MURPHIA MOB; Gangs of New York Movie Slated as 'Soft' on Irish Hoods

The People (London, England), October 20, 2002 | Go to article overview

MURPHIA MOB; Gangs of New York Movie Slated as 'Soft' on Irish Hoods


Byline: EAMONN O'HANLON

BLOCKBUSTER mobster movie Gangs of New York has been accused of being too nice to the Irish 'Murphia' - and glossing over many of its twisted deeds.

The $100 million flick, due for release in early December, is said to include some of the most gut-churning violence in movie history.

It tells how Irish and Italian Mafia gangs got started in New York in the mid-1800s - and is said to feature lashings of blood and gore.

One scene shows an Irish hoodlum beating a rival into a pulp, while another depicts a jarful of severed ears being kept as trophies.

But a new book about the Big Apple's violent past claims the real-life Irish mobsters were even worse than Hollywood would have us believe.

Paradise Alley, by historian Kevin Baker, accuses Irish tearaways of carrying out a sickening campaign of race hate against black New Yorkers.

The book kicks off where the movie ends, with the notorious Draft Riots of July 1863 when thousands of mostly Irish rioters hit the streets of New York.

The Irish were terrified of 'Negroes' taking their jobs - and furious over moves to draft thousands of new arrivals from the Emerald Isle into the army.

Baker claims Irish gangs deliberately targeted black people during three days of rioting which claimed 119 lives and left scores of buildings in ruins.

In one incident an orphanage housing more than 200 black children was burned down, while scores of black people were butchered in the street.

Baker also tells of another incident where a black man managed to hold off a murderous gang of Irish rioters - and save his own life - by staging an impromptu minstrel show. …

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