The Fitzpatrick/Coss families of South Charleston, Ohio did not place themselves with relatives let alone any ethnic group. By the time 1966 rolled around there were only two Coss families left and the Fitzpatrick’s were the only ones in Clark County. The Coss family has been in the United States since 1772, however I did find that Fitzpatrick is the only Irish name that originally started with the Fitz prefix; all others where added after the Norman invasion. My father, Fitzpatrick, could not tell me who his grandfather was, his dad died in a tractor accident in 1942. My grandfather could not tell me much about his family, his father Coss died in 1912. My grandfather was born in 1911 and raised by his mother. The Coss’s have been in South Charleston since 1854 and as far as discrimination in this area it is minimal. If we as a family unit related to any ethnic group it would be with the Irish; the love of the land, a good union, and the plight as a labor work horse.
As the Irish came to the United States they faced much prejudice and racism. During the 1850’s there was no group who seemed lower than the Irish. (Kinsella, Jim. March 17, 1996. Kinsella genealogy. Retrieved from http://www.kinsella.org/ September 5, 2006). Many ads for employment read “No Irish need apply”. (Kinsella, 1996) Many lived in cellars and shanties. Some of this was due to poverty but the Irish were also considered bad for the neighborhood. (Kinsella, 1996) The term Redlining did not come into use until after the Fair Housing Act of 1934. During the 1800’s you could easily say the Irish were redlined. During the mid-1850’s there was the Know Nothing movement. This movement was designed to keep Irish Catholics from holding public office; the opposition was by Irish Protestants. (Answers. (2006). Irish Americans. Retrieved September 24, 2006 from http://www.answers.com/topic/irish-american).
In the 1830’s there were riots due to rival labor teams from different parts of Ireland. (Answers, 2006) The most common segregation came within the Irish themselves. Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics segregated in social situations, especially marriages. We have parochial schools because the Protestant and Catholics segregated themselves.
Not only were the Irish effected by discrimination, they also participated in leveraging discrimination. Irish immigrant’s feared sympathy for freed slaves would cause them to move north and take the Irish immigrants jobs. (Simkin, J. (1997). Irish immigration. Spartacus. Retrieved September 20, 2006 from
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAEireland.htm). As we look back we see that the Black and Irish had striking parallels in culture; began life in America with low social and economic status. Over time they advanced in common fields. The Black and Irish had similar social pathology’s; alcoholism, violence, and broken homes. (Diller, F., Hagan, M., Paul, E., and Wesson, S. (2006) Memory. Retrieved September 19, 2006 from http://memory.loc.gov/learn/features/immig/introduction4.html). The Conscription Act of 1863 increased the racial tension between Blacks and Irish. Under this act white men between the ages twenty and forty-five could be drafted, however, Blacks where allowed to volunteer while wealthy white men could bribe doctors and such. (Simkin, 1997) Many of the discriminations covered are more twentieth century; which leaves out the Irish immigrants. By the twentieth century the Irish became more absorbed in American mainstream than most ethnic groups. The Irish may try to include themselves in reverse discrimination as white men felt they got left behind in the affirmative action movement.
Identifying with a culture would mean having some insight into tradition and background from a family perspective. I cannot claim that right. United States mainstream culture would probably best describe my family’s culture. One of the largest problems with understanding one’s ethnical heritage is for many children of parents who immigrated, the children became de-nationalized. Many children of immigrants despised the way their parents dressed, talked, habits, and beliefs. This attitude has lead to many second and third generations removed from immigration to have no clue of their ethnical background.
Answers. (2006). Irish Americans. Retrieved September 24, 2006 from
Diller, F., Hagan, M., Paul, E., and Wesson, S. (2006) Memory. Retrieved
September 19, 2006 from http://memory.loc.gov/learn/features/immig/introduction4.html
Kinsella, Jim. March 17, 1996. Kinsella genealogy. Retrieved September 5, 2006 from
Simkin, J. (1997). Irish immigration. Spartacus. Retrieved September 20, 2006 from