Much of the history of labor in the United States is tied to the treatment of immigrant workers. The clip below is from an episode of PBS’s American Experience series focusing on the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire that broke out in March 1911. Immigrant workers, mainly women, were trapped in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory as it burned, killing 146 people and injuring dozens of others.
It is remembered as one of the most infamous incidents in American industrial history, as the deaths were largely preventable–most of the victims died as a result of neglected safety features and locked doors within the factory building. The tragedy brought widespread attention to the dangerous sweatshop conditions of factories, and led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of workers.
- From our friends at the Smithsonian Institution: Uncovering the History of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
- National Museum of American History: What you may not know about the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
- Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 (A Children’s book)
- Uprising By Margaret Peterson Haddix (for readers 12 and up)
- Audacity by Melanie Crowder (YA book written in verse)
- Birds of Passage: The Italian Americans – Re-imagining Migration
- The Bintel Brief: A Shopgirl’s Story – Re-imagining Migration
- The Bintel Brief: Anti-Semitism and Bigotry At Work – Re-imagining Migration