Breaker Boys: How a Photograph Helped...
Little boys, some as young as 6, spent their long days, not playing or studying, but sorting coal in dusty, loud, and dangerous conditions. Many of these breaker boys worked 10 hours a day, six days a week all for as little as 45 cents a day. Child labor was common in the United States in the 19th century. It took the compelling, heart breaking photographs of Lewis Hine and others to bring the harsh working conditions to light. Hine and his fellow Progressives wanted to end child labor. He knew photography would reveal the truth and teach and change the world. With his camera Hine showed people what life was like for immigrants, the poor, and the children working in mines, factories, and mills. In the words of an historian, the more than 7,000 photos Hine took of American children at work aroused public sentiment against child labor in a way that no printed page or public lecture could.
Iconic photos are so familiar to us that we can easily forget the images were taken of real human beings. This series tells the stories of the people in these famous photos; the life of the photographers before and after their fame; and the lasting effects the photos had on our culture. Most of the photographers say they were in the right place at the right time. Some photos inspired novels; Dorothea Lange's image of a migrant worker mother and her two (of 10) children moved John Steinbeck to write The Grapes of Wrath. The photographers were on assignments from a magazine, the government or news organizations, for the most part. Sometimes the subjects and photographers were one in the same such as the Apollo astronauts. The text in this series is as fascinating as the images. While most of the photos are black and white, they are large and crisp, showing lots of detail. Child labor, segregation, poverty, war, and death are not themes for young children. But, this is part of our American history that you may not see in a history text. I found them just fascinating! ~Sara 9" x 10" 64pp, sc. ~ Sara