Sweatshops in the Sun: Child Labor on the Farm

Sweatshops in the Sun: Child Labor on the Farm

Sweatshops in the Sun: Child Labor on the Farm

Sweatshops in the Sun: Child Labor on the Farm

Excerpt

As a reporter I have specialized in the subjects of poverty, prejudice, and privation that are the daily life of the rural poor. Over the years I have written thousands of words about farm workers and their families; although the children were sometimes a part of those stories, usually the focus was on the problems faced by the families or by the adult workers. Before Beacon Press asked that I write this book I was aware of the children working on farms, I knew they lived in the shanty labor camps and rundown farm worker communities and that they labored beside their parents in the fields.They were a small, appealing part of the rural poverty scene.

But gathering information for Sweatshops in the Sun was my first real attempt to concentrate on the world of these small workers, who have always been within sight, but who have so long been ignored.Now, as I drive through the countryside, I find myself looking for children at work, and I see them in surprising numbers and wonder why I hadn't focused my attention on them before. As I worked on this book I began to realize that I had seen these children only as an observer conditioned to the fact that child labor on the farm was a common occurrence, in no way out of the ordinary.

In the year that it has taken to put Sweatshops in the Sun together I have had the time to reflect upon what I have seen and to fit these findings into the perspective I have formed over the years.While I have been writing about farm labor for only a decade and a half, my first farm worker recollections date to the 1930's. I was a native Californian, a child growing . . .

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