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The Dirty Children

By Phillip Taft


1900 Child Miner As America's mills and mines expanded in the industrial era, the great need for workers drew even the youngest into labor.

Without safety provisions, just compensation, or even fresh air to breathe, children worked and suffered.

The gaunt, dirty face of the exploited child appeared as the very image-and the eternal condemnation-of the American working system until reform laws were passed in the early 1900s.

One of the most vivid accounts of children at work was written by John Spargo, after a visit to the Appalachian coal mines.

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