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No, black woman didn’t die on Titanic because lifeboats were for white people only

The passenger ship Titanic sank in the North Atlantic in April 1912, claiming over 1,500 lives. 

The Zambian Facebook page Political History recently posted a claim that one of the victims of the tragedy was a black woman named Malinda Borden who died because the ship’s lifeboats were for white people only. 

“Titanic victim Malinda Borden was drowned at sea she was working aboard the Titanic. Lifeboats were made available to white women and white children only,” it says.

“The Black workers were not listed among the passengers or victims. They were only listed among property that was lost.”

The post includes an old photo of a young black woman, supposedly Borden. Its claim has been circulating on Facebook since at least 2016

As part of Facebook’s fight against online misinformation, the post was flagged as possibly false. 



A number of historical inaccuracies


US fact-checking site Snopes has identified inconsistencies in the story. 

It assumes there were a number of black workers aboard the Titanic. This is incorrect due to the racial laws of that time. 

“Black persons were nearly entirely absent from the ship, either as passengers or crew, due to racial discrimination laws of that era.”

There were 23 women in the crew of the Titanic, none of them named Malinda Borden.

No evidence of ‘Malinda Borden’ aboard the Titanic


The 16 April 1912 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle is the most used source on the sinking of the Titanic. 

Immediately after the disaster, it published a list of people who had either died or were missing. 

Malinda Borden is not on the list. This is strong evidence that no-one with that name died in the sinking of the Titanic. 

It’s true that racism was widely prevalent in the early 20th century. But it’s not true that a black woman died because the Titanic’s lifeboats were for white people only. – Africa Check

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