Episode Air Date: September 1, 2016
Artist: Pete Seeger
Recording Title: No Irish Need Apply
In 1949, Pete Seeger sings and picks a cheery-sounding tune about…workplace discrimination!
When a potato famine crippled Ireland in the 1840’s, Irish emigrants flooded US port towns, especially Boston. By 1855, about half of Beantown’s hundred and fifty thousand residents were foreign-born, the vast majority of them Irish. The huge influx of poor and malnourished led inevitably to prejudice, and NINA, or No Irish Need Apply signs, came to be. Posted on shop windows, restaurants and the like, the signs forbade Irish from applying for advertised job openings.
It seems time heals most wounds…present day Boston embraces its Irish heritage.