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National Child Labor Committee
Biography: The National Child Labor Committee was organized on April 25, 1904 at a mass meeting at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In 1908, the hiring of a tailor’s son from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, anthropologist and photographer, Lewis Wickes Hine. In 1912, a Children’s Bureau in both the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Labor was established. From 1910-1920, while publishing and disseminating the photographs of Lewis Hine, the Committee worked for passage of state and federal legislation to ban most forms of child labor, and to promote compulsory education in all states. When the Supreme Court ruled that federal legislation banning child labor was unconstitutional the NCLC turned its focus to the passage of a constitutional amendment banning child labor and to continued strengthening of state laws from coast to coast in the 1920s. The constitutional amendment fell just a few states short of passage in the early 1930s; the NCLC refused to be discouraged, and continued to pursue its goals. The result was the triumphal passage in 1938 of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which contained strong NCLC-designed child labor provisions, and which passed muster with the Supreme Court.