American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

Commemorating the Triangle Fire: Child Labor

Published April 4, 2012

Laura Lovett, University of Massachusetts
Hugh D. Hindman, Appalachia State University
Kriste Lindenmeyer, Rutger’s University
Sally Greenberg, National Consumers League
March 24, 2011

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in March 2011, the Gotham Center (Graduate Center, CUNY) sponsored Remembering the Triangle Fire. In this 55 minute podcast, Laura Lovett (University of Massachusetts) introduces the panel: Hugh D. Hindman (Appalachia State University, NC) (4:55), Kriste Lindenmeyer (Rutger’s University) (17:30), and Sally Greenberg (Executive Director of the National Consumers League) (37:00), who speak about the past and present issue of child labor. Hindman suggests that when remembering the Triangle Fire we should not focus solely on the factory as workplace. The historical definition of sweatshop is “a system of subcontract” and the problem still exists in homes here and around the world. Lindenmeyer discusses two strikes involving children, in 1903 and 1930. She looks at the reasons behind the different responses on the part of government and the public based on “economics, the needs of adults, and new ideas about work in the minds of the young workers who themselves helped to cause the change”.  Sally Greenberg ends the panel with a talk about child labor in the U.S. agricultural industry today and some recent legislative efforts.

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