March 17, 2014
Albion College professor of history Marcy Sacks was quoted in today's edition of The New York Times in a story describing what writer Rachel L. Swarns calls a "mostly forgotten slice of history" following one of New York City's—and America's—ugliest civil disturbances: the 1863 draft riots.
More than 100 people died over several days of violent unrest in which many Irish immigrants targeted their anger on African-Americans. But by 1870, the census documented the emergence of scores of interracial couples—African-American men and Irish women who often worked in the same neighborhoods and lived in the same crowded tenements.
"We have this sense that racism is so rigid, that color consciousness is so rigid," said Sacks, who teaches courses on African-American history, both before and after the Civil War, at Albion. "These stories remind us that we are human first."