Wikipedia is good for a lot of things – namely, wasting time. Many a night, I’ve been sucked into the never-ending loop of links, clicking through to the next page and the next page and the next page as I put off work or avoid going to bed at a reasonable hour.
Three years ago, my knowledge of my paternal grandmother, born Annie Sprinsock, was at best sketchy. A Russian-Jewish immigrant to New York City, she lived a tragically truncated life marked by recurrent bouts of melancholia until her death at the young age of 34 in 1929. My father, deeply pained by her untimely death, rarely spoke of her to my brother and me when we were children -- except to say that she had been at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on the day of the infamous fire.
Yesterday, Rabbi Jill Jacobs published an op-ed at ReligionDispatches.org that connects the labor struggles of the past with those of the present, using the words of labor organizer Rose Schneiderman to inspire us today.
Next Monday, February 28, 2011, PBS will broadcast a new American Experience documentary, Triangle Fire, about one of the most horrific, and most consequential, workplace disaster in American history. A variety of special programs—gallery exhibitions, musical performances, conferences, even an HBO movie—are taking place over the next month to mark the centennial of the fire that left 146 workers dead.
There’s a lot of buzz these days about Stephanie Coontz’s new book A Strong Stirring, an assessment of Betty Friedans’s 1963 manifesto The Feminine Mystique. It’s stirring up some personal memories of my own.