All of my work on the “Irish slaves” meme (2015–’23)

Liam Hogan
11 min readMar 12, 2017


I geotagged a random sample of 1,500 different Facebook users who shared the ‘Irish American’ iteration of the meme

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What follows is a full list of all my recent work challenging contemporary propaganda (based primarily on ahistorical blogs and memes) which equate indentured servitude or penal servitude with racialised perpetual hereditary chattel slavery. You can browse my curation of hundreds of examples of how this false equivalence is used on social media here (general use), here (neo-Confederate page) and here (Irish Central page)


(1) How the Myth of the “Irish slaves” Became a Favourite Meme of Racists Online (Interviewed by Alex Amend of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, 19 April 2016)

(2) ‘Irish slaves’: The Convenient Myth (openDemocracy, 14 January 2015)

(3) Two years of the ‘Irish slaves’ myth: racism, reductionism and the tradition of diminishing the transatlantic slave trade (openDemocracy, 7 November 2016)

(4) The Irish in the Anglo-Caribbean: servants or slaves? (History Ireland magazine, March-April 2016) — Co-authored with Laura McAtackney and Matt Reilly

(5) Anatomy of a modern lie: how the history of Cromwellian transportations from Ireland is abused for political and racist purposes (Tortoise, May 2019)

(6) When History Goes Bad (Rabble magazine, No.11, 2016)

(7) A primer on the ongoing proliferation of ahistorical “Irish slaves” articles and memes (introduction to a seven-part series)

My collection of screenshots of “Irish slaves” posts from 2014–2016

(8) Debunking the imagery of the “Irish slaves” meme (1/7)

(9) How the African victims of the Zong Massacre were replaced with “Irish slaves” (2/7)

(10) The “Forced breeding” myth in the “Irish slaves” meme (3/7)

(11) A review of the numbers in the “Irish slaves” meme (4/7)

(12) Exaggeration and the appropriation of the torture of enslaved Africans in the “Irish slaves” meme (5/7)

(13) The myth of Colonel William Brayne and the “Irish slaves” (6/7)

(14) The myth that Goodwife Glover, an Irish woman executed for witchcraft in Boston in 1688, was an “Irish slave” (7/7)

(15) Were Irish people “the first slaves in America?”

(16) Critique of Sean O’Callaghan’s ‘To Hell or Barbados’

(17) Critique of “White Cargo”: reviewing the fallout from an influential but fatally flawed work of popular history about “white slaves”

(18) The founder of Irish Central attempts to whitewash their influential role in spreading ahistorical “Irish slaves” propaganda

(19) The Ancient Order of Hibernians, History Ireland Magazine and the accommodation of ahistorical propaganda

(20) No, the Irish were not slaves too (Interviewed by David M. Perry for Pacific Standard magazine, 15 March 2018)

(21) No, the Irish were not slaves in the Americas (Interviewed by Eoin O’Carroll for the Christian Science Monitor, 16 March 2018)

(22) My expanded response to CNN reporters’ questions about a DeSantis appointee’s endorsement of “Irish slaves” disinformation (2023)

(23) Encountering and refuting misrepresentations of the past online (Interviewed by Maurice Casey for History to the Public, 21 January 2015)

(24) Open letter to Irish Central, Irish Examiner and Scientific American about their “Irish slaves” disinformation (signed by over 80 academics and historians)

Where my work has been cited or quoted

(24) Contesting “White Slavery” in the Caribbean: Enslaved Africans and European Indentured Servants in 17th-Century Barbados. (J. S. Handler & M. Reilly) New West Indian Guide. June 2017 (vol. 91)

(25) Modern Slavery: The Margins of Freedom (Palgrave, 2015) by Julia O’Connell Davidson (see page 89)

(26) “Slave to the Facts”: Where there Irish slaves in Early America?: Cited in a Snopes article by David Emery

(27) “Black Lives Matter and the ‘Irish slave’ myth”: Quoted in an Al Jazeera article by Norma Costello

(28) “Let’s Squash the Myth That the Irish Were Ever American Slaves”: Quoted in a Jezebel article by Madeleine Davies

(29) “Debunking a Myth: The Irish Were Not Slaves, Too”: Interviewed for a New York Times article by Liam Stack

(30) “The curious origins of the ‘Irish slaves’ myth”: Interviewed for a Public Radio International article by Natasha Varner

(31) “Sinn Féin not allowing facts derail good ‘Irish slaves’ yarn”: Interviewed for an Irish Times article by Hugh Linehan

(32) “Slavery Myths Debunked”: Quoted in Slate article by Jamelle Bouie and Rebecca Onion

(33) “The Myth of Scottish Slaves”: Cited in a Sceptical Scot article by Stephen Mullen

(34) “5 Myths About Slavery”: Cited in a blog by Sarah Pruitt

(35) “Racial tensions of 2016 and the myth of Irish slavery”: cited by Tom Deignan in

(36) “‘Irish slaves’: Historian destroys racist myth conservatives love to share on Facebook”: Quoted in a RawStory article by Travis Gettys

(37) “The “Irish slaves” meme”: Video by the Unemployed Historian which cites my research

(38) “Why are people still defending slavery in America? 5 common excuses, debunked”: Cited in Vox article by Victoria M. Massie

(39) “Free us from the myth of Irish slavery”: Cited in an Irish Times article by Donald Clarke

(40) “Irish slave myths debunked”: Quoted in a Boing Boing article by Rob Beschizza

(41) “Jim Goad compares Black-on-White Violence to the Lynching of Emmett Till”: Cited in an Angry White Men article

(42) “Wilful ignorance and Irish slavery”: Cited in the Skeptophilia blog

(43) “FactCheck: No, “Irish slaves” did not build the White House”: Quoted in article by Dan MacGuill

(44) “Professor Buzzkill #112: Irish Slaves Myth”: Cited in podcast

(45) How to Change History: William Petty, Irish slavery, and a fake debate: Cited in Dr. Ted McCormick’s blog series

(46) Slaves to a Myth: Cited in Prof. Bryan Fanning’s article in the Dublin Review of Books

(47) Kanye West’s ignorant slavery comments play right into the hands of white supremacists: Cited in an NBC News op-ed by Sophia Nelson

(48) The Myth of Irish Slavery: A History of One of the Alt-Right’s Oldest Memes: Interviewed by Jonathan Lee for Inverse

(49) The Curse of Cromwell: Revisiting the Irish Slavery Debate: cited in John Donoghue’s op-ed in History Ireland magazine.

(50) Roots of white rage: America’s clash of class and race, from the Civil War to the rise of Trump: cited by Keri Leigh Merritt in an interview with Salon

(51) Freedom and the Irish: The complicated history of the Irish and slavery: cited by Brianna Rennix in Current Affairs

(52) White Supremacist Propaganda Vs Truth: Cited by Philosophy Tube

(53) No, the first slaves shipped to the American colonies weren’t white Irish children: Cited by Ciara O’Rourke in Politifact

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Liam Hogan

Librarian & Historian. Researching and writing about slavery, memory and power. Ko-Fi