Thursday, March 31, 2011

Archival Articles About The Triangle Fire From The Forward

compiled from the Forward

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Relatives Of Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Victims Keep Lessons From Tragedy Alive

from ny 1, by roger clark

People who lost family members in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire joined a Friday procession to Greenwich Village to remember relatives lost a century ago, and to stress that New York City cannot forget the lessons learned from the tragedy. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
Rosie Weiner, one of 146 victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, was only 19 when she died.
"She jumped from the ninth floor window. According to reports, she was holding her friend Tessie Wisner's hand," said Suzanne Pred-Bass, Weiner's great-niece.
Pred-Bass was one of hundreds marching in a Friday procession from Union Square to the scene of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. Another of her great-aunts, Rosie's 17-year-old sister Katie, somehow survived that day 100 years ago.
"She grabbed the cable, really so courageously, of the last elevator to leave the ninth floor and saved herself. It was really remarkable," said Pred-Bass.
Annie Springsock, then 17 years old, also survived. Her granddaughter, Eileen Nevitt, came from California to pay tribute to her and the historical impact of the fire.
"These safeguards in work places, to make sure that our workplaces are safe, were hard-fought-for protections," said Nevitt. "And I think it is very important for all Americans to realize that we should very much make sure that our safeguards continue."
Denise DiCapua and Mary Alice Del Castillo were there to remember 17-year-old Josie Del Castillo, DiCapua's great-aunt who was lost in the fire.
"As a young child I has only knew that there was a relative that died in this fire, but in the past year or so we have gotten to learn more about her life and the events surrounding the fire," said DiCapua.
"I just felt that on the 100th anniversary, some members of the family should be here to remember Josie, and what happened," said Del Castillo, the wife of the victim's great-nephew.
The message from everyone at the procession was to not forget those lessons learned from a tragic day that changed so much for so many.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Ballad Of Joe Zito

Ballad for Joe Zito Music and Lyrics by Annie Lanzillotto © 2011
Lemme tell you ‘bout Joe Zito
The kinda man you wanna know.
Selfless Acts of Courage -- his destiny
Elevator Man -- Triangle Factory!
Born Giuseppe Alessandro Zito, in 1883, fifteen minutes past ten.
Sweet green eyes, strong nose, he’d grow to be the noblest of men.
At 18 he left Sere, Provincia di Salerno, Italy,
Came to America. Got a job at the Triangle Factory.
It was Payday in March, fifteen minutes to quittin time,
when Joe “Fire!” Glass smashing way up high.
Up Up Up to save lives, everyone was screaming, distraught,
Joe never gave his own safety a single thought.
Girls dove into the elevator clutching scissors,
Another guy woulda minded his own bizness.
Lemme tell you bout Joe Zito A better man you’ll never know.
Selfless Acts of Courage -- his destiny Elevator Man--Triangle Factory!
Up Up Up Joe Joe Joe Into fire higher higher he climbed
He went back up about eighteen times.
Why didn’t he go up a 19th you say?
Mezzo Morte at the bottom of the shaft, Joe lay.
Elevator dropped, smashed at basement level.
The cables gave in to fire, an overloading hell hole
Jumping on Joe’s car, girls after girls.
Clothing on fire, hair still in curls.
They dragged Joe out into the street half dead,
Rushed him to Saint Vincent’s, stab wounds on his arms and forehead.
Joe Zito, one of the strong,
We remember his name with a song.
Selfless Acts of Courage was his destiny
He couldn’t a known this when he left Italy.
Povero Giuseppe never recovered since he saw,
“Burning Rockets” from the 8th floor, fall.
He couldn’t forget girls trapped in flames,
Judge Craine said The Shirtwaist Kings weren’t to blame.
Joe left New York City in a state of deprivation,
Shell shocked from Triangle workers’ asphyxiation and decapitations.
Couldn’t get a job, Joe couldn’t keep his wife,
Our noble Joe was scarred for life.
He never recovered from all he saw,
Seven years later he joined the Army, for The Great War.
No rich man could buy Joe’s word
His green sad eyes had saw and heard.
The papers said he died without a penny,
No bribe could change Joe’s testimony.
Povero Giuseppe Alessandro was never the same,
He saved ahun-fifty girls out of the slain.
Joe kept free to tell the truth.
The Shirtwaist Kings took insurance loot.
And like many of our brave Joe was buried in an unmarked grave.
Lemme tell you ‘bout Joe Zito
Italian American Hero!
Selfless Acts of Courage -- his destiny
Elevator Man -- Triangle Factory!
Elevator Man we sing your name
Thanks Joe
Thanks Joe
Thanks Joe
Thanks Joe

Do You Hear The People Sing

From the Centennial Celebration of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. Visible in the segment are the outstanding students from Maribeth Whitehouse's class from Bronx Intermediate School 190, activist Teddy Auerbach and Professor Richard Greenwald from Drew University

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?

Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free!

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Will you give all you can give
So that our banner may advance
Some will fall and some will live
Will you stand up and take your chance?
The blood of the martyrs
Will water the meadows of France!

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Things We Had When New York Was A Union Town

from, Dr Mark Naison Fordham University
With collective bargaining rights having just been eliminated in Wisconsin by legislative fiat, and with more states poised to do the same; with union teachers everywhere being made scapegoats for the nations educational problems; and with the most powerful business interests in the nation funding movements to privatize government services and decertify public employee unions, I thought be useful to look back at a time in New York City's history when unions had far more power than they have today.
When New York City emerged from World War II, the most dynamic sectors of its economy- garment, electronics, transportation, construction, and food processing- were all heavily unionized. These union gains in the private sector were soon followed by the acquisition of collective bargaining rights by teachers, employees of state and city government and workers in health care.
Given what is being said about unions by elected officials and the media, one might expect that time in New York history- the 1940's 1950's and 1950's- to be one of educational and cultural stagnation. One would expect that New York City today is a much more dynamic and democratic city than it was during a time when more than half the city's work force was unionized.
But when do some historical research and ask yourself the question, "Does New York City have better schools, public services and cultural and recreational opportunities for its poor and working class citizens than it did 50 years ago" the answer you come up with is a resounding NO.
I have spent the last nine years doing oral histories with Bronx residents through a project I lead called the Bronx African American History Project, and to a person, the people I interviewed feel that young people growing up in the Bronx had better opportunities in the 50's and the 60's than young people growing up there today. As Josh Freeman points out in his wonderful book Working Class New York, many of the programs that my interviewees talked about that made their lives better were fought for by the city's labor movement.
Here is a list of just a few of the programs which New York City unions fought for that are no longer with us today. I will leave it to you to decided whether we are better off without them,.
1. Supervised recreation programs in every public elementary school in the city from 3-5 PM and 7-9 PM, which included sports, arts and crafts and music. These programs were free and open any young person who walked through the door.
2. First rate music programs in every public junior high school in the city featuring free instruction for students in bands, orchestras and music classes. Students in those classes could take home musical instruments to practice. Among the beneficiaries of these school music programs were some of the greats of Latin music in NYC, including Willie Colon, Eddie and Charlie Palmieri. Ray Barretto and Bobby Sanabria.
3. Recreation supervisors, as well as cleaners, in every public park in the city, including neighborhood vest pocket parks, who organized games and leagues and prevented fights. One of the greatest of these "parkies" Hilton White, organized a community basketball program that send scores of Bronx youth to college on basketball scholarships including 3 who played on the 1966 Texas Western team which won the NCAA championship.
4. A public housing program that constructed tens thousands of units of low and moderate income housing throughout the city and staffed these with housing police, ground crews and recreation staffs to make sure the projects were safe, clean and well policed
5. Free tuition at the city university, at the community college, college and graduate levels, for all students who met the admissions standards
6. Parks department policies which made sure that parks in the outer boroughs were kept as clean and environmentally sound as Central Park or parks in wealthy neighborhoods
7 Free admission at all the city's major zoos and museums
These policies, all of which were eliminated during the fiscal crisis of the 1970's, when a banker dominated Emergency Financial Control Board was put in charge of city finances meant that children in poor and working class communities had access to recreational cultural and educational opportunities which are today only available to the children of the rich . These programs were not there because of the foresight and compassion of the city's business leadership. They were there because unions fought for them and demanded that elected officials they supported fund them
This is not to say that unions are right in every dispute, or that they are immune from arrogance, greed and crruption. But it should give pause to those who think that our lives would be better in a union free environment
Let me leave you with some numbers. In the early 1950's when 35% of the American work force was unionized, the United States had the smallest wealth gap (between the top and bottom 20 percent of its population) of any advanced nation in the world. Now, when 11.9% of our workforce is unionized, we have the largest.
Is this progress?
Let's think long and hard before we blame unions for the city's and the nation's economic problems
Mark Naison

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meredith Tax: Part Of The Passage From Rivington Street Read At Triangle Commemoration At FIT

Not the entirety of this was read, but a part. My audio was not clear enough to post

Katharine Weber: Reading From Triangle At Commemoration At F.I.T.

part 1
part 2
part 3
some of the pages she read from Triangle

Kevin Baker Reading From Dreamland At Triangle Fire Commemoration At F.I.T.

part 1
part 2
part 3
from March 9
Stories and Songs of the Triangle Fire
5:30 pm, Katie Murphy Amphitheater, D Building
Meredith Tax, author, Rivington Street
Kevin Baker, author, Dreamland
Katharine Weber, author, Triangle
Songs and readings by FIT students
a few of the pages Kevin read

about the Fighting Flames exhibit that Kevin was referring to
from the jcs-group
The success of Luna Park spawned second-rate imitators. Only William H. Reynolds, a New York politician, had the clout and backing to truly compete. Reynolds bought 60 acres of land from the City of New York between Surf Avenue and the ocean. His dream was to build the most bewildering, excessive, visionary park in the world. It would hold 250,000 people. Its one million electric lights would pale Luna Park in comparison. Visitors would feel as if they had been transported to another world, so Reynolds called his park Dreamland which opened in the spring of 1904. The centerpiece of Dreamland was the 375- foot Beacon Tower. At night, its powerful searchlight shone almost 50 miles over the ocean, disorienting ships on their way into New York Harbor. The park featured an imitation Doge’s Palace, an electricity building (housing the generators that kept Dreamland’s power running) and the Fighting Flames exhibit, the six-story tenement replication that was set on fire every day.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Triangle Fire Memorial: CUNY TV

Former State Senator Serphin Maltese speaks about his family's connection to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.

Bread And Roses: Labor History

A slide show I youtubed last year and forgot to post here. May be of interest with the triangle anniversary upcoming.
from Tom Juravich

The slogan "Bread and Roses" originated in a poem of that name by James Oppenheim, published in American Magazine in December 1911, which attributed it to "the women in the West."
It is commonly associated with the textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts during January-March 1912, now often known as the "Bread and Roses strike." The strike, which united dozens of immigrant communities under the leadership of the Industrial Workers of the World, was led to a large extent by women.
The strikers are credited with inventing the moving picket line, so that they would not be arrested for loitering.
It was settled on terms generally favorable to the workers. They won pay increases, time-and-a-quarter pay for overtime, and a promise of no discrimination against strikers.
It has long been thought that Oppenheim was inspired by a strike sign carried by women with the slogan, "We want bread, but we want roses, too!"
We now know that he did not write it during the strike. But it was embraced by the strikers and the notion of "Bread and Roses" has become a cry for justice and dignity for women workers around the world.
Observer Ray Stannard Baker wrote in The American Magazine:
[Lawrence] is the first strike I ever saw which sang. I shall not soon forget the curious lift, the strange sudden fire of the mingled nationalities at the strike meetings when they broke into the universal language of song. And not only at the meetings did they sing, but in the soup houses and in the streets.
Bread and Roses has since become a women's movement standard with either of two melodies variously attributed to Martha L. Coleman, Caroline Kohsleet, and Carolin Kohlsaat. Utah Phillips also has a melody, as does Mimi Fariña, whose is the most well-known.
Tom Juravich adds:
For me, though, the poetry of Bread and Roses suggests a different kind of melody -- one that lends itself to a more lyrical interpretation than the march cadence of the Fariña tune. So several years ago I wrote a new melody. I also took the opportunity to revise some of the lyrics that had exhibited the sexism and racism of the early 20th century."
Bread And Roses
As we come marching, marching in beauty of the day
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts grey
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people here are singing bread and roses, bread and roses.

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go rising through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Art, love, and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for but we fight for roses too.

As we come marching, marching, we
battle once again.
We're fighting for our children, our
sisters and for men.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth
until life closes,
Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us
bread, but give us roses.

As we come marching, marching, we're
standing proud and tall,
The rising of the women means the
rising of us all.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that
toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories, bread and
roses, bread and roses.

Personnel: Teresa Healy, vocals; Tom Juravich, vocals, acoustic guitar, producer; James Stephens, fiddle, electric guitar, producer, recording, mixing; David Cain, mastering; Dave Bignell, mixing.

Patrick J. Walsh: Witness To Triangle Fire

His 1946 obituary in addition to a Word War II era photo

Sunday, March 6, 2011

‘Help Us! Help Us! Help Us Now!’ –

‘Help Us! Help Us! Help Us Now!’ –

From The Fire - Intro from Jaime Lebrija on Vimeo.

Composer Elizabeth Swados has dramatized tragedy before, but never the fear that rises from the gut when flames are sweeping nearby and escape is far away.
In creating the music for the most terrifying moments in an original oratorio for the centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Swados turned to raw instinct.
“I didn’t think,” she said. “I tried to hear in the inside of my head something very frightening and something all-encompassing and something overpowering and something that was beyond human understanding.”
Her score adds resonance to a scene on the garment factory floor as frightened seamstresses chant, in panic: “Help us! Help us! Help us now!”

Great-Granddaughter of Triangle Factory Employee Acts in a Tribute to Her Relative Whose Colleagues Died in the Fire –

Great-Granddaughter of Triangle Factory Employee Acts in a Tribute to Her Relative Whose Colleagues Died in the Fire –

blogger templates | Make Money Online