John Steinbeck said, “We learn a great deal about people by listening to their music. Listen to their songs, for into the songs go the anger, fears and frustrations, the hopes and aspirations.”


I have created a series of videos that highlight the role of women in the labor movement. Each video portrays an event and includes a song that is related to the event or to the labor movement in general.  


The subjects of this video are the 1909 Shirtwaist Strike or 1909 General Strike, Clara Lemlich and Rose Schneiderman and the song, “We Shall Not Be Moved.”


Charles R. Hale





  1. John Sponcia says:

    Charlie, you have written about this before, but now with your inclusion of powerful images, your haunting narrative, and as usual the perfect soundtrack, you have created a masterpiece. This was a tragedy of epic proportions and it took such a senseless ommission of responsibility to create safer conditions for these working women. Sad but true. You did a remarkable job on this one Charlie…well done, my friend.

    1. Thanks so much, Jack. Truly one of the seminal moments in the labor movement. As we’ve discussed, our ancestors didn’t have it easy.

  2. Vicki Scott says:

    These women were so courageous to stand for what they knew was right, at a time when women were expected to be submissive. The Triangle Shirtwaist fire was so horrific; the images of broken bodies lying in the street, the twisted metal of the collapsed fire escape, the thought of how those lives ended so senselessly, will stay with me today. What makes this even more tragic is that such workplace abuses have continued, in spite of improvement in our laws and regulations. For example, in 1991, 25 NC workers perished in a fire at an Imperial Foods chicken processing plant because the company padlocked the fire exit doors. We are seeing workplace tragedies of unimaginable scope in places like Bangladesh. The women in your video were pioneers in what will be a continuing battle as long as the bottom line is valued over the safety of workers. This is a wonderful video, Charlie, as I have come to expect from you. Looking forward to seeing the others in this series.

    1. Thanks, Vicki, for the kind words and the history lesson. Incredible how history repeats itself. The Shirtwaist tragedy happened over a hundred years ago, yet, here we are again. Very sad.

  3. Donna Gerber says:

    Once again you have brought a piece of history alive. Wonderful job,as always!

    1. Thanks very much, Donna. I love digging into these old stories.

  4. maureen Hossbacher says:

    This is not an old story, it’s a timely one. Thousands of girls and women in third world cournties are slaving away in sweatshops ginding out garments not only for Walmart and Target but for elite designer labels. Unions don’t exit in these places and are under seige in our own country.

    1. How true and how sad, Maureen. Taking advantage of the disadvantaged just never seems to go away. A sad side of human nature, I suppose. I’m glad there are voices such as Clara Lemlich and Rose Schneiderman who won’t let the issue die.

  5. Connie Roberts says:

    A powerful and compelling piece, Charles. Thank you for not letting the world forget………this, and so many other important things.

    On a side note, with that mellifluous voice of yours, you certainly give Morgan Freeman a run for his money 🙂

    1. Thanks, yes, we mustn’t forget, Connie.
      Morgan Freeman? That’s a high compliment. Thanks again.

  6. Marilyn Hazard Barton says:

    As always I am playing catchup with reading/listening to your posts. It always seems as if history repeats itself with the senseless tragedies of plant worker deaths and injuries…fertilizer, propane storage and production, fireworks and it always seems as if the inspection of these facilities is either non-existent or not often enough and our government drags its feet when it comes to enforcement or creating new and safer requirements. I know that people balk at more government involvement but there are always times when proper implementation and enforcement are called for. This was an excellent addition to your original post regarding the Triangle Shirtwaist fire.

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