Public Intervention (2004 – present)
On 25 March 1911 the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire took the lives of 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women and girls, and galvanized a movement for social and economic justice.
Each year since 2004, on the anniversary of the infamous blaze, volunteers fan out across the city to inscribe in chalk the names and ages of the Triangle dead in front of their former homes. Chalk is a kind of land art for the Anthropocene. Using the local elements – asphalt, chalk, humans – found in the cityscape. Footsteps and rain will erase the memorial but in a demonstration of the power of collective action, the following year others will return, insisting on the memory of these lost young workers.
If you would like to participate in Chalk 2024 let me know!
Download the Chalk 2021 flier here.
…trusting the people is the indispensable precondition for revolutionary change. -Paulo Freire
Photo Credits: Roy Campolongo, Cary Conover, Marjorie Ingall, LES Girls Club, Rob Linné, Matt Levy, Ileana Montalvo, Joel Spivak, Kevin Walter
Triangle Family Members: Suzanne Pred Bass, Diane Fortuna, Maltese Family, Lansner Family
Music: Di Fire Korbunes [excerpt] arranged + recorded byEve Sicular + Metropolitan Klezmer, 2011. Published by Louis Gilrod & David Meyerowitz, 1911.
Thank you: Workers United, Kheel Center
To view the database table of the Triangle dead including their addresses and other information, please click here.
The list of names was originally based on the work of David von Drehle and updated based on information from Triangle family members, the Kheel Center and ongoing research by John Leonard and Michael Hirsch. If you have info or suggestions – let me know! Many thanks to the technical genius + kind heart of John Schimmel.
History of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, created for the 2021 union commemoration.