Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kids on Strike!

Kids on Strike! by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1999) provides a fascinating, photographic trip into 19th and early 20th century America, with a focus on child labor in the streets, mills, and mines.

I found myself thumbing through all the images first and then going back to read the text. The images are poignant and captivating. When I first picked this book up a few weeks ago, I was immediately reminded of Shorpy, a site I've linked to here for a few years. I almost expected to find Shorpy in the archival photos in the book that documented children working in the coal mines. The mines, and the children laboring in them, featured in this book were in Pennsylvania. Shorpy worked in Alabama. But the photographer, Lewis Hine, was the same for both Shorpy and for the photos in the Kids on Strike! book.

In addition to the photographs, a well-researched text also deals with child labor and the attempts to organize, strike, and change the laws to protect the children. Text and images comprise an interesting historical document about American labor history and the children who helped build American industry.

I'll let some of the photos speak for the subject matter of this book:

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