The Civil Rights Movements in Ireland and America Essay

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Fall Road is deserted. Only a few dirt-caked, barefoot, Irishmen can be seen shivering in the adjacent park. We walk past the Catholic neighborhoods knowing, at any moment, buildings might explode and automatic weapon fire could lacerate the air on every side of us. Belfast is charming, apart from the harsh reality of guerrilla warfare and terrorism being common occurrences. For the first time, throughout my three month tour of seventeen different European countries, I feel truly threatened. The tension carries itself into a nearby pub where an old man asks “Are you jus daft? Or do ya have relatives here?” His words hinted at my grandfather's blunt, yet kindly, expression concerning his birthplace in N. Ireland, “If you…show more content…
England stole much of Ireland's homeland and gave it to the Protestants allies from Scotland. Earlier this century, England divided Ireland into two, claiming the six northernmost counties as its own. The large number of Protestants, who remain loyal to the Crown of England, have created a system of oppression similar to the Jim Crow laws of the US. Oppression and second-class citizenship have limited the Catholics of N. Irelands opportunities and taken many lives. A Civil Rights movement was the only logical step. But first, we must discuss what lead up to this logical step-the history. In January 1919, the Anglo-Irish War began with the first shots being fired at Solobeghead. Over the next year, the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC- British Loyalists) became the target of a Sinn Fein (The beginning roots of the IRA) terror campaign By mid-1919, the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood-Part of Sinn Fein) had infiltrated the leadership of the Volunteers (Irish Militia) and were directing its pace on the violence. In an effort to assert control of the group, Volunteers declared the Army of the Irish Republic. Britain responded with violence. Special forces were sent over to impose curfews and martial law on the Irish. These forces became known as the Black and Tans after a popular Limerick hunt group, and because of their dark green and khaki uniforms. Another force of veterans from the Great War, called the Auxiliaries, joined them.

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