Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Irish Immigration to the US, notably Brighton/MA

The Irish Pastoral Center with the Brighton-Allston Historical Society organized an event on Irish Immigration for the "Cara Club" on February 22, 2016. Members came out in force to hear the presentations and share their personal experiences! 

The opening speaker was Jan Cannavan, specialist on the topic of Irish republican women activists and a Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum guide. Jan's talk on Irish Emigration to the US spanned from before the American Revolution (and well before the Great Famine) until the present. She revealed that the largest Irish migration of 3 million people was from 1856 to 1921, and the largest group was single women owing to minimal marriage or employment prospects at home. She indicated that universal Irish education had increased women's aspirations, yet most women migrants became servants in the US with many single women taking on childcare, housework, and some industrial work. 

L-R: BAHS Board Member Deborah Chivers with Event Presenters
Mary McCarthy and Nancy O'Hara
Lifetime BAHS member Mary McCarthy and Nancy O'Hara, BAHS Board Director, shared vivid passages on the Irish coming to Brighton from the book of Town Historian Dr. William Marchione titled Allston-Brighton in Transition: From Cattle Town to Streetcar Suburb.

Many participants then voiced poignant stories and experiences as emigrants to Brighton. These interactions were followed by a tour of the Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum also located in the Veronica Smith Senior Center. 

Watch this space for additional photos of the event. This will be a great and timely backdrop to the upcoming BAHS research initiative on Irish Women Immigrants to Brighton: Experiences and Stories!

L-R: Jan Cannavan, Nancy O'Hara and Mary McCarthy,
all of the Brighton-Allston Historical Society,
a UNESCO/UNITWIN Network Affiliate