The Irish anti defamation league has attacked the New Jersey Hall of Fame for even considering Thomas Nast for their Hall of Fame. Nast was notoriously anti irish and anti Catholic.
In a letter to the Newark Star-Ledger Timothy Wilson, chairman of the Irish anti-defamation league stated “In the sad tradition of forgetting history, the New Jersey Hall of Fame has listed 19th century political cartoonist Thomas Nast as a nominee for induction into its organization.
“Irish groups are appalled by this selection of a man whose widely published works portrayed Irish settlers as violent drunks and apes,” Driscoll wrote.
“Nast’s drawings are often cited by historians as perpetuating negative stereotypes and the anti-Irish sentiment of the “nativists” of a few decades earlier, which saw Roman Catholic churches burned to the ground and Irish neighborhoods laid waste.
“The New Jersey Hall of Fame believes that Nast’s bigotry and racism does not overshadow Nast’s contributions to American political cartoons and that his work was taken out of its context and misconstrued.
“But the Irish Anti-Defamation Federation’s members and honorary board note that Nast’s success in newspapers and magazines was due to his very pointed images, which did not make his readers wonder what he meant back in his time.
“America should be proud of its more recent history of inclusion into her society, and not go backward to the dark days of anti-ethnic oppression by rewarding Nast, even posthumously.
Timothy Wilson, chairman, Irish Anti-Defamation Federation