Remember The Triangle Fire Coalition

Triangle Fire Open Archive

Politics + Activism

Shirtwaist strikers arrested at Jefferson Market Prison

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Shirtwaist-Strikers-Being-Taken-into-Custody

Contributed by : Alana Rosen

Object # 168

1909

When I came across this picture in the Kheel Center Archives, I was immediately struck by the juxtaposition of the woman exiting the police buggy with the male police officer standing beside her. At the turn of the 20th century, women were seen as gentle and passive. A genteel woman being arrested would be considered taboo. This image clearly turns that perspective on its head. It was inspiring to see women as activists standing up for the rights of their “sisters.”
Alana Rosen

Courtesy of : Kheel Center

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Commentary

During the 1909 garment workers strike, working women, who were considered un-organizable, showed the world that they too can demand equal rights as workers and as women.  Women strikers often endured great violence from police and thugs, and despite  this torment, they were often arrested on the charge of obstructing traffic.  As seen from the picture, in their strike, women not only challenged class norms but also gender norms, claiming they have a right for their political voice to be heard.

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