These photos ended child labor in the US

  • Published: 28 June 2019
  • Child labor was widely practiced until a photographer showed the public what it looked like.
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    The 1900 US Federal Census revealed that 1.75 million children under the age of 16, more than one in five, were gainfully employed. They worked all over the country in cotton mills, glass blowing factories, sardine canneries, farms, and even coal mines. In an effort to expose this exploitation of children, the National Child Labor Committee hired a photographer to travel around the country and investigate and report on the labor conditions of children.

    Lewis Wickes Hine photographed and interviewed kids, some as young as 4 years old, and published his findings in various Progressive magazines and newspapers. Once the public saw the plight of these children, state legislatures were pressured to pass bills regulating labor for workers under the age of 18, effectively bringing an end to child labor in the United States.

    See the entire collection of Lewis Hine's photos for the National Child Labor Committee here:

    Darkroom is a series from Vox producer Coleman Lowndes that digs into stories of the past, one photograph at a time. Watch all the episodes here: is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

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Comments • 2 799

  • Vox
    Vox   7 months back

    You can watch all of our existing episodes of Darkroom in one playlist here:
    What historic photos or events would you want to see covered in the future?

    • Allied Atheist Alliance
      Allied Atheist Alliance  4 months back

      Do one on the photographs of Arthur Fellig (Weegee)

    • Allied Atheist Alliance
      Allied Atheist Alliance  4 months back

      Share this with a Libertarian, they get off on this stuff.

    • TheSmreeder
      TheSmreeder  5 months back

      Every Picture tells a story

    • Hardtanker
      Hardtanker  6 months back

      You should do an episode on war photos. mainly ones focusing on soldiers or one mainly focusing on the horrors of war. I believe that those who have suffered or sacrificed should have their stories told.

    • Xavier Peypoch
      Xavier Peypoch  6 months back

      The death of Emiliano Zapata

  • lobiedosser
    lobiedosser  1 days back


    • Super Lady
      Super Lady  1 days back

      I know it’s bad, but I kinda want it to be 13+ to be able to work.

      • Jaylyn Parker
        Jaylyn Parker  4 days back

        is anyone else here bc of school

      • AmusableAsh
        AmusableAsh  5 days back

        I like how I got a school add before this

        • What You Want
          What You Want  5 days back

          the kid on the thumbnail dressed like a grown man

          • Deanna Satoy
            Deanna Satoy  2 weeks back

            I'm from Lancaster SC when they closed the mill everyone I know went jobless

            • Jimmy Spaceman
              Jimmy Spaceman  2 weeks back

              brilliant and inspiring!!!! thankyou

              • Fred Fred
                Fred Fred  2 weeks back

                God bless us all

                • Porschen Hund
                  Porschen Hund  2 weeks back

                  better than phone camera of 2010

                  • California Dreamin
                    California Dreamin  2 weeks back

                    The REFUGEES that invade Europe have to watch this film.

                    • Budget Productions
                      Budget Productions  2 weeks back

                      what's wrong with child labor again? As long as it's safe and proper instructions are given, who cares? It's better that kids do something productive instead of playing fortnite

                      • kirby99
                        kirby99  2 weeks back

                        The modern child labour is school

                      • mem X
                        mem X  2 weeks back

                        I think we all need to learn from this story, and strive to make a difference by doing something we love to do.

                        • manko
                          manko  2 weeks back

                          "make america great again"
                          it was never great, not even good

                          • W Keesler
                            W Keesler  1 weeks back

                            melania d sad you think that but I guess people take comfort for granted

                          • H S
                            H S  2 weeks back

                            the answers no now they changed it to ‘ keep America great’

                        • Gordy Leech
                          Gordy Leech  2 weeks back

                          Unfortunately kids who want jobs to help out food on the table aren’t allowed to work for money anymore. Think about how bad these kids lives would’ve been if they weren’t able to work. They chose this grueling work over not working because it was their best alternative.

                          • Ben O’Connor
                            Ben O’Connor  2 weeks back


                            • derpybob69
                              derpybob69  2 weeks back

                              South America still uses childs as workers

                              • Anthony Mendenhall
                                Anthony Mendenhall  3 weeks back

                                Now instead of forcing children to work for next to nothing all day long, we export our jobs to poor people in 3rd world countries that work for next to nothing all day long.

                                • David Copperfield-not the magician

                                  Please do a docu about growing food and what is done to it. Herbacides, pestacides, chemical nutrients. Inhumane animal treatment prior to slaughter, etc. Basically so consumers can SEE what is being done. This will stir up revolt and hopefully change. We are being poisoned and people are 'sleeping' through it! Thanks!

                                  • David Copperfield-not the magician

                                    Photographs are incredibly powerful and important! Especially in regard to injustice. Now with widespread availability and usage of cell phone cameras, LOTS of injustices are known and documented! Very good!

                                    • Mihai Ghionea
                                      Mihai Ghionea  3 weeks back

                                      A good idea for season 2, if there is hopefully ever going to be a season 2, would be the famous shot from Einstein's movie Red October, in which the Red guards assault The winter palace amidst the october revolution.

                                      • ItzJustDominic
                                        ItzJustDominic  3 weeks back

                                        So I have been studying Cotton Mills and they are very dangerous for young kids for these reasons

                                        1. They could get Lung Disease from all the cotton flying around (Cotton gets in their lungs)

                                        2.They don’t get as much money as there parents (That’s why they are poor)
                                        3. They lose different parts of their body

                                        • Jonas F
                                          Jonas F  3 weeks back

                                          And all where white...

                                          • Soul Glow
                                            Soul Glow  4 weeks back

                                            honestly.... this generation was tough as f. much respect to the ancestors.

                                            • listerstorm78236
                                              listerstorm78236  1 months back

                                              Kids in early 1900's: Fkin Lewis took our jobs!

                                              • Mosquito
                                                Mosquito  1 months back

                                                1:14 this picture legit scared me idk why

                                                • Veronica
                                                  Veronica  1 months back

                                                  This still happens, children working in fields, especially in California

                                                  • Brandon Masters
                                                    Brandon Masters  1 months back

                                                    Hard work is good for kids. The kids these days can learn a little something through hard work and not be so entitled to everything!

                                                    • Karsten Lane
                                                      Karsten Lane  1 months back

                                                      Is safe work with limited hours really so bad for children? I wish it was allowed.

                                                      • chan J
                                                        chan J  1 months back

                                                        peaceful life of ours are result of our ancestors sacrificing.

                                                        • 2B
                                                          2B  1 months back

                                                          And some people say photography is not an Art.

                                                          • Thomas Owens
                                                            Thomas Owens  1 months back

                                                            Back when progressives actually worked for progress.

                                                            • 1Man Army
                                                              1Man Army  1 months back

                                                              Corp america and republicans just orgasmed at the thought of bringing this back.

                                                              • RDV V
                                                                RDV V  1 months back

                                                                we're still searching for the photos that end childhood cancer

                                                                • Anna N
                                                                  Anna N  1 months back

                                                                  I thought that when he said they all had one thing in common I thought he was going to say they were all victims of child labor BUT NO HE SAID THEY ALL MET LEWIS HINE!

                                                                  • Mr. Common sense
                                                                    Mr. Common sense  1 months back

                                                                    Looks like white privilege to me

                                                                  • SandyRiverBlue
                                                                    SandyRiverBlue  1 months back

                                                                    We need to keep in mind that child labor laws in the US do not extend to the agriculture and entertainment industries. While the entertainment industry has very robust unions that limit working hours and scope for child performers, the agricultural sector has no such counterpart. Since many of these children are also itinerate laborers and non-citizens who move from farm to farm depending on the season, they also have a difficult time getting medical care and education services. They also tend to be food insecure at levels much higher than the national average. Many of these children are not paid for their work since it is their parents who carry the work visas. There is very little oversite and there doesn't seem to be a will in the American consciousness to make substantive changes to the situation.

                                                                    • Osauna Katana
                                                                      Osauna Katana  1 months back

                                                                      Wait what fifer if phfiffer?

                                                                      • soundsqueerbutok
                                                                        soundsqueerbutok  1 months back

                                                                        WOW. POWERFUL SHORT DOCUMENTARY, WRITING, PHOTOGRAPHY. PINCHED A PAIN AND WARM IN MY HEART. THANKS VOX!

                                                                        • Aztralise
                                                                          Aztralise  1 months back

                                                                          yo what 75 cents a day adjusted to todays inflation is 18 dollars bruv

                                                                          • The Non Smoker
                                                                            The Non Smoker  1 months back

                                                                            These photos are from 100yrs back but in India, it's still happening to this date.

                                                                          • steve thepirate
                                                                            steve thepirate  1 months back

                                                                            I worked repairing a building built in the 1920s. The terracotta stones on the outside had to be repaired. When you turned them over, you could see the imprint of small fingers from when the clay was pushed into the mold. The largest of them wasn't as big as my pinky.

                                                                            And anyone that believes child labor ended in America in the early-mid 1900s is mistaken. Poverty puts many kids to this day to work at a young age. They get around the law by being paid under the table. Often at the company where their father works.

                                                                            It's even seen as a good thing, builds a strong work ethic from an early age.

                                                                            • BHammer
                                                                              BHammer  2 months back

                                                                              "Child labor laws are ruining this country" Ron Swanson

                                                                              • Roy Forbes
                                                                                Roy Forbes  2 months back

                                                                                Slavery Do that

                                                                                • Vo Kaloiyd
                                                                                  Vo Kaloiyd  2 months back

                                                                                  what's the movie from 0:58 - 1:02 ?

                                                                                  • Mr. Mania
                                                                                    Mr. Mania  2 months back

                                                                                    I hate how old people say that their generation was better because it was harder

                                                                                    • gabriela abril
                                                                                      gabriela abril  2 months back

                                                                                      Love this channel