece of work. It provides a powerful historical perspective from which to view the City of Brotherly Love.' -Mumia Abu-Jamal