A New Jersey assembly man has requested that Thomas Nast be excluded from the State’s Hall of Fame nominations.
Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo of Mercer County says Nast’s famous cartoons were demeaning and demoralizing to Irish-Americans.
“I’m not saying take down his artwork. I’m saying that I don’t support this individual,” DeAngelo told WCBS 880.
Nast achieved notoriety in the 19th century for his political cartoons. He was born in Germany but immigrated to the U.S. as a child, he moved to Morristown in 1872. He is one of the 50 nominees for the 2012 Class of the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
"He portrayed the Irish as drunken apes, and the image still remains today. We have a lot to offer beyond that," Sean Pender, president of the New Jersey Ancient Order of Hibernians told the Wall Street Journal.
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In a letter to the New Jersey Hall of Fame, DeAngelo called for the removal of Nast’s name.
“As an Irish Catholic myself and the state Assemblyman representing a large Irish community, I am deeply troubled by the nomination of Mr. Nast given disturbing imagery and depiction of Irish Catholics in the 19th Century,” DeAngelo wrote.
“I do not believe that his works represent the people of New Jerseyans from all cultural backgrounds in an appropriate or respectful manner. We should not be honoring any individual who contributed to the popularization of bigotry and prejudice in our country.”