Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Child labor

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.

young miner

The cotton mills were relatively clean, but breathing the cotton dust was not good, that is for sure, it caused brown lung.

oldpictures 054

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.

Nite Shiplog


(For government)

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.


Louis la Vache said...

Can you imagine how rough the ride was in the trucks of those days?! They would shake the fillings out of your teeth!

Lucy said...

I KNOW you are never to old to learn anything. Interesting post.

Helen said...

Those children made me hurt. I used to help pick cotton when I was little. I remember those sacks being so heavy they were dragged. Remember stooping over so long picking that old cotton until I felt like my back was breaking. Maybe that was the start of my back problems.

Fred Alton said...

I think it would be a wonderful thing today if parents had the skill to put their children to work. (Of course, at a reasonable age.) I worked in the summer as a child in grammar school in the 7th and 8th grade making $2 per day. Went to work for the Newspaper in New Orleans selling subscriptions over the phone - and got a social security card at 16 years. Then went to work for Superior Candy Co., working evenings and week-ends for .35 cents per hour. Worked one summer as a "mechanic's helper". All of it was special learning for me and great joy - especially on pay day!

shirl72 said...

I see so many lazy teenagers today
because they think their parents
owe them a living. I have heard
some say you had me so now support me. It never hurts anyone to do
some kind of work or learn a trade
if you don't want to go to School.
Work makes a person feel good to
think you have accomplished

Today it is give-me-give-me-give-me. What can I get free.

Chatty Crone said...

You know I think both ways - I hate to think of kids in foreign countries having to work for hours for very little. But some work is great for the kids to learn responsibly. sandie

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I think it's good for a child to earn a little of their own money, but way back labor laws were needed as so many were treated so unfairly. My boys started out with a paper route and pretty much had some kind of after school or summer job until they graduated from college or as one of my sons did, went into the military. Then they found out what real work was. Anyway it taught them how to handle their money and budget for things they wanted. And it kept them out of trouble too. Never regretted that they worked at something. They still had time for fun and camping and they participated in some sports too. It wasn't all work and not play at all for them.

Paula said...

My daughters worked at the movie theatre as their first job and saved to buy their first car. So many think they have to start at the top. I loved my first job at the small town telephone office. I was lucky I never had to pick cotton but I've sure heard a lot about it.

betty said...

Interesting about those kids working and then having money to be able to pay cash for a car; they did seem to enjoy it though. Hard line to draw with letting kids work (of course in safe environments) and have them working in unsafe long hours type of environments. I know here in California the kids under 18 have to get a work permit before they can work; can only work so many hours on school nights, not past 9 o'clock, etc. Very interesting post Jack :)


DD said...

I think every child should be encouraged to climb to their highest level academically, but the greater percentage, especially today, would be blessed to have the schooling and guidance that church was giving.

Public schools today need attention!

I remember when county schools closed so farmer's children could work in the fields. I was glad I wasn't