"The Triangle Fire": An American Tragedy

PBS' "The American Experience" presents "The Triangle Fire." This tragedy occurred in New York City almost one hundred years ago and its impact is still being felt. Over one hundred and fifty people lost their lives in this calamitous event which raised a nation's awareness of the conditions under which workers spent their workdays. The victims of this fire were predominately female and many were teenagers.

The days leading up to the fire on March 25, 1911 had been marked by strife. The workers at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory had been on strike for better pay, better hours and union representation. They had been steadfast in their determination to better their conditions and in many areas had succeeded. This made the fire tragedy have even more of an impact because of the publicity these workers had received.

The one hour documentary is narrated by Michael Murphy and shows the way the events evolved leading up to the fire and its aftermath. It is a slowly progressing depiction that will touch any viewer caught up in the story.

The conditions and events shown in this story will lead viewers to reflect on many of the battles occurring in our nation today. The balance between union and non-union forces is still a delicate one. We also see how far we have come in the protection of workers and the conditions under which they toil.

"The Triangle Fire" is the story of an event that changed lives as well as people's attitudes. The fact that over one hundred and fifty people had to die to gain these advances is a tragedy within itself.

"The American Experience/Triangle Fire" premieres on PBS, Monday, February 28 at 9PM.

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