So much is going on around the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, we want to recap the events we listed last week and point out a few more highlights. The Labor Department announced today a mobile-optimized website to commemorate the anniversary, featuring an audio tour and background of the event. When you travel to one of the locations for the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire you can listen to an audio description of the location by clicking on the link within the page. Check out the site and get more info on the audio tour here.
In recent days, David Von Drehle, author of the 2003 book, Triangle: The Fire That Changed America, spoke with the New Jersey Star-Ledger about the relevance of Triangle today. As Drehle says:
The story is how Triangle came to have such an influence, through organizing, voting, raising awareness, working within the system. That story is still relevant to solve the problems we have today.
Read his full interview here.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, in a Washington Post piece Friday, reminds us that just last year, 29 coal miners died in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine—deaths that could have been prevented had Massey Energy, the mine’s owner, followed federal mine safety rules.
Historian Joshua Freeman describes in The Nation why the event still has a hold on our national imagination, and how we can use the impulse for change that came out of Triangle to fuse together social forces to bring about “a new set of customs and laws designed for our world of commoditization, financialization and globalization, which has brought so much wealth and so much misery.”
Also, the Jewish Daily Forward has prepared a special section devoted to aspects of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
Union members and our progressive allies have a lot of great options to commemorate this important anniversary.
- The New York City labor community is taking part in the March 25 events at the former site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. The ceremony, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., is at the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street in Manhattan. The event is sponsored by the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition.
- Beginning this week, numerous organizations are sponsoring archive exhibits, film screenings, performance pieces and more. Get the full list here.
- The City University of New York is hosting an all-day conference, “Out of the Smoke and Flame: The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and Its Legacy, March 24, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. More info here.
- A symposium in Washington, D.C., on job safety and health in the 100 years since the Triangle fire, March 21, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. RSVP required.
- “Remembering the Fire,” a special presentation at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., March 25, noon to 1:30 p.m. RSVP required.
- New York City’s Cooper Union is hosting an evening of music, spoken word poetry and solidarity in commemoration of the 146 victims. The Metropolitan Klezmer will be performing klezmer music written about the tragedy, uncovered 100 years later. Details here.
- The Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA) is holding events in Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Iowa City. More info here.