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Activism and Change: Clara Lemlich and the New York Shirtwaist Strike of 1909

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Language Arts And English +7 Age Levels High School (16 to 18 years old), Post-Secondary

This teaching collection asks students to consider photographs and documentation about early 20th-century Jewish immigrant activist Clara Lemlich (1886-1982, leader of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and founder of the Progressive Women’s Councils), in the larger context of New York's Garment Industry, the New York Shirtwaist Strike of 1909, and the 1911 Triangle Waist Factory fire. By pairing historical documentation with three thinking routines from Harvard's Project Zero Global Thinking and Agency by Design materials - "Step In, Step Out, Step Back," "Think, Feel, Care," and "Circles of Action," - the collection encourages students to explore complexity and perspective, and fosters a disposition to participate. 

Included here are photographs, documentation, and resources from the Jewish Women's Archive's Encyclopedia of Jewish Women, the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives at Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations School, the Tenement Museum, and the National Museum of American History. 

This collection pairs well with chapter 11 ("Jews are Pushed from Russia") of Ronald Takaki's A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America, and supports Unit 1: Intersectionality of Economics, Politics, and Policy, and Unit 3: Local History and Current Issues, of the Austin ISD Ethnic Studies Part B course. 

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