Friday, March 25, 2011

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire: 100 Years Later

On March 25, 1911, New York City was the location for one of the deadliest industrial disasters in U. S. history.  The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, most of them immigrant women.  Many of the workers could not escape because the managers had locked the doors to the stairs and exits.  The fire led to legislation that improved factory safety standards and led to better conditions for factory workers.
This month is the 100th anniversary of the fire and this year's commemoration event will be different. The five women and one man that had previously been unidentified were finally given names and the complete roll of the dead will be read on March 25, 2011, in New York. 
I don't know why this horrible event has always fascinated me.  Empathy for the victims and their families?  Bittersweet gladness at the improved labor laws? Or is it that my birthday (March 25th) is always a constant reminder?  Whatever the reason, I am happy that the families of the six will finally have closure and that their loved ones can now be recognized.

Triangle: the Fire That Changed America by David Von Drehle

Triangle by Katharine Weber--large print fiction

Lost by Jacqeline Davies--young adult fiction

Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner--young adult fiction

Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix--young adult fiction

This memorial sits over the graves of the previously unknown. These are their names:

Maria Giuseppa Lauletti
Max Florin
Concetta Prestifilippo
Josephine Cammarata
Dora Evans
Fannie Rosen

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