African American Irish Heritage and Collaboration


On Wednesday, February 16, The Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted a student panel with the African American Irish Diaspora Network who spoke over the relationship between Ireland and African Americans. The group also took the time to address issues, and questions in regard to black issues and experiences. 

The African American Irish Diaspora Network’s mission is to connect African Americans with Ireland. According to The African American Irish Diaspora’s website, “Ireland is committed to embracing its broader Diaspora and making all who are part of it by blood, as well as by spirit feel welcome as members of the Irish family”. The talk begins by introducing everyone at the table and discussing the connection between African Americans and the Irish. Both Irish and Africans were taken across the Atlantic. Africans were given the title as slaves meanwhile the Irish was known as indentured servants. 

The panel discussed how racism in the United States affected both groups experiences causing them to share similar and experiences and cultures due to close proximity during slavery. The panel went on further to discuss the history of Irish people being forced to put on black face to perform in front of rich white citizens to make a living and how that affected their relationship with the black community. Although that is true, times have changed and Irish people are now striving to help African Americans learn their history and connect to Ireland. After discussing and answering questions, the panel then spent the rest of time discussing the importance of Black heritage and culture. 

In conclusion, Irish culture is connected to African Americans. Statistics state that 38 percent of African Americans have an Irish ancestry meaning some of us have an Irish ancestor, but just don’t know it. Since most African Americans don’t know all of their ancestry, organizations like The African American Irish Diaspora Networks have taken the time to make learning who you are and your roots even easier.