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Not Just a Picture': The Story Behind This Iconic Child Labor Photo


"She had a sharp tongue and was real feisty."

A child identified as a 10-year-old "spinner" in the Rhodes Mfg. Co., in Lincolnton, N.C. Spinner. The photo caption by Lewis Hine noted that the girl said she had been working for more than a year. (Photo credit: Lewis Hine/Library of Congress)

A 10-year-old girl looks longingly out a window from inside the cotton mill where she works. Perhaps she's thinking about what it might be like to play or go to school, to breathe the fresh air instead of stagnant, dusty factory conditions.

The girl in Lewis Hine's photo taken in 1908 in a Lincolnton, N.C., mill is one of thousands of photographic symbols of the sadness surrounding child labor.

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