Monday, February 21, 2011

Thoughts: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, whose hundred year anniversary will be next month on March 25, was recently back in the news after the New York Times reported that the last six unknown victims had been identified.

It's interesting to think about this major historical event in light of the recent events in Wisconsin over public workers' rights to organize and bargain collectively.  For the Triangle Shirtwaist fire was a rallying cry for union organizers and workers, showing that there was a need for collective bargaining against the power of owners and managers.

For those of you who are interested in YA lit, the Triangle Shirtwaist fire is well-covered, with a range of perspectives.  These are just some of the titles that discuss this event:

Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch
Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix (guest post at librarian by day)
Lost by Jacqueline Davies (my review)
Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner

The time might be ripe for a display about unions in history!  Such a display would be a reminder that history influences the present and helps to explain it.


Ms. Yingling said...

I find this an oddly intriguing topic and have all of the books you listed!

Melissa Rabey said...

Hooray! It is a really interesting topic--I find it fascinating that the Triangle Shirtwaist fire has gotten so many different kinds of coverage. It's nice to see novelists using the historical event as a jumping-off point to tell the story they have in their minds.