From the ashes of one of America’s greatest tragedies rose a powerful movement of union building, triumph over corruption, women’s rights, and democracy.
On Saturday, March 25, 1911 a fire began in the Triangle Garment Factory. 146 of the 500 workers there died.
This is the story of the tragedy that provoked outrage, union building, and political reform that eventually influenced Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation of the 1930s.
One day, Chinese women turned off their sewing machines, stood up, walked out and changed Chinatown and New York City forever.
20,000 Chinese immigrant women workers in hundreds of garment factories in Manhattan’s Chinatown went out on strike in 1982, revived the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) and turned the tide of sweatshop labor for a generation.
This is the story of that movement.
Women, immigrants, youth, people of color, queer people, artists, intellectuals and working people all have histories of standing up and building movements that opened the door for others as well. Their legacies survive in their testimony, their art, the products of their labor, the stories they told, and the stories we tell.
We walk the streets to reveal the stories of past injustices, struggles, and victories. We reveal the evidence of historic events and social movements sitting in plain sight.
People’s Heritage Tours was founded by Daniel Katz, Ph.D., who serves as the Chief Historian. Dr. Katz teaches history at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, and he is the author of All Together Different: Yiddish Socialists, Garment Workers, and the Labor Roots of Multiculturalism and co-editor of Labor Rising: The Past and Future of Working People in America. A licensed New York City tour guide, he has developed and conducted walking history tours for more than 30 years.
May Ying Chen was a leader of Chinese garment workers during and after the events of 1982. She is an American labor organizer and advocate for immigrant workers. Before retiring in 2009, she was an officer and founding member of the AFL-CIO’s Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), and the International Vice President of UNITE HERE.
On the Triangle Fire
“Labor historian Dan Katz stopped his walking tour across the street to give a comprehensive history of what led up to and followed the tragic event. “
On the Uprising in Chinatown
Chinese Language Press
“Katz said that he will continue to introduce the history of Chinatown to different ethnic groups in this form, so that more people can understand the long-standing cultural story of this ancient community.”
“Chinatown Walking Tour Commemorates 40th Anniversary of Chinatown Protests”
We are proud to partner with these social justice organizations that continue the work and honor the memory of the people and the movements that built New York and the country.