One of the untold stories of Irish immigration to America is that they took the Free Blacks unskilled jobs within the cities like New York, Philadelphia and others... Yes, the Irish were displacing the local Free Blacks who many had been in these cities since the revolutionary days... Ireland... https://www.theroot.com/the-divide-between-blacks-and-the-irish-1790878916 The Penal Laws regulated every aspect of Irish life and established Irish Catholics as an oppressed race. On two occasions officials with judiciary authority in Ireland declared that "the law does not suppose any such person to exist as an Irish Roman Catholic." Snip... .As they came to the cities, they were crowded into districts that became centers of crime, vice and disease. They commonly found themselves thrown together with free Negroes. Blacks and the Irish fought each other and the police, socialized and occasionally intermarried, and developed a common culture of the lowly. In 1834 a mostly Irish mob in Philadelphia rampaged through the black district. By the time they subsided, two black people were killed and many beaten. Two churches and upwards of 20 homes were laid waste, their contents looted or destroyed. A committee appointed to investigate the riot identified as a principal cause the belief that some employers were hiring black workers over whites. Black workers had traditionally been an important part of the waterfront workforce in New York, Philadelphia and other northern cities, as well as Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans and other Southern ports. In 1850, Irish laborers in New York demanded the dismissal of a black laborer who was working alongside them. During the strike of 1852 and again in 1855, 1862 and 1863, Irish longshoremen battled black workers who had been brought in to take their places. The underlying cause of the New York Riot of 1863, misnamed the Draft Riot, was the employment of black workers on the docks. Snip... "Irish gangs not only drove blacks out of jobs, they also served as surrogate unions." In August 1862, a largely Irish mob in Brooklyn attacked the black employees, chiefly women and children, who were working in a tobacco factory The mob, having driven the black employees to the upper stories of the building, then set fire to the first floor. The factory was allowed to reopen only when the employer promised to dismiss the Negroes and hire Irish. Snip... Irish pro-slavery... Irish attitudes toward the free Negro in the North led them to oppose abolition. In 1838 an Irish mob burned just-completed Pennsylvania Hall, built by subscription to serve as a center for abolitionist meetings. It was not that the Irish supported slavery: They would have been happy to see slavery abolished, provided all the black folk could have been kept on the plantations or shipped out of the country altogether The competition among Irish and black laborers failed to lead to unity because it did not take place under normal labor market conditions but was distorted by the color line. As we see the Irish ruthlessly fought and push the Free Blacks out of thier position within the cities leading up to the Civil War... They share the same social class at first... Blacks and Irish Immigrants: 1840 to 1860 - Black New York macaulay.cuny.edu By 1841, about 100,000 Irish Catholic immigrants had flooded into the city, and this number soared in the wake of the Irish potato famine in 1846. The blacks and Irish immigrants shared commonalities in terms of social status and economic standing and were thus forced to compete for the worst housing and lowest paying jobs in the city. Evidently, they faced direct competition for jobs in labor market with the blacks. Resentment and hatred resulted from competition which escalated racial tension between these two groups. The Irish immigrants took the blacks' jobs away since they were willing to work for less money. In addition, the blacks took over Irish jobs when they went on strike. As a result, ethnic violence and gang activities increased. Civil disobedience spread throughout New York City, and later on led to the outbreak of the Draft Riots.