Teacher Lesson Ideas

Child Labor in South Carolina Textile Mills

In this lesson, twelfth grade students will learn about the Progressive movement and how social reforms at the beginning of the twentieth century led to the end of child labor in textile mills.  The teacher will discuss the political and social culture of the early twentieth century and show a PowerPoint presentation that highlights child labor in various industries.  Using secondary sources and primary sources from the South Carolina Historical Society, students will discuss the conditions surrounding a civil lawsuit brought against the Walterboro Cotton Mill for an accident in the mill involving child labor that occurred in December of 1905.  The students then expand upon this information by acting out a class skit of the trial between the insurance company and the mill, with some students playing the role of the jury.

Kenneth W. Tollett
Berkeley High School, SC
2004 Lowcountry Institute

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