World News

5 Myths About Slavery: Find out the truth behind five common myths or misunderstandings about slavery in the United States.

1. Myth #1: There were enslaved Irish people in the American colonies.

As historian and public librarian Liam Hogan has written: “There is unanimous agreement, based on overwhelming evidence, that the Irish were never subjected to perpetual, hereditary slavery in the colonies, based on notions of ‘race’.” The enduring myth of Irish slavery, which most often surfaces today in service of Irish nationalist and white supremacist causes, has roots in the 17th and 18th centuries, when Irish laborers were derogatorily called “white slaves.” The phrase would later be employed as propaganda by the slave-owning South about the industrialized North, along with (false) claims that life was far harder for immigrant factory workers than for enslaved people.