The Plight of Working Children

Children Who Labor
R: Ashley Miller. B: Ethel Browning. D: Robert Conness, Miriam Nesbitt, Shirley Mason, John Sturgeon, Mary Fuller, Viola Dana. P: Edison Co. USA 1912

Produced for The National Child Labor Committee.

“The National Child Labor Committee was organized on April 25, 1904 at a mass meeting at Carnegie Hall in New York City attended by men and women concerned with the plight of working children. They moved quickly to form an organization, to gain the support of prominent Americans and to identify the extent and scope of the problem.
In 1907 the NCLC was chartered by an Act of Congress, and immediately began to garner support and move towards action and advocacy. One of the first steps took place in early 1908 with the hiring of a tailor’s son from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, a budding anthropologist and photographer, Lewis Wickes Hine. His photographs would awaken the consciousness of the nation, and change the reality of life for millions of impoverished, undereducated children.
In 1912, one of the first goals of the NCLC was achieved: the establishment of a Children’s Bureau in both the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Labor. From 1910-1920, while publishing and disseminating the photographs of Lewis Hine, the Committee worked for passage of state and federal legislation to ban most forms of child labor, and to promote compulsory education in all states.
When the Supreme Court ruled that federal legislation banning child labor was unconstitutional the NCLC turned its focus to the passage of a constitutional amendment banning child labor and to continued strengthening of state laws from coast to coast in the 1920s.”
childrens cry

354-LewisHine-Addie Card, 1910 

Lewis Hine:
Addie Card, 12 years. Spinner in North Pormal Cotton Mill, 1910