The Real Irish American Story Not Taught in Schools March 16, 2015


The Irish Famine, 1850 by George Frederic Watts. Source: Views of the Famine.

This month we revisit the very popular article about textbooks fail to look at the social forces that starved and uprooted over a million Irish—and that are starving and uprooting people today.


By Bill Bigelow

Throughout the Irish potato famine there was an abundance of food produced in Ireland, yet the landlords exported it to markets abroad.

During the first winter of famine, as perhaps 400,000 Irish peasants starved, landlords exported 17 million pounds sterling worth of grain, cattle, pigs, flour, eggs, and poultry—food that could have prevented those deaths.

The school curriculum could and should ask students to reflect on the contradiction of starvation amidst plenty, on the ethics of food exports amidst famine. And it should ask why these patterns persist into our own time. Continue reading.

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