A hundred years ago, before OSHA, MSHA, the UMWA, or child labor laws had any real power, children in the mining areas of West Virginia and Pennsylvania were sent to work at an early age. They were supposed to be at least 12 years old, but some were as young as five or six! Their families needed the money, and the operators wanted cheap laborers. The boys in this picture are separating coal from rocks by hand. Note the man with a stick watching over them. Read more about the boy miners and see more of Lewis Hine's photographs at Environmental Graffiti. Link
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