FACT CHECK: Did A Black Woman Drown In The Sinking Of The Titanic Because Lifeboats Were Only Open To White Women And Children?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 45,000 times claims a black woman named Malinda Borden died on the Titanic because only white women and children were allowed to board the ship’s lifeboats.

Verdict: False

There is no record of Borden being on the Titanic. Experts told the Daily Caller that lifeboats were not restricted to only white women and children.

Fact Check:

More than 1,500 passengers and crew died on the Titanic after the passenger ship hit an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage in 1912.

“Titanic victim Malinda Borden was drowned at sea as she was working aboard the Titanic,” claims a Feb. 27 Facebook post. “Life boats (sic) were made available to white women and white children only. The Black workers were not listed among the passengers or victims. They were only listed among property that was lost.”

There is, however, no record of a woman with the surname Borden on any Titanic passenger or crew list. A search of the Titanic records housed in the British National Archives and the Library of Virginia turned up no matches.

“The only blacks on board were Joseph Laroche and his two children,” said historian Don Lynch of the Titanic Historical Society in an email to the Caller. “His wife was white.”

Laroche, a French-educated Haitian engineer, perished on the Titanic but his French wife, Juliette, and their two children escaped the sinking ship on a lifeboat, according to the Titanic Historical Society. Their names appear on the Titanic’s second-class passenger list.

There were, according to Lynch, no black crew members on the ship. (RELATED: When Did Black People Get The Right To Vote?)

“The Titanic carried passengers who were black, white, Hispanic, Asian, etc. Some of each survived,” Lynch said. “Lifeboats were not reserved for only white women and children.”

Andrew Lound, author of the book “RMS Titanic: Made in the Midlands,” also confirmed in an email to the Caller that the post’s claim that about lifeboats doesn’t hold up, saying, “It is clear from the passengers who did get off that the crew did not discriminate on grounds of race, color, nationality, sex or age.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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