18 Cortland Street|
Troy, New York 12180
May 2, 1985
Recently, several persons from our local community organized themselves behind a common goal of establishing a commemorative event to formally recognize, as a son of Troy, a patriot of the Irish struggle for independence, James Connolly. Connolly was one of the prime movers in the struggle which culminated after his death in independence and freedom from colonial rule for what is known today as the Irish Republic (the 26 Southern counties of Ireland).
Today in Ireland James Connolly is considered to be not only a folk hero but a principal historical figure and one of the most important political visionaries from Ireland's past (he was one of the founders of the Irish Labour Party which represents many of the working class people in Ireland today).
From 1903 to 1905 Connolly, with his wife and two children, lived and worked in Troy. Nora and Ina, like other city children of that day, earned money pulling wagons through the streets collecting and delivering collars to the shirt factories. James worked for the Troy Office of the Metropolitan Insurance Company. He had a life long devotion to the labor movement, and much of his time in the United States was spent in teaching working class people the most practical and effective methods of organizing unions so they could bargain with their employers for better working conditions, hours, and wages.
It is the opinion of this organizing committee that such a significant personage as James Connolly should not continue to go unrecognized as part of Troy's proud heritage.
Our objectives are to have a commemorative celebration in Troy sometime in the late summer of 1986, and as Fart of the festivities, the unveiling of a permanent monument (a plaque or bust) to the memory of James Connolly to be located in the area of the Riverfront Park in Troy. The committee has already formulated its structure to include key roles for members responsible for fundraising, program and publicity, legal council, etc. We have contacted and gained the support for a Connolly commemorative event from local members of the New York State Senate and Assembly (Messrs. Bruno, McNulty and Kelleher). We have solicited the interest and participation of the Irish Government and have gotten encouraging news from Mr. Dick Spring, Head of The Irish Labour Party, about the possibility of having a monument designed in Ireland and donated to the City of Troy.
We cannot go further with our plans until we have the endorsement and pledge of cooperation and participation from the City of Troy. My purpose in writing to you today is to provide you with some background information on James Connolly, and to ask for your endorsement of our goals. We feel that a successful commemorative celebration and permanent monument to James Connolly's memory will document for future generations an important chapter in Troy's history.
I look forward to your favorable reply.
Secretary for the Organizing Committee
Pres. Local 1116, CWA and Executive
Board Member, Irish American Labor Coalition
President, Troy A.O.H.
Troy A.O.H., Womens Auxiliary
Troy City Council
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