Irish Anti-Defamation Federation Speaks Out Against Nast Nomination
Insensitivity of New Jersey Hall of Fame to Americans of Irish heritage!
In the sad tradition of forgetting its own American history, the New Jersey Hall of Fame has listed the 19th Century political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, as a nomineefor induction into its organization! Irish people and groups from throughout the Delaware Valley are appalled by this selection of the man whose widely-published “works” portrayed Irish settlers to this country as violent drunks and apes.
Thomas Nast’s drawings are often cited by historians throughout this country as perpetuating negative stereotypes and the anti-Irish sentiment of the “Nativists” of a few decades earlier, which saw Roman Catholic churches burned to the ground and Irish neighborhoods laid waste.
The New Jersey Hall of Fame feels that Nast’s bigotry and racism (of Irish and other minority settlers to the U.S.) does not overshadow Nast’s contributions to American political cartoons, and that Nast’s work was taken out of its context and misconstrued.
But the Irish Anti-Defamation Federation’s Members and Honorary Board note that Nast’s success in newspapers and magazines was due to his very pointed images, which did NOT make his readers wonder what he meant back in his time, and certainly not in our own enlightened present day.
The IADF, together with Irish-American and human rights organizations, is campaigning against Thomas Nast’s name on the ballot for induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. America should be proud of its more recent history of inclusion into her society, and not go backwards to the dark days of anti-ethnic oppression by rewarding Thomas Nast, even posthumously. All are welcome to vote against Nast through the NJ Hall of Fame website,at http://www.njhalloffame.org