Playing Child Labor (featuring "Babies in the Mill" and "Dark as a Dungeon")
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This survey was to be an all encompassing detailed view of a typical industrial city, showing the gap between the largely unskilled immigrant workers and the comfortable middle class of managers, executives and politicians. The goal of the survey was to promote a rational understanding of the social and economic inequities in Industrial America so a greater public awareness would result in corrective social action (reform).
Between 1908 and 1912 Hine traveled around the United States photographing children as young as 3 years old working in mines, factories, canneries, textile mills, street trades and assorted agricultural industries. These children often worked dangerous jobs for long hours and little pay.
The first song "Babies In the Mill”, was written by Dorsey Dixon. The photographs begin with children working in mills and factories, as well as some other random jobs like selling newspapers, picking fruit, gutting fish and delivering goods. Towards the end of the song, more recent colored photographs of children are shown working in third world nations.
The second song is called "Dark as a Dungeon" written and performed by Merle Travis. Again, the black and white photographs are from Lewis Hines; the colored photographs at the end depict various children working in third world nations. Some of the photos include 14 year old Basillo Vargas, and his 12 year old brother, who are both featured in the film " The Devil's Miner" http://www.thedevilsminer. These boys are from Bolivia, and represent the responsibilities poor children from poor families (without fathers) have to face, regardless of age.