LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

A young girl works as a looper at the Crescent Hosiery Mill in Scotland Neck, N.C.

Photographer Lewis Hine documented the experiences of children working in North Carolina’s textile mills. About the photograph

Life became more difficult for North Carolina’s mill workers in the first decades of the twentieth century. Children typically worked alongside their parents in factories, with few laws to protect them. In response to declining demand in the 1920s, textile mill owners cut wages and demanded longer hours from their workers. Protests began to spread. Some workers tried to organize labor unions, and there were widespread strikes in the South between 1929 and 1934. In this chapter, we’ll look at the experiences of workers in this period, using resources such as photographs and oral histories.