PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 8 Humanities: Week of 1/30/17 The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, Labor Unions, and aLternatIvE factS



Dear Families,

The phrase “Post-Truth Era” has been floating around in the media for awhile now, but came into very sharp focus this past week when another, complimentary term was used: “alternative facts.”

In Humanities class, we have dealt with many alternatives — alternative perspectives, alternative opinions, alternative assignments, etc. We do this to access more truth, a bigger picture, a wider and more inclusive experience. However, there are many hard facts that we know we must defer to — and do. Agreeing on facts is what provides a foundation to the continuity of history. Facts form the basis of our studies. Facts allow us to branch out with differing interpretations, opinions, and convictions. But it is important for that foundation to remain. Truth and reason matter, and imagination and art resonate even more when based on them . . .




As we continue our study of The Jungle and The Progressive Era, we looked at different immigrant groups in the workforce and how labor unions began to help many of them. The tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and Trial changed the way business was done for the better . . .














Additionally, in The Jungle, the pull of Socialism and of the trade unions is very real for our protagonist, Jurgis, as the struggles he faces with his family seem insurmountable without outside help. Overall, we decided that everyone everywhere needs someone to look out for them — which means that we all have a job, ourselves, as a lookout. We really are stronger together 🙂


Ms. Sacilotto




“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

–Martin Niemöller