A hundred years ago today, several hundred men and women—many of them immigrants, most of them women, many of them younger than you are, all of them lower class—started their shifts at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, a modern, state-of-the-art garment manufacturing facility at the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place in New York's Greenwich Village, just about a mile away from our offices.
At the end the workday, 146 of those same men and women—more than one in four who had clocked in that morning—would be dead.
By the next morning, millions of Americans would know the name of where those 146 worked and would start asking themselves questions about working conditions and building safety, whose eventual answers we all consider basic human rights.
As any High School teacher will tell you, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire was a turning point in American work practices and, therefore, international labor standards. But there are small elements, some of them moving, others frightening, that often get left out of a story that is ultimately about the deaths of some very hardworking New Yorkers that continues to touch us to this day.
Click through to learn more about the tragic event.