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A Shared History: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire In Italian American And Jewish Memory



 A Shared History: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire In Italian American And Jewish Memory

A commemoration organized by Edvige Giunta and Mary Ann Trasciatti

On March 25, 1911, a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York’s Greenwich Village killed 146 workers. Most of the dead were recent Italian and Jewish immigrant women, some as young as 15 years old. Survivors, their families, and those who witnessed the fire were forever changed by the tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to mourn the dead silently. Grief and moral outrage turned to action as unions stepped up their organizing drives, and community leaders and politicians pushed for laws to protect workers’ safety. Over a hundred years later, the story of Triangle continues to resonate in the U.S. and Italy. On March 25, 2015, the 104th anniversary of the fire, a panel of Italian, Italian American, and Jewish writers and activists will discuss the Triangle tragedy focusing on immigrant identity and exploring how it relates to migration, work, gender, and other issues in historical and contemporary contexts. Participants are Cassandra Casella (granddaughter of an Italian garment factory worker, she has written on her personal connection to the Triangle Fire); Paola Corso (author of Once I Was Told the Air Was Not for Breathing with poems about the Triangle Fire and sweatshops today); Edvige Giunta (Professor of English at New Jersey City University, author of Writing with an Accent: Contemporary Italian American Women Authors); Suzanne Pred Bass (descendant of the Wiener sisters, Rosie Wiener, who died in the Fire, and her sister Katie Wiener, who survived); Ester Rizzo Licata (author of Camicette bianche: oltre l’8 marzo, the first book on the Fire published in Italy); Mary Anne Trasciatti (Associate Professor of Rhetoric at Hofstra University and President of Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, Inc.).


Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2015