At the turn of the 20th century, the Industrial Revolution had led to a need for workers, and in the pursuit of cheap labor that was less likely to unionize, many companies turned to hiring children, often putting them in dangerous conditions for long hours and low pay. As the cries for child labor reform began to grow, one man's photos helped to humanize the movement and spur the change. This great video tells the story of his work.
Coming to you from Vox, this excellent video tells the history of Lewis Wickes Hine. In 1900, almost two million children (1 in 5) under the age of 16 were employed, many working in highly dangerous jobs for low pay, such as operating factory equipment or coal mining. As outcry against this practice grew, the National Child Labor Committee hired Hine to travel the country and photograph and interview child laborers; in his travels, he would end up taking portraits of children as young as four. His images are powerful, and his careful documentary work gave them more context and helped spur the passage of legislation that brought these practices to an end and undoubtedly improved or even saved the lives of countless children throughout the country. Check out the video above for more on his outstanding work.