On the 27 August 2019 the Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris marked the 400th anniversary of the first recorded importation of enslaved Africans to Virginia by calling for a reckoning with her country’s “history of slavery and institutional racism.” Two days later the frequent Fox News contributor and right wing author Janie Johnson (who has circa 210,000 followers on Twitter) tweeted a rhetorical response to Harris stating “What about the Irish the FIRST slaves of America?” the implication being that Irish people were enslaved in Colonial America before African people.

Backup in case of deletion

In early August 2019…


In 2015 I launched a volunteer collaborative project which sought to collate (and map) a comprehensive record of white mob violence that collectively punished African American communities across the United States. Framed by racism, segregation and white supremacism, these violent incidents cover almost every aspect of American society. Housing, military, labour, unions, politics, business, religion, justice, police enforcement, education, and immigration. Thus we believe this data traces white supremacist efforts to assert dominance and control using terror and violence over a circa 200 year period.

Our work was well received and was the subject of a post by Rebecca Onion…


I recently found this interesting account of slaves being brought to 1830s Ireland by their Irish owner in the Harvard Law School Caselaw Access Project database. This history was disclosed during an important piece of case law that arose in 1850 which included a judgement of implied manumission and a reference to the Somerset v Stewart 1772 case applying on Irish soil post the Act of Union 1800. I’ve copied the file below and corrected some transcription errors, &c.

“Hoeing Rice” near Savannah, Georgia (c. 1880). Printed and photographed by Pierre O. Havens. Credit: NMAAHC

If a master carry his slave to Ireland to set him free, or while there assent in any way to his freedom, there can be no objection to the validity of freedom thus acquired.

A master carried from Georgia, his slave, Patrick, to Ireland and there died. While there he executed a will and a…


“Mulatto Jack” was an Irishman kidnapped in Ireland and sold into perpetual slavery in Antigua. Sixteen years later he was imprisoned as a suspect during a slave conspiracy in 1736.

What does his plight tell us about Ireland’s historical relationship with the Black Atlantic?

Cutting the Sugar-Cane by William Clark (Delap Estate, Antigua, 1823) The Delaps were an Irish Presbyterian family, a branch of the Scottish Dunlop family who settled in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, Ireland around 1600. Robert Delap, the grandson of Antiguan planter Francis Delap, was the deputy provost marshal during the slave conspiracy executions in Antigua of 1736 and was in charge of purchasing the firewood that was used to burn to death 77 enslaved people.

In October 1736 a cadre of enslaved people in Antigua allegedly planned to free the colony’s slave population by overthrowing the British slavocracy that had enchattled and exploited tens of thousands of people for over a century at that point. This was to be achieved by blowing up Governor William Mathew and leading members of the most powerful planter families of the colony during their annual ball commemorating the coronation of George II on 11 October.

According to the colony’s investigators this gunpowder explosion, to be ignited in the cellars beneath the ballroom, was one of the agreed signals for…


Their white nationalist strategy to deter non-white migration and naturalisation, for the benefit of the Republican Party, is identical.

A relatively overlooked aspect of the El Paso terrorist’s white nationalist manifesto was his specific rationalisation of violence against the Hispanic population vis-á-vis strengthening the Republican party’s future election prospects in the state of Texas and nationwide. This is notable as it is a mirror image of the ethno-nationalist strategy that was proposed by President Trump two years before the launch of his presidential campaign.

In his manifesto the terrorist stated that while the Republican party was divided on the question of immigration it was still the only party capable of helping to enforce white nationalist policies: “at least with…


The Haitian “zombie” folklore and mythology entered white American cultural consciousness during the 1920s-30s, that is, during the U.S. occupation of Haiti. At the same time that U.S. officers were subjecting poor Haitians to forced labour schemes (they reintroduced the corvée system), Haitian culture was being sensationalised, distorted and commodified in order to sell theatre tickets. The military officer behind this was Smedley Butler, one of the most decorated marines in U.S. history. Butler resurrected this forced labour system via an 1864 Haitian Law with the aim to improve and augment a large network of public roads as their condition…


The U.S. Immigration Act of 1917 included the establishment of the Asiatic Barred Zone, “the natives of which are excluded from the United States. “ The American Federation of Labor supported this classist and racist law which included a literacy test for all immigrants.

If you wish to support my work, you can make a donation here.

There are many substantive critiques of Nagle’s reactionary anti-immigration article out there (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here) but I want to take a closer look at her use and abuse of history to further her arguments in favour of immigration restrictionism.

It’s beyond historical debate that racism was a central motivation which led to white labour movements demanding that the State enact, and then enforce, the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) and its equally racist legal successors. …


Originally published on theJournal.ie in 2014

When the British government finally abolished slavery in most of its colonies on 1 August 1834, it paid slave owners over £20 million in compensation for the loss of their “property.” This was around 40% of the government’s annual expenditure. This exceptionally generous payment to so many elite members of the British Establishment (including MPs, Peers and Archbishops) contrasts quite dramatically with the then-ongoing reform of the Poor Laws, which reduced exchequer expenditure on the poor and established the punitive workhouse system as a “deterrent to idleness”.

Daniel O’Connell (an anti-slavery advocate from the…


This is based on the research and tweets that I published back in 2015.

If you wish to support my work, you can make a donation here.

In the wake of the renewed controversy about the prevalence and impact of NINA in classified ads in U.S. newspapers in 2015, I set about surveying all the available newspaper databases to collect further evidence. After a few months of research I found a total of 268 unique examples of “No Irish Need Apply” adverts. Many of these adverts were published in multiple editions of the same paper and I have not included the duplications in my final number. The range of newspaper databases I searched included…


Originally published on academia.edu in 2014 and now updated and republished here since I’ve moved my profile to the non-profit Humanities Commons.

“Wonderful” — The Irish Times

“Essential reading” — The Irish Examiner

“A fascinating read.” — The Sunday Tribune

Some of the blurbs for To Hell or Barbados on the O’Brien Press website.

Sean O’Callaghan was at least considerate when he warned his readers on page nine of To Hell or Barbados that he was not a historian. Indeed a brief review of his bibliography reveals a penchant for sensationalism, fantasy, pop journalism and exaggeration.

Pertinently we find that…

Liam Hogan

Librarian & Historian. Researching and writing about slavery, memory and power. Ko-Fi https://ko-fi.com/liamhogan

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