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Teacher Gazette


 Lewis Hine
Teaching Strategy

A picture can tell a powerful story. Lewis Hine used flash photography to illuminate the plight of the poor during the Progressive Era (1890s-1920s). By documenting urban poverty and child labor, he stirred the nation's conscience, persuading legislators to pass new laws. In this lesson, students analyze photographs from Lewis Hine's collection. They then form and discuss tableaus or "living pictures" to explore the perspectives of the photographer, his subjects, and his audience. More

Primary Source
Lewis Hine photo The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division 

Lewis Hine took this photograph while working for the National Child Labor Committee. He traveled hundreds of miles each year from 1908 to 1916, shining light (figuratively and literally) on children working in factories, fields, and sweatshops around the nation. He photographed these boys in Macon, Georgia on January 19, 1909, noting that many of this textile mill's employees were youngsters "so small they had to climb up on the spinning frame to mend the broken threads and put back the empty bobbins." More

"The artist, Burne-Jones, once said he should never be able to paint again if he saw much of those hopeless lives that have no remedy. What a selfish, cowardly attitude! How different is the stand taken by Hugo, that the great social peril is darkness and ignorance. 'What then,' he says, 'is required? Light! Light in floods!' The dictum, then, of the social worker is 'Let there be light;' and in this campaign for light we have for our advance agent the light writer -the photograph."

Lewis W. Hine, "Social Photography; How the Camera May Help in the Social Uplift," Proceedings of the National Conference of Charities and Correction at the Thirty-sixth Annual Session held in the City of Buffalo, New York, June 9-16, 1909, Alexander Johnson ed., (Fort Wayne, IN: Press of Fort Wayne, 1909); 355-359 

We will be at the National Council for History Educators (NCHE) Conference in St. Augustine, FL, March 19-21! Come see us at Booth 7 or at one of our breakout sessions: 
  • Encountering America: Immigrant Narratives as Historical Documents
  • The 1800s: A Century of Confrontation 
  • Child Labor's History and Legacy in America and Beyond
  • Divergent Thinking Encounters Active Storytelling

Be sure to stop by to hear more about HERO and The Idea of America and register for door prizes!

HERO's Upcoming Live Broadcast
March 12, 2015
In 1775, a young apprentice boy dreams of a better life while working in a Philadelphia print shop. A Mexican-American migrant girl in 1960's California struggles to harvest garlic all day and keep up with her studies. These and other working children help illuminate the evolution of child labor in America from colonial times to today. More

Featured Product
The activities on this CD-ROM encourage students to analyze and evaluate evidence. Teacher lesson plans and classroom activities are included. Available for grades 1-3 and 4-6.  More
Colonial Williamsburg Education Outreach is supported in part
by the William and Gretchen Kimball Young Patriots Fund.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation | Education Outreach | PO Box 1776 | Williamsburg | VA | 23187