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View Diary: The historic story of the only known black man on the Titanic (137 comments)

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  •  Were they even allowed above deck? (1+ / 0-)
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    I thought many of the steerage class were locked below decks and no one unlocked the passage doors.

    Do you know?

    What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

    by YucatanMan on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 12:42:26 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Yes and no. (6+ / 0-)

      There is one notorious instance where 3rd class stewards locked about 150 Swedes into the aft lounge and forgot about them, so it is presumed they all died there.

      The ship was segregated by class and there were barriers in parts of the ship to prevent the steerage passengers from wandering outside of their designated decks.  But they had their own outside spaces on the forward and aft Well Decks (the open space between the superstructure decks and the poop decks).  There were no lifeboats there, however.

      There had never been a lifeboat drill, so the steerage crew were utterly without guidance as to what to do.  The deck officers loading the boats assumed the third class women and children would be brought up to them, while the steerage crew thought they would board the boats via the gangway doors in the side of the lower decks.  Nobody really took charge of the situation.

      Several stewards did lead up small groups of steerage passengers to the boat deck and got women and children off.  Also, some small groups made their own way up top and the women were allowed in the boats.  However, the vast majority of steerage passengers didn't emerge topside until after the lifeboats were gone.

      I don't believe there was any deliberate plot to keep the steerage passengers away from the boats to ensure they drowned, but there was massive incompetence, miscommunication and a lack of thought about them in general.

      •  Also lack of leadership. EJ pretty clearly went (5+ / 0-)

        into a fog; he was indecisive and his officers therefore had to make their own decisions as the night wore on.

        All circumstances devolved against survival of 3rd Class: layout of the ship, locked gates, lack of command and control, and class prejudices. But it is highly unlikely that any member of the crew intentionally acted with the purpose of allowing 3rd class passengers to die.

        •  Captain Smith was utterly useless (3+ / 0-)
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          Dracowyrm, annetteboardman, JVolvo

          during the sinking.  I did appreciate that Cameron's Titanic was the first movie to show the reality that he pretty much shut down and his officers were left to fend for themselves in the confusion.  Other films tend to lionize him as the stalwart commander.

          In truth, Smith had always been a bit of a peacock who was more about keeping the passengers happy than being a competent ship's captain.  Of course, some might argue that in the passenger ship business, that was what mattered more.  He was certainly the most popular WSL captain.

          •  Examined with an eye to mgmt & leadership (4+ / 0-)
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            annetteboardman, moiv, JVolvo, YucatanMan

            the man completely fell apart.

            Think about it: not only could the boats have been filled, but how many rafts could have been constructed over two hours and 40 minutes? They had wood paneling and deck chairs for days.

            To be fair, the chain of command didn't do much better. There isn't word one about Wilde that night. Murdoch and Lightoller were operating on different concepts over who should be allowed in the boats.

            It was just a world-class cockup from beginning to end, from design and the lifeboat decision to the loss of the lookout binoculars, cancellation of the boat drill, ignoring of the ice messages...basically, they didn't stop screwing up until the water closed over the fantail.

            Even then, if you count not going back for swimmers...

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