history essay

Many times it takes a tragedy to push public opinion to make needed changes.  The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire was one of those events.  Looking at the victims and the conditions they lived and worked in gives us a window into life in big cities in 1911.  Go to Unit 6, Lesson 20, Progressive Profiles and watch the  video,  Pay close attention to the section “Laboratories for Change”.   Here is a website with good details on this event and the aftermath.  http://trianglefire.ilr.cornell.edu  Go to that website and read the original news stories on the fire.  That site also has material about the victims and the trial that followed the fire.  There is also a great video on the fire on the PBS website under the American Experience.  I want you to get a feel for the victims, their lives and their work.  Many families  lost two or more members of their family.  The Maltese family lost 3 ranging in age from 39 to 14. Many of these women had been active in strikes trying to improve their working conditions.  Many of the issues they were concerned about would contribute to this deadly fire.  After the fire it became the catalyst for major labor and safety reforms at the state and national level.  Pretend you are reporting on that fire.  Write the story telling about the fire and the victims ending with a call for specific safety reforms.  You can write your story for the next days paper or you can write it after the trial looking back on what happened. Be sure and look at the need for reform at state and federal levels.   Look at your life today and see how many of the reforms that were a direct result of this fire make your life better.   Be creative.

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