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Fall 2021 The Legacy of Frances Perkins

Fall 2021 Educator Guide

Labor Reform and Worker Protections

Frances Perkins spent her life improving working conditions and protecting the American worker. She advocated for an increase in minimum working age to protect children and led the fight to prevent future tragedies like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911.

Compelling Question: What rights do workers have?

Setting the Stage: Show this video from PBS Learning Media and discuss working conditions in the early 1900s.

Link to Article: The Legacy of Frances Perkins

Document Analysis

Children at Work
Library of Congress

Guided Reading Questions


1. Where was this photograph taken?

2. Who do you see in the photograph?

3. What are the people in the photograph doing?

4. How do you think they feel about this activity?

5. Would you be able to find a scene like this in the United States today? Why or why not?

The Legacy of Frances Perkins Article

Guided Reading Questions

1. What historical event is described in the first paragraph?

2. When did this event take place?

3. Why did so many people die during this event?

4. Why did Frances Perkins move to New York?

5. What conditions did Perkins witness while working in New York?

6. What was the job of the New York Factory Commission?

7. What was Perkins’ role in the Commission?

8. What did the Commission accomplish?

9. Why was child labor a major concern?

10. What actions did the Commission take?

11. What role did Perkins serve in Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency?

12. What federal law currently governs worker safety?

 13. What is Frances Perkins' legacy?

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire