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The Southern textile industry relied on child labor. Between 1880 and 1910, around one-fourth of the workforce was under the age of sixteen; many laborers were as young as seven. Soon reformers questioned the use of children as laborers working long hours. In 1913, North Carolina and other states passed laws restricting the hours children could work. Many manufacturers ignored the laws. It would be another ten years before child labor reforms became effective.
Winston-Salem's Committee for a Model Community organized a summer work program for unemployed boys. City personnel visited local high schools to recruit appropriate candidates who would spend the summer beautifying the city. The program ran from June 17 to August 23 1963 and employed 447 boys.