Thomas Byrnes, a famous New York City police detective, demonstrated the bias and assumptions held by law enforcement against the “criminal class” when he categorized the various criminal types in Professional Criminals of America. George Appo, a master pickpocket, sometimes con artist, and opium addict, was the child of a Chinese American man, Quimbo Appo, or Lee Ah Bow, while his mother, Catherine Fitzpatrick, was an Irish immigrant. His father spent time in prison, while his mother and sister died enroute to California to visit her brother.
This talk will discuss 19th century New York through the eyes of George Appo, whose mixed race background, and criminal involvement, meant he was held up as an example of the dangers of miscegenation. His autobiography sheds light on how the criminals of the time were treated, and how they reacted to the justice system; the convergence of political reform and criminal behaviors; and how the underworld increasingly permeated popular culture at the turn of the twentieth century.
The Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany will present “George Appo: The Irish and Chinese in NYC Crime,” a virtual program set for Tuesday, May 30th.
This program will begin at 7 pm and will be held virtually via Zoom, and live on the Irish American Heritage Museum YouTube Channel. For more information or to register, click here.
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