Fall River - August 26th 1911 - 11am

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InterestedReader
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Fall River - August 26th 1911 - 11am

Postby InterestedReader » Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:24 am

This is John White of 189 Union St, a newsboy barefoot on the street.

image.jpg


'He said he was "ten"', to the witness.
In fact he is eight years old - one of seven children born to Irish immigrant parents.
https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2N5-LSX

This is just one of many hundreds of photos taken by the National Child Labor Committee when investigating in Fall River. The main focus is of course the mills, the gargantuan edifices where minors still labour all day to run the machines, poisoned by machine-oil, choking on lint, with 'the windows tight shut even in June'. The Committee photographed everything from the tiny children cleaning the looms to the mangled hands of girls injured by the machines and even the Fall River playgrounds which stand deserted and locked because most children are in the workforce.

So many show wizened little creatures of ten to fifteen strenuously endeavouring to look adult and secure a wage, all lying about their age as a matter of routine. The Committee documents both their stated and their apparent age.
The two lads are 'Night Messengers'.
The undersized lad in tie and best clothes is applying for work:
Louis Pelissier, 29 8th St., 16 year old (May 16, 1916) applicant 2nd grade - deficient mentality. 'Doesn't know name of place where he is going to work. Made it out for Small's mill, they weren't sure. Had been a sweeper but work was too hard for him. Didn't know how much he was to get. (Miss Smith to see what kind of card he got.) Worked at Union Mill, $3.27, as a sweeper.'
Many of the children applying for work admit they wish they could have gone to school instead. Many have had no education and are completely illiterate whether in English or their maternal tongue.
The Fall River investigation took place largely between 1910 and 1916.
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