How the Irish Became White: Two Films & Q&A Saturday Night
Two nights only - a look at how the Irish came to be thought of as 'White' with the films 'Frederick Douglass and the White Negro' & 'The San Patricios: The Tragic Story of the St. Patrick's Battalion'. Saturday Night: Post Screening Q&A with Sandy Boyer and Kevin Keating.
'Frederick Douglass and the White Negro'
Dir. John J Doherty, 2008, 52 min.
Frederick Douglass and the White Negro tells the story of this 19th century race man and his escape from slavery, leading to refuge in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine. The film focuses on the powerful influence Ireland had on him as a young man. It also explores the turbulent relationship between African Americans and Irish Americans in general. The relationship is exposed as a complex and tragic sequence of events culminating in the bloodiest riot in American history. This transatlantic story covers the race issue and is as relevant today as it was when Douglass escaped to Ireland.
'The San Patricios: The Tragic Story of the St. Patrick's Battalion'
Dir. Mark R. Day, 1996, 48 min.
This film investigates the historic U.S.-Mexican War, the desertion of five hundred immigrant soldiers (mostly Irish) from the American army to the Mexican side, and the way historians view this event today. The deserters, who made up St. Patrick's Battalion, are considered traitors in the States, and heroes in Mexico. This documentary tells the complex story and invites viewers to come to their own conclusion about the Irish-American soldiers who changed their name from St. Patrick's Battalion to St. Patricios, and who switched their allegiance overnight.
Sandy Boyer is the co-host and producer of WBAI's Radio Free Eireann which covers the Irish freedom struggle from an Irish republican point of view. Radio Free Eireann also uses the Irish experience to relate to various liberation struggles around the world. Sandy Boyer has led campaigns to free Irish political prisoners including the Guildford 4, Birmingham 6, and Roisin McAliskey. He has taught Irish history at the Irish Arts Center and lectured on Irish politics and history at numerous colleges and universities and contributed articles on the Irish struggle to publications in Ireland and the US including New Politics, The Irish People, Fortnight, Fourthwrite and The Blanket.
Kevin Keating is the director of the documentary Giuliani Time, and did cinematography for When We Were Kings and Harlan County,U.S.A. He is developing a narrative film project about the Patricios titled "Turncoats.
Part of "I See White People" - quarterly series on the visibility of white racism, white privilege and unacknowledged white cultures in documentary and fiction film.
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