Irish and Catholic groups protest against the nomination of a designer to the Hall of Fame

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Irish and Catholic groups campaign against the inclusion of a famous 19th century political cartoonist in the New Jersey Hall of Fame due to its negative representations of them, according to the The Wall Street Journal.

The cartoonist, Thomas Nast, was a German immigrant who moved to Morristown, NJ, in 1872 and worked for Harper magazine in New York. His designs gave birth to famous people like Uncle Sam, Santa Claus, the elephant and the donkey who symbolize American political parties.

An abolitionist who supported equal treatment for blacks and Asians, Nast criticized the Irish as supporters of Tammany Hall and was against the Vatican for trying to recruit public school children into parish institutions.

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Irish and Catholic groups protest against the nomination of a designer to the Hall of Fame

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“He described the Irish as drunken apes, and the picture still stands today. We have a lot to offer beyond that,” said Sean Pender, president of the New Jersey Ancient Order of Hibernians, a fraternal group of 2,500 members campaigning against Nast’s nomination.

In “The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things”, a cartoon by Nast shows a drunk Irishman lighting a powder keg. Another cartoon, titled “The American River Ganges”, depicts Catholic bishops as crocodiles trying to attack school children.

The anti-Irish content of his cartoons was a product of the time, said Christine Jochem, head of special collections at the Morristown & Morris Township Library, which holds one of the artist’s largest repositories of cartoons. in the country.

Nast was first nominated to the Hall of Fame in 2009. But groups such as Pender’s and the New Jersey Knights of Columbus are reaching out to lawmakers and the New Jersey Hall of Fame to protest the cartoonist’s appointment.

“We have come a long way as a company since the 1800s and there is no place for Mr. Nast’s name in such a famous and esteemed place,” said Scott Rumana, assembly member. Irish-American.

However, State Senator Richard Codey, who calls himself ‘100% Irish’, disagrees.

“No one hates a stereotype more than me,” he said. “But it seems that [Nast] just went with the thought of the time. I don’t think he should be crucified for that. “

The Hall of Fame encourages those who oppose Nast to voice their point of view by voting online rather than calling the office. Voting is open to the general public and thousands of people are expected to vote online before January 1. There are 50 nominees in five categories. Winners will be announced in January and living inductees will be invited to an awards ceremony at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark in June.

Past luminaries include Meryl Streep, Bruce Springsteen, Shaquille O’Neal and Albert Einstein.

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Read more:

More news with Irish roots from IrishCentral

Elderly priest refuses to leave parish house after abuse allegations

Irish and Catholic groups protest against the nomination of a designer to the Hall of Fame

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