Child Labor - IN THE MILLS

When Lewis Hine visited Indianapolis, in the summer of 1908, he found boys working the night shift at a glassworks shop. (Some of those children attended school during the day.)

Elsewhere, and during the ensuing years, he documented many more disturbing scenes of child labor.

  • Textile mills in the South and throughout New England provided employment for families, including children.
  • People who worked for Willingham Cotton Mills lived in nearly identical homes in Macon, Georgia.
  • A young girl, with the help of an older woman, worked on a North Carolina cotton mill machine shortly before Christmas, 1908.
  • In January of 1909, Hine photographed a young "spinner" who worked at Globe Cotton Mill in Augusta, Georgia.
  • Girls also worked the spoolers at Lincoln Cotton Mill in Evansville, Indiana.
  • Two young boys had to stand on the spinning frame in order to reach the empty bobbins or repair the broken threads.
  • Young workers began their day at 5:30 in the morning at a Lewiston, Massachusetts manufacturing company.
  • In November of 1910, a supervisor inspects a young boy working on a warping machine in Fayetteville, Tennessee.
  • Nannie Coleson, eleven years old in 1914, worked at the Crescent Hosiery Company in Scotland Neck, North Carolina.
  • Pinkie Durham (age 8) was a sweeper while his 12-year-old sister was a worker at the Merrimack Manufacturing Company in Huntsville, Alabama.
  • Children were also messengers for Western Union. Two boys with their bikes pose in Indianapolis.

One could examine many more pictures of children laboring in American mills, farms, mines and other places of employment.

Although strenuous efforts were made to protect them from harsh conditions, the Supreme Court did not uphold a national law until 1941 when it found that 1938's Fair Labor Standards Act was constitutional.


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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5186stories and lessons created

Original Release: Apr 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: Dec 14, 2013

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"IN THE MILLS" AwesomeStories.com. Apr 01, 2004. May 26, 2019.
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