Today marks 100 years since the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire—a blaze that lasted 18 minutes and left 146 workers dead.
Among the many in New York City who witnessed the tragedy was Frances Perkins, who would later become FDR’s Secretary of Labor, making her the first woman to serve in a Presidential cabinet.
As Secretary of Labor, Perkins was instrumental in creating and implementing the Social Security Act—but she was also intensely interested in the safety and rights of workers. “I came to Washington to work for God, FDR, and the millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen,” she said.
Perkins had a degree from Mount Holyoke College, where her coursework included touring factories. She later earned a master’s degree in in social economics from Columbia University. She had been working as factory inspector in New York at the time of the fire.
The fire started in a wastebasket on the eighth floor, and the flames jumped up onto the paper patterns that were hanging from the ceiling.
In an oral history, blouse operator Mary Domsky-Adams recalled that “My own machine was located near the locked front doors, and I often looked with fear at the darkness that loomed through the half-glassed door, which made me feel as if some secret force were peering out from there. And it was before this door that the … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on March 25, 2011, under - Great Depression, - Women's Rights, News and Events, Rare Photos.
Tags: 146 dead, Committee on Safety, FDR, fire, Frances Perkins, labor relations, Secretary of Labor, Social Security Act, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
When the sweeping laws of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal were enacted, it did not take long for the laws to get challenged in the courts. From Social Security to a spate of other laws meant to revamp an economy deep within the Great Depression, the New Deal was not an easily won victory for Progressives, and sometimes not a victory at all.
On what has come to be called “Black Monday”–May 25, 1935–the Supreme Court unanimously ruled on two cases that each struck down major portions of Roosevelt’s New Deal. The first case to be ruled unconstitutional was the Frazier-Lemke Emergency Farm Mortgage Act, part of the New Deal designed to prevent debt-ridden farmers from losing their land. In a second ruling, the National Industrial Recovery Act, a major cornerstone of the New Deal, was struck down by a vote in the courts, ruling that the Legislative had given too much unchecked power to the Executive, and violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.
Roosevelt was having a bad day, but would not go down without a fight.
Roosevelt introduced the Judiciary Reorganization Bill in his first Fireside Chat following his reelection in 1936. More New Deal laws had been declared in the interim, and by 1937, Roosevelt was ready to hit back. “We have,” Roosevelt spoke, “reached the point as a nation where … [ Read all ]
Posted by Rob Crotty on August 16, 2010, under - Great Depression.
Tags: 1937, FDR, Hughes court, judicial reorganization bill, NARA, national archives, National archives and records administration, odd history, Pieces of History, prologue blog, Prologue magazine, random history, Robinson, Roosevelt, supreme courtamerican history, weird US history