While most educators and textbooks would have us believe the polarization of oppression and race along lines of skin pigmentation is the natural, inherent, and historical condition of ethnic interaction, Dooley’s book suggests otherwise. Black and Green looks at the common link forged by oppression and the struggle for liberation between white Irish and black Americans since the 1800s.
Dooley examines the political, social, and ideological connections between the civil rights struggle in Ireland and America. His analysis results in a picture of reciprocal interchange with both sides influencing, shaping, and supporting the other. The end result is that this “other” demarcated through pigmentation was hardly an “other” during the historical moment. Angela Davis and Bernadette McAliskey support each other while in prison. When McAliskey later receives the keys to the city of New York for her work in Ireland, she gives them to the Black Panther Party. Frederick Douglas and O’Connell heavily influence each other’s political thought and speak out in support of each other’s cause. Marcus Garvey claims the color scheme of his movement reflects the struggle of various liberation moments of different races all over the world, including the Irish (Red for the reds of the world, green for the Irish struggle, and black for the African American, or, as he puts it at the time, the “Negro struggle.” )
Dooley’s writing is lucid, engaging, and often narrative. As his innovative and perhaps contentious claims demand, Dooley’s research is heavily documented, often cites primary sources, and features hundreds of foot notes at the book’s end. Educators and researchers may use this book with the confidence that they can ascertain with some degree of certainty the primary sources from which Dooley’s arguments arise. Further, Dooley’s writing is eminently accessible and multi-layered. I have used sections of chapters in my middle school classroom in the Bronx and cited Dooley extensively in papers for graduate school. Black and Green is an invaluable resource for race studies, American or Irish history, and civil rights seminars.