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Sunday, March 27, 2011

In Memory

Last week marked the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City.  146 people died in one of the worst industrial accidents in U.S. history. 

Workers, mainly women, were locked into the factory during their shifts, preventing escape.  The single unlocked door was blocked by fire.   At least 50 people burned to death on the factory floor, 53 jumped or fell from the windows of the building, 19 fell down the elevator shaft, and over 20 tumbled to their deaths from a broken fire escape. All but 23 were women, mostly young immigrant women, and nearly half of them were teenagers.  New Yorkers watched in horror. In the aftermath, laws were changed and unions strengthened to protect the workers.

This memorial installation, done pop-up book style and made from foam board and paper, was created by the first year class at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, coordinated by assistant professor Anne Kong. 







Victims' names and ages written on the sidewalk in chalk.


“Like the phoenix that radiantly regenerates, we remember those who ignited a new era of reform.  They shall live forever clothed in light.”

18 comments:

Melly Testa said...

Quite touching.

Melly Testa said...

Quite touching.

Shirley said...

Brilliant! What a great post from this small, extremely creative and well done exhibit. I'm so glad that we stumbled on it.

Janet Ghio said...

What a wonderful post Teri! Looks like an incredible exhibit. Perhaps some of the union busting governors need to see it!!

Beverley Baird said...

What a lovely, impressive testamount to those who died so tragically. thanks for sharing.

journaldarte said...

Powerful in it's understated simplicity! Such a touching tribute to all those who perished. I was reading about this last week - so sad. Thanks for sharing Teri.

Jeannie said...

A very moving exhibit.

ellie said...

Thank you so much for posting these pictures, Teri. What an amazing exhibit...esp. that sculpture in the last photo. I'll be honest, I had no idea the influence this tragedy had on the formation of unions until I saw the PBS documentary a week ago. I remember my mom "making" me and my siblings watch a made-for-tv movie back in the late 70s on the Triangle Factory Fire....and that memory stuck with me...the horror of it.

Then, I read the book "Clara and Mr. Tiffany" and the Triangle Factory is mentioned in passing in regards to one of the minor characters....got me remembering that movie and wondering what other info might be available...google search turned up the PBS documentary as well as the anniversary events in NY....synchronicity at its finest. But I also feel quite blessed to have a friend with like interests enough that she took the time to go to one of the exhibits, photograph them, and post them on the web so that I could also participate even though I live in NC.

Thanks so much, my friend.

teri said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this New York "visit," Ellie, and I really appreciate that you shared the link to the PBS documentary. I learned so much from it about this tragedy, and also about the positive events that came from it. I'm heartened to see that, 100 years later, these lives have not been forgotten.

Bea said...

Beautiful photos. Thank you for posting them. I started to watch a PBS special on the fire and couldn't because it just made me so sad. :)Bea

Tammy Freiborg said...

Thank you for remembering and for reminding us. We must learn for the past. Amazing exhibit!

Thauna said...

What a beautiful and touching exhibit! Looks like it was spectacular in person. Tragedies like this need to be remembered always. What a beautiful way to pay tribute.

Holli said...

I did a report on this tragedy in high school.... thank you for this Teri. What a beautiful memorial to those women.

Trece said...

I remember seeing a Tovah Feldshuh movie about the fire on TV back around 1980. Made a huge impact on me, and I made sure to teach my daughters about it, as we homeschooled. Thanks for reminding me. I had forgotten.

Eileen said...

When my grandmother was new to this country, before she had children, she worked in a sweatshop just like that one.
Whenever I hear anti-union rhetoric from our politicians I think of her, of the Triangle Factory Fire, and it just pisses me off!

Brenda said...

What a fitting way to remember Women's History Month. Not to remember the Gertrude Steins or the Sally Rides, but to remember the immigrant woman who came to this country with just her dreams and a few dollars in her pocket to marry the man or her dreams or just to marry, and then to meet such a horrible death for such a stupid reason.

Here's to the everyday woman, whose life has meant something, and here's to those women in particular.

Thanks, Teri!

Lisa said...

That is a lovely tribute. What a tragedy but thank heavens some good came of it.

Renee Howell said...

Tragic event. Beautiful memorial. Thank you for sharing!