Commemorating the Fire

by Esther Cohen RUTH SERGEL is a deeply original visual and performance artist and filmmaker, the author of See You in the Streets: Art, Action, and Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, published last year by the University of Iowa Press. The book, she says, “is a chronicle of how I learned to be an […]

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Channel Esther: The Triangle Fire

by Esther Cohen Some stories we can’t tell enough. March 25, 1911 (honoring this story today) 146 people died, jumping falling factory on 23-29 Washington Place NYU now owners locked the doors preventing workers from taking breaks stealing merchandise Fire changed our laws, starting International Ladies Garment Workers (ILGWU) there are still fires still people […]

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Channel Esther: What Life Looks Like

by Esther Cohen YESTERDAY I was sitting in a meeting for the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire commemoration meeting if all meetings could be like theirs I would go to more meetings yesterday I was thinking about all the young girls who died in that fire and what life is my phone pinged (most people say […]

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November 23: The Uprising of the 20,000

More than twenty thousand Yiddish-speaking immigrants, mostly young women, launched an eleven-week strike in New York’s shirtwaist industry on this date in 1909 — the largest strike by women in American history. Assaulted by goons, arrested by cops, lacking a substantial strike fund, the young women endured winter picketing, hunger, and harsh treatment in the […]

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June 3: The ILGWU

The International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) was founded on this date in 1900, bringing together several smaller labor groups representing Jewish and Italian workers, predominantly young women. They “worked nine-hour days,” writes Cody Bay, “probably crammed into some moldy basement with locked doors and a complete dickhead for a boss who was likely also a […]

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April 6: Rose Schneiderman

Rose Schneiderman, a fiery labor leader and socialist who helped to found the ACLU and was a close friend to Eleanor Roosevelt, was born on this date in 1882 in Poland. She helped to organize the first women’s local of the United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers Union in 1903, and rose to prominence during […]

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