Before sweeping child labor laws were passed in the U.S. in 1938, young children toiled at dangerous jobs and worked in mines and mills with no oversight.
Lewis Hine (1874-1940) worked as a photographer for the National Child Labor Committee, crusading against the dangers and the immorality of child labor in America. Hine’s photos depict young kids working a variety of jobs and they stand as powerful historical documents.
1. Canning, maybe?
2. Cynical kids
4. Look at those head torches
7. Textile mill of some sort
8. Are those kids?
9. Very self assured
10. Jeez, she must be 7
11. Yearning for something else
12. Standing barefoot on heavy machinery
13. Trying to smike
14. Looking very intently
18. Selling flowers, maybe?
19. Looking right at us
20. There’s only one real adult in this picture
So glad we’re not still dealing with child labor – but don’t forget, this is still a pervasive problem, globally. According to the Human Rights Watch, over 70 million children around the world still work in conditions very similar to the ones in these photos.