iBAM! 2012: October 12, 13 & 14, “A Journey towards Understanding through the Arts” an annual festival at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago. This year the festivities will be held in honor of Derry, City of Culture 2013.
We will be meeting attendees and presenters, signing our books and exhibiting vintage photos this year, in honor the Irish immigrants who were responsible for Bridgeport’s rapid residential and industrial development.
As early as 1833, thousands of Irish immigrants, who had just built the Erie Canal, moved to Bridgeport to work on the recently approved 96 mile I & M Canal. These Irish lived and worked hard to build Bridgeport and Chicago.
These immigrants did not have an easy life,but slowly things did get better for them and their children. Because of their strong will, within one hundred years, the first of four Chicago mayors, of Irish heritage and Bridgeport born would take office. Edward J. Kelly, Bridgeport born and raised, was the Mayor from 1933-1947. Mayor Kelly watched over Chicago through the Great Depression and WWII. Some would argue that Mayor Kelly saved the world, because he was highly instrumental in the re-election of FDR.
After Mayor Kelly left office in 1947, Martin Kennelly also Bridgeport born was Mayor from 1947 until Richard J. Daley became mayor in 1955. RJD. was Chicago’s mayor until his death in 1976. His son, Richard M. Daley was Chicago’s mayor from 1989-2011, exactly one year longer than his father. This meant that Chicago had a mayor named Daley for 43 years.
Because of all of this and much more, we feel that it is important for our Bridgeport book to be shared with Chicago Irish and those traveling in for the festival from all over the world. The Irish have a lot to be proud of and the development of Chicago is at the top of that list!