Newsboys Strike

1500 Words6 Pages
In 1899, a large number of New York newsboys’ took a stand against two powerful newspaper publishers and their unfair costs for newspapers. This youth-led campaign has become known as The Newsboys’ Strike of 1899. Due to this stand in history, future strikes were inspired and attention was drawn to the harsh practice of child labor. “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” It is 1899; the voices of newsboys fill the New York City streets. Since newspapers were the only type of media, the demand for them was high as they were the only way to receive information on the hot topic at the time: the Spanish-American war. The Spanish-American war began in 1898 and everyone wanted to know what was happening with the war. The demand of newspapers caused a…show more content…
Through newspapers, American citizens were able to watch their country flourish. These newspapers thrived under the two most powerful men, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. In a way to create more diverse newspapers, Pulitzer and Hearst simplified the language in their papers and added more pictures, so that they could be read by the foreigners and the uneducated (The 1899 New York Newsboys’ Strike). This strategy allowed publishers to raise their prices to “unprecedented” levels. This strategy caused circulation figures around 360,000. In a way to create a greater mass distribution area, newsboys would buy newspapers in bulk and would sell them on the corners of streets. On July 21, 1899, a large number of New York City newsboys refused to distribute Evening World and Evening Journal’s because of the raise in the wholesale price on the newspapers. Newsboys not only had to pay more for the newspapers they bought in bulk to sell, but they were not refunded for unsold newspapers. In order to make their mark, Newsboys refused to distribute the papers and began destroying distributions of these select newspapers. The newspapers circulation figures began dropping because of the revolt which caused the companies began hiring adults and other children to work the jobs. The Newsboys Strike was headed by Kid Blink who is described as “an eyepatch sporting boy in his early teens.”…show more content…
In 1853, a reporter describes the children as a “distinct class amongst themselves… They eat and sleep and make their living and amuse themselves in their own way perfectly independent of the world so long as their world would buy their papers.” The Newsboys Strike of 1899 inspired later strikes and helped encourage the development of later child labor laws. Examples of these strikes are the Butte, Montana Newsboys Strike of 1914 and the 1920’s Strike of Louisville, Kentucky. These strikes led to the later introduction of requirements and guidelines set for child labor. The New York Newsboys Strike of 1899 led to the recognition of the poor living conditions and life styles of young children in the urban cities. By the 1900’s, at least 18 percent of children were employed. 25 percent of the children working in the Southern cotton mills were below the age of fifteen and half of the 25 percent of the children were below the age of twelve years old. Up until the 20th century, child labor was an essential factor of the American economy and social life. In 1902, Florence Kelley, a founder the social work profession, and Lillian Wald, the founder of the Henry Street Settlement, persuaded the Association of Neighborhood Workers that they should take up the issue of child labor. This caused the creation of the group called the “Child Labor Committee” (The Struggle for Child Labor Reform). In

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