Children Working in Mines



Use the photograph and background information to answer the question that follows. 


This photograph shows “breaker boys” in a Pennsylvania coal mine in 1911. Their job was to break coal from other rocks. The photograph was taken by Lewis Hine, who travelled around the country taking photographs of children working in a variety of jobs.

Additional facts related to Hine’s photograph:
1. Hine was paid to take this photograph by an organization that opposed child labor.   
2. Hine had been a teacher in New York City before becoming a full-time photographer. 
3. Children who worked in the mines were often unable to attend school. 

Question: Which 1 of the 3 facts above might cause you to question the reliability of Hine’s photograph as evidence of what working conditions were like for children in the mines? 

About the Assessment

Like the Unions in Paterson, New Jersey assessment, this question gauges whether students can source and contextualize a document.  Students must first examine a photograph of children working in coal mines and then determine which fact might help them evaluate the reliability of the photo.  Strong students should be able to explain how the fact that Hine was paid by an organization opposed to child labor (Fact 1) might have affected how he decided to portray children working in the mines.