This week on Fieldstone Common, Marian Pierre-Louis interviews Kenneth Milano, author of The Philadelphia Nativist Riots.
The outskirts of Philadelphia seethed with tension in the spring of 1844. By May 6, the situation between the newly arrived Irish Catholics and members of the anti-immigrant Nativist Party took an explosively violent turn. When the Irish asked to have their children excused from reading the Protestant version of the Bible in local public schools, the nativists held a protest. The Irish pushed back. For three days, riots scorched the streets of Kensington. Though the immigrants first had the upper hand, the nativists soon put the community to the torch. Those who fled were shot. Two Catholic churches burned to the ground, along with several blocks of houses, stores, a nunnery and a Catholic school. Local historian Kenneth W. Milano traces this tumultuous history from the preceding hostilities through the bloody skirmishes and finally to the aftermath of arrests and trials. Discover a remarkably intimate and compelling view of the riots with stories of individuals on both sides of the conflict that rocked Kensington.
Kenneth W. Milano is a historical & genealogical researcher. He was born and raised in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Milano received his degree in History from Temple University. His 2006-2011 column “The Rest is History” is well remembered by readers of Star Newspapers. He is one of the founders of the Kensington History Project.