I have this hang-up about child labor. Many laws were passed, and I do not doubt they saved lives and also do not doubt that they were meant for protection, but were they all good? That said, I still think it is good for a child to work (at least a little). I think it is a fact many times: an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
All the laws never did cover the kids on the farm who sometimes worked from sun up to sun down. There was even a time around here that even up into the 1950’s, that schools closed during cotton picking season, so the children could work. I did that one year with my girl friend, Doris Bost. I picked along side her and gave her my picking (plus some dirt clods I had added for weight). I think I was about 9/10yrs old.
Farmers tended to have large families to aid with farm chores. With that said, when the cotton mills opened, it was natural for children to go to work in the mills. There are terrible pictures of children working in the coal mines, I was not there, don’t know about that. All I know is that it did elicit sympathy from me, for the dirty urchin looking kids.
The cotton mills were relatively clean, but breathing the cotton dust was not good, that is for sure, it caused brown lung.
The reason I started this was the fact I mentioned it in the last post. When I did I thought of the ‘True Light Church’, based in the county East of Charlotte, NC. I worked with some of these church members. some of the best folks I have ever met. They believed a child should learn a trade early in life. They had their own schools. The kids 6-9 sorta played at work. But 8/9 and up went to school half day and worked half day. Hours were kept, the child was given a small allowance, the rest of the money earned was put in a bank account for him/her.
At 16 (driving age in NC) they went down to the local car dealer and paid cash for a new pickup truck. At age 25 they built and paid for their homes. These were happy kids. I loved working with them, they enjoyed working and setting goals.
Crews traveled the USA, teaching in the morning, working in the afternoon. They were carpenters and great wall paper hangers, perfect work. The took contracts to wall paper hotels every where.
Their logic failed to impress the US government. They were cited for child abuse and violating child labor laws. If they had been farmers, there would have been no problem, weird!
Just my take today. Thanks for coming this way.
You're never too old to learn something stupid.
1919 Nash 2 ton truck. When this was built, Sherry dad had been working about 7/8 yrs in the Mill.