Commentary, News

Author of book on tragic Hamlet chicken plant fire to speak at September 26 luncheon

NC Policy Watch presents a special Crucial Conversation luncheon:

Prof. Bryant Simon discusses his new book, “The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government and Cheap Lives”

Click here to register

For those too young or too new to North Carolina to remember, the horrific 1991 chicken plant fire at imperial Foods in Hamlet, North Carolina killed 25 workers and injured another 55. Workers were unable to escape the blaze because the plant’s owner, Emmett J. Roe, kept the doors padlocked and the windows boarded because he thought his low-wage workers might steal chicken.

Now, Dr. Bryant Simon, a professor of history at Temple University, tells the tragic story of the fire and what it says about past and present American public policy in “The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government and Cheap Lives. “

As one reviewer of the book put it recently:

“Bryant Simon plunges into the horror of an industrial fire and emerges with a gripping tale of capitalism gone wrong. Sifting through the wreckage, he unearths story after story of the unsustainable cost of cheap: a reckless economy, a cut-rate government, factory food, and disposable lives. Simon’s forensics are written with force, clarity, and gripping detail. The Hamlet Fire is a heartbreaking history of the hollowing out of the American dream.”

Simon is also the author most “Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America” (2004), and “Everything But the Coffee: Learning About America from Starbucks” (2009). His research and scholarship has earned awards and honors from the Fulbright Commission, Humboldt Foundation, Urban History Association, Organization of American Historians, and the Smithsonian Institution. His work and popular commentary have been featured in The New Yorker, Washington Post, New Republic, and numerous other outlets. Over last five years, Simon has lectured around the world and taught at the National University of Singapore, University of Tubingen, and University of Erfurt, and has served as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

Please join us! — The book will be available for purchase at the event and Prof. Simon will remain after his talk to autograph copies.      

***The luncheon will also feature remarks by MaryBe McMillan, President of the North Carolina AFL-CIO***

Click here to register

When: Tuesday September 26, at noon — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets)

Click here for parking info.

Space is limited – preregistration required.

Cost: $15, admission includes a box lunch. Scholarships available.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

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