Parade today to honor James Connolly|
(By Ned Hoskin, Staff reporter)
Troy - The city's tribute to Irish patriot and former Trojan James Connolly sent a buzz throughout the world via the international press.
The Irish Democrat, a newspaper with worldwide distribution out of London, England, ran a story asking why Troy ‹ Connolly's home for only a few years ‹ beat his hometown to the punch.
"The erection of a statue to James Connolly in Troy, N.Y., has prompted people to ask why there is not one in his native cite of Edinburgh, (Scotland)" the article said.
The question came up this fall after the Troy tribute in August and upon the opening of "Sing a Rebel Song," an exhibition about Connolly at the City of Edinburgh Art Centre.
The Northern Standard, a newspaper in County Monaghan, Ireland, ran a lengthy article with photos about the unveiling of the monument in Troy.
Representatives of the Monaghan Society of New York were quoted as saying, "If a monument can be erected to James Connolly in Troy, New York, isn't it time that a similar one were erected in Monaghan, where both Connolly's parents were born?"
A similar lengthy write-up was published in The Spirit of Freedom, a journal of Irish news and opinion out of New York City. The Irish Times and other Dublin dailies also covered the story.
Labor organizations, local and international played a major role in making the tribute a reality. International Longshoremen's Association President Thomas W "Teddy" Gleason was the honorary chairman of the event; Communications Workers of America Local 1116 President James Devine of Troy was the local chairman.
Consequently, the labor press covered the event as well. Features with photos appeared in such publications as the Express put out by the Transport Workers Union, and the Hotline, published by the Communications Workers of America.
The story spread through the ranks of highest labor and government officials in this country, as well.
Through the event, "We became a focus of labor in this country," said Mayor Robert M. Conway Jr. "A lot of high powered labor leaders were here for the tribute."
Conway described the tribute as a very positive thing" that recognized Connolly for his role in this country's labor movement. That role has been overlooked, as has Troy's place in American labor history, he said.
"The tribute was one that labor leaders will think fondly of," when they think of Troy, he said.
While the celebration also capitalized on the Irish ethnicity of this area, it certainly crossed over ethnic lines, Conway said.
[ Troy ]