Inequality and the Titanic





After a couple of days chasing little ones through the nooks and crannies of a relative's home built in the 19th Century, I did not imagine I would find today's blog post in a magazine* long-forgotten on a basement shelf:

..Miss Hart, who was seven at the time of the sinking, lost her father but rode a lifeboat to safety with her mother...Of the Titanic's final moments she says simply: "I saw that ship sink. I saw all the horror of it sinking. And I heard even more dreadful, the cries of drowning people..."

The relief of the rescue was tempered with a grim statistic: While all children in the first and second class were saved, two-thirds of the children in the third class perished...
In all the history about the Titanic that I remember hearing and reading, I don't recall anything as troubling as that 66% of the children in the cheap seats suffered such a horrific death.

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*Source: National Geographic, December 1985, "How We Found the Titanic" by Robert Ballard

11 comments:

J. J. in Phila said...

Tragic.

Perhaps the greater tragedy was that they all though there would be no problem, because the ship was "unsinkable."

It might be a lesson to think the unthinkable.

copswife said...

I'd heard something like that too, except just in general about poor people, not specifically children. It makes sense to me... unfortunately.

torn blazer said...

Like the new look ...very classy

Expat From Hell said...

There was a scene in the movie that showed an Irish woman telling her two children a bedtime story, all the while knowing that the water was surrounding them. It was one of the most haunting parts of that movie. Your account reminds me of that. Thanks for putting this one up there, my friend. EFH

LOUD n PROUD said...

very sad.

terri said...

That is terribly sad. I had never heard that specific statistic either.

Oz Girl said...

A very grim statistic indeed. And a sobering one, that sometimes money does indeed buy more for an individual, in this case, the saving of particular lives. Certainly not morally right, but we know it happens all the time.

I love the new look of your blog! :)

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I can't imagine the horror of that evening. The cries, screams, just the sight of the ship going down. The noise and then nothing but screams. Geez.Shouldn't have thought of that before going to bed.

C.L. (Cindy) Beck, author said...

Very sad to think about such a tragedy.

Dan said...

At that time, at that era, traveling steerage was akin to being a true non-entity. It would be rare for any indulgence to be shown for the "inferiors".

I seem to remember similar stats for train wrecks at the time where the peril was equal for all coaches.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the historical insight Dan. It makes sense.