Margaret Sanger, "She Should Worry," Apr 1914.
Published article. Source: The Woman Rebel, Vol. 1, No. 2, Apr. 1914 , 11. , Margaret Sanger Microfilm C16:0525 .
Three years have passed since the Triangle fire. The Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, in which 145 working girls were murdered, provided conclusive evidence of the fact that women working in the garment trades in New York City must risk their lives daily for the miserable pittance they receive from their employers. For we were assured the other day in one of the papers that even three years after the Triangle tragedy the whole thing could be repeated any day in New York. The Committee on Safety, as a memorial to the crushed and mangled bodies of the Triangle victims, reported that the chances of the recurrence of the crime had decreased about 25 per cent. But Mrs. Sarah Christopher, who has been receiving a very comfortable salary from the Association of Garment Manufacturers, as "fire prevention adviser" (!), and has been conducting some perfectly sweet fire drills among the girls in the factories, disagrees with the committee. With an exhibition of brilliant tact that must have brought joy to her employers the manufacturers, she declared, according to the Tribune:
"They have perhaps decreased a little, but we could have a Triangle fire any day in New York. It isn't the fire; it's the girls, who are well organized in comparatively few factories. They are none too brilliant, and the manufacturers won't comply with the law, so their chances in a fire have not improved much."
"Even where there are drills the girls don't see the need of them. I once took a fireman with me to a drill, and they were so curious about his uniform and his good looks that they stood giggling and waiting to be burned up. I had to box their ears to bring them to life."
"After all, the real sufferers from the Triangle fire are the proprietors and the manufacturers. They have to pay for remodeling their premises to suit the law. That is the reason why so many of them do not comply."
What puzzles us is--did she mean it seriously? Or was Mrs. Christopher having a little joke at the expense of the 145 "none too brilliant" girls who were murdered three years ago as a tribute to business acumen and enterprise?
Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project