Profs & Pints: The St. Patricks Day Revolt of 1741
Profs & Pints presents: The St. Patricks Day Revolt of 1741, with John Donoghue, associate professor of history at Loyola University Chicago and scholar of Irish American history.
On St. Patricks Day in 1741, Ft. George, the largest military base in Britains North American Empire, went up in flames. Located at the tip of Manhattan Island, Ft. George did not burn by accident. Instead, Irish soldiers serving at the fort and enslaved African Americans from Manhattan reduced the fort to ashes as part of a larger, revolutionary plot. After destroying Ft. George to weaken New Yorks imperial forces, the rebels lit thirteen fires around the city to terrify the citys slave trading merchants and political elite. In the midst of the chaos, the rebels planned to take over New York, create an open city, and place the government in the hands of a multi-racial democracy.
The rebels hatched their plot in Hughsons Tavern, a place where Irish soldiers, Irish indentured servants, and African American slaves gathered to eat, drink, dance, and make merry. The taverns owner, John Hughson, also fenced the goods that Irish and African men and women stole from Ft. George and the homes and shops where they worked. The Irish and Africans who patronized Hughsons Tavern felt little guilt about such theft. For the Irish, the British had stolen their very nation and reduced it to famine, one of the worst striking across the years before and of the revolt. For Africans, enslavement stole their very lives and labor.
An informer led city officials to the heart of the plot at Hughsons Tavern, enabling authorities to suppress the revolt before the rebels accomplished their final aim. While the rebels failed, their conspiracy shows us that race did not always master the world views of early Americans. In 1741 New York, African and Irish people, the two most marginalized groups in colonial American cities, believed that what they shared in common outweighed what set them apart. In this light, white and black rebels revered St. Patrick for reasons that would mystify most people who celebrate his memory today. This lecture recovers St. Patricks older legacy as a freedom fighter, one who inspired Irish and African rebels in early America. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)
Cambria Hotel & Suites Chicago Loop-Theatre District (View)
32 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
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