I’m a little late with this, but the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was on March 25, and it seems appropriate to post something about it, what with the new labor struggles that have broken out in the upper Midwest. It’s always astonishing to me how bad working conditions in this country were before the labor movement. The fire itself is a monumental tragedy–the worst in New York until 9/11–but it is merely the punctuation of years of abuse and trampling of human dignity.
American Experience aired a great documentary on the fire, which you can see in its entirety on their website. I urge you to watch the full-length version–it’s really very compelling and sickening, in a way that demands your attention and outrage, even 100 years later. Below is a cribbed version.