Thursday, September 29, 2011

Louisiana: Oyster Shuckers in Dunbar Cannery

Prosperity comes from a people’s ability and willingness to utilize their natural surroundings to the fullest extent in order to maintain stable living conditions. In America, the Native American’s learned to follow the buffalo herds, explorers and other people in the mountains learned to hunt and trap animals, farmers across the country learned to cultivate land to maximize their production and harvest, and the coastal people on the edges of this country learned to fish.
1912_port_royal_south_carolina_chil
Above and below: at the Maggioni Canning Company in Port Royal, South Carolina, children shucked oysters for 4 hours before a half day of school, returning for 3 more hours of work after shool.
The seafood industry has always been a major industrial factor in the South’s economy. Ever since the Native Americans taught European colonists their method of catching oysters on the offshore reefs, oysters have been a profitable enterprise in the seafood industry. (Bellande, Schmidt.)

Like most food producing industries, fishing for oysters is a very labor intensive endeavor. Men would use rakes and tongs to gather oysters from the reefs and then would take their catch back to the boats called schooners or skiffs. Before health regulations, oysters were opened in the water and the shells were left for future oyster development.


These health regulations along with the expanding industry called for the use of factories to store and ship oysters. Factories weren’t implemented until the creation of icehouses because of seafood’s highly perishable nature. With the introduction of processing factories or canneries came the constant need for factory workers, which in most cases were women and children; young boys worked in factories until they were old or strong enough to work on the boats with the men. (Bellande, Schmidt.)
General view of shucking shed. Location: Dunbar, Louisiana.

In the early stages of the oyster industry most factories or canneries were part of were known as camps. The owners of the factories would set up these camps as self-sufficient communities. They had stores that held the basic necessities for the people who live in the camp, all of whom were workers for the factory.
Housing Conditions in the Settlement of Dunbar

The workers lived in cheap rent row-type-homes like those seen in the photograph “Housing Conditions in the Settlement of Dunbar.” The caption of this photo points out a church in the background and talks of a jail in the settlement. The owners of the factories would do their best to create a sense of community in the camps as well as do what they could to please the workers. These camps and paternalistic nature of the oyster industry came with the unionization and decentralization that occurred when companies that once had owned process, from fishing to processing to shipping, in a way, subcontracted other companies to do different steps of the process. (Bellande, Schmidt.)

All are oyster shuckers in the Dunbar Cannery. Began work about 3:00 A.M. and worked until about 5:00 P.M. with half an hour for lunch. The great hill of shells is only part of the season''s product. Location: Dunbar, Louisiana
.
But no matter who owned the company, the factory, the boats, or the cannery, the people who worked in the cannery remained the same. The 14 hour work day in the canneries began around 3:00 AM; each had a whistle with its own unique whistle to call its workers to the cannery. Oyster shucking was what is know as piece work, meaning that the more oysters you would shuck, the more money you would make.

Oyster shuckers would use a knife and small pieces of cloth that covered part of their knife hand to cut the oysters from their shells after they had been steamed, a process of opening the oyster’s shells using steam. The scene in the photograph “Group of Oyster Shuckers,” shows the general atmosphere of a cannery. This photo’s caption explains that there are about 300 workers in that room, and tells how the woman in the center of the frame said that her young daughter was a great help to her. Looking at this picture it is easy to get a sense of how it felt to work in one of these canneries. Everyone is wearing heavy clothes or aprons, canneries were notoriously cold, mainly because oyster season was during the winter. It was not uncommon for the women to have relatives bring hot water from their homes or to wrap newspaper around their legs to keep warm. (Bellande, Schmidt.)
Rosy, an eight-year-old oyster shucker who works steady all day from about 3:00 A.M. to about 5 P.M. in Dunbar Cannery. The baby will shuck as soon as she can handle the knife. Location: Dunbar, Louisiana
.
Lewis Hine’s photograph “Rosy an Eight Year Old Oyster Shucker” is one of the clearest depictions of the assembly line type of process that occurred in the Dunbar Oyster Cannery. The cart Rosy and the other workers are standing around come into the shucking room on railroad ties from the steaming room.

There were normally eight workers around one cart, they would cut the oysters from their shell and place the oysters in the buckets that are hanging from the carts in the picture, the shells were thrown on the ground beneath the tracks or behind the workers like see here in the picture.
Worker_housing_at_maggioni_canning_

Above and below: worker housing built atop a shell pile at Maggioni Canning in Port Royal, South Carolina.
Huge piles of oyster shells collected outside of the canneries, many canneries tried to maximize their financial income by selling the shells to local cities for fill or for road repairs. Also in this picture you can see how eight workers worked together on the same crate, it was very common for the same eight people to work together day in and day out becoming a close team. And it is also quite visible in this photograph that the children workers were a big part of that team. (Bellande, Schmidt.)

8-year-old Annie from Baltimore is a shucker in the Dunbar Cannery, (Dunbar, Louisiana).

It was quite common for mothers to bring their young children to work with them. Camps and factories did not have babysitters or nurseries so most women would bring their younger children to work, some women made playpens in the factories for their children but most kept their children on the floor next to them, where they could watch and learn how to perform their mother’s task. The photo “Four Year Old Mary, Who Shucks Pots of Oysters,” tells of a mother and daughter at the Dunbar Cannery in Louisiana. The caption tells us that Mary shucks two pots of oysters a day and tends to her mothers sick child part of the day, while Mary shucks oysters her mother works with her sick baby in her arms. The caption also tells us that Mary’s mother is the fastest shucker in the cannery and makes $1.50 a day. It was probably because she was the best worker in the factory that the owner allowed her daughter to work part time and care for the baby, most factory owners did their best to please the better workers because in the south if a worker felt mistreated they could easily quit and find a job at another local cannery. (Bellande, Schmidt.)
Josie (age 6), Bertha (age 6) and Sophie (age 10) shuck at the Maggioni Canning Company in Port Royal.
Children working in the Dunbar Cannery in Louisiana and others like it all along the Gulf Coast started their working lives very young. Lewis Hine’s photograph “Eight Year Old Lizzie Earns 30 A Day” is a clear representation of children working in the seafood industry in the south. Hine says in the pictures caption that he watched the eight year old work at full speed all day long and that she could not speak English.
Many of the children around Lizzie’s age would go to the factories early in the morning and then leave to go to school and return after their classes to finish the day working in the factory. At fourteen children would receive a work card that made it legal for them to work in the factories, much like a modern work permit. Often children under the legal working age were forced to leave the factory if they were discovered by an investigator, for this reason many children hid whenever an investigator visited the cannery. (Bellande, Schmidt.)
1911 child labor photo Eight-year-old Lizzie, earns 30 cents a day shucking oysters in the Dunbar Cannery. I saw her working steady all day, at top speed. Could not speak a word of English. Location

Lewis Hine’s photography presents the major problems that were evident in the American industrial economy at the turn of the century. Child labor endangered millions of American children and today threatens millions of children of the third world. People like Lewis Hine brought the dangers of child labor to the attention of mainstream America and helped bring an end to endangering children in the workplace; perhaps someone will do the same for the children in other parts of the world so they too can enjoy their childhood.


(source: http://userpages.umbc.edu/~arubin/HIST402_SP2007/9938FC25F2DA89E485ABC88CA31DD3F8.html)

32 comments:

  1. Heya are using Wordpress for your blog platform? I'm new to the blog world but I'm trying to get started and set up my own.
    Do you need any html coding knowledge to make your own blog?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Feel free to visit my website ... how To detox your body

    ReplyDelete
  2. Now I am going away to do my breakfast, after having my breakfast coming again to
    read other news.

    Here is my web page :: Forex Trading System

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice blog right here! Additionally your website a lot up very fast!

    What host are you using? Can I am getting your affiliate hyperlink to your host?
    I want my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

    Feel free to surf to my web blog; League of Legends download

    ReplyDelete
  4. Attractive component to content. I simply stumbled
    upon your web site and in accession capital to say that I get actually enjoyed
    account your weblog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your augment or even I fulfillment you get entry to consistently fast.

    my web blog ... Http://Www.Test.Drsamarclinic.Com

    ReplyDelete
  5. If some one wants to be updated with latest technologies afterward he must be go to
    see this site and be up to date every day.

    Stop by my site :: World Of Tanks Hack

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate
    your efforts and I will be waiting for your next post thanks once again.



    Feel free to visit my web page :: permanent hair straightening

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm truly enjoying the design and layout of your site. It's a very easy on the eyes
    which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit
    more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Exceptional work!

    Feel free to visit my web page ... refinishing hardwood floors

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my site so i came to “return
    the favor”.I'm trying to find things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

    Review my homepage; Unknown

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm not certain the place you are getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or figuring out more. Thank you for wonderful info I was in search of this info for my mission.

    Stop by my website Friendsite.Com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello everybody, here every one is sharing these familiarity,
    thus it's nice to read this weblog, and I used to pay a quick visit this weblog everyday.

    Here is my web page Mon Jervois

    ReplyDelete
  11. Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was curious
    about your situation; many of us have developed some nice procedures and we are looking to trade strategies with others, please shoot me an e-mail if interested.


    Here is my web page: stretch marks

    ReplyDelete
  12. This post provides clear idea designed for the new viewers
    of blogging, that truly how to do blogging.

    my website - Dragonvale Cheats

    ReplyDelete
  13. What i don't realize is actually how you are no longer really much more smartly-preferred than you may be now. You are so intelligent. You understand thus considerably in the case of this matter, produced me in my opinion believe it from a lot of varied angles. Its like women and men aren't involved except
    it is something to do with Woman gaga! Your personal stuffs nice.
    All the time maintain it up!

    Visit my blog psn code generator

    ReplyDelete
  14. of course like your website but you need to test the spelling on quite
    a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the truth then again
    I will certainly come again again.

    Visit my web blog - diaper rash home remedies

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's hard to come by experienced people about this topic, but you sound like you know what you're talking about!

    Thanks

    Here is my web page Code psn Gratuit

    ReplyDelete
  16. My relatives every time say that I am killing my time
    here at web, except I know I am getting familiarity all the time
    by reading thes pleasant posts.

    Have a look at my weblog; World Of Tanks Hack

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from
    this site, and your views are pleasant in
    favor of new people.

    Check out my page ... Psn Code Generator

    ReplyDelete
  18. Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog centered on the same information you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my visitors would value your work. If you are even remotely
    interested, feel free to send me an e mail.



    Visit my page Dailymotion.Com

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have been exploring for a little for any high quality articles or
    blog posts in this sort of space . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this web site.
    Studying this information So i'm happy to show that I have an incredibly excellent uncanny feeling I came upon just what I needed. I such a lot definitely will make certain to don?t omit this website and provides it a look regularly.

    Review my webpage - Eco Sanctuary

    ReplyDelete
  20. If some one wishes to be updated with most recent technologies afterward he must be
    pay a visit this web page and be up to date daily.


    Feel free to visit my webpage Jailbreak Playstation 3

    ReplyDelete
  21. Good write-up. I certainly appreciate this website. Thanks!


    Here is my web page ... candy crush saga hack

    ReplyDelete
  22. obviously like your web-site but you have to take a look at the spelling
    on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell
    the truth however I'll certainly come again again.

    my weblog :: Dragon City Hack

    ReplyDelete
  23. You've made some decent points there. I checked on the web to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

    My blog :: Pirater Un Compte Facebook

    ReplyDelete
  24. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you
    writing this write-up and also the rest of the site is very good.


    Feel free to visit my web blog :: www.Dailymotion.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures on this
    blog loading? I'm trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog.
    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    my web-site; Psn Code Generator

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm really enjoying the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A number of my blog visitors have complained about my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any tips to help fix this problem?

    Here is my web page ... Psn Code Generator []

    ReplyDelete
  27. Awesome blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any community forums that cover the same
    topics discussed here? I'd really like to be a part of community where I can get feed-back from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Kudos!

    Also visit my site Code Psn Gratuit

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thanks for every other informative web site. Where else may just I get
    that type of information written in such a perfect manner?
    I've a project that I'm simply now working on, and I've been on the look out for such info.

    my blog psn Code generator

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you a lot for sharing this with all folks you really recognize what you
    are speaking about! Bookmarked. Kindly additionally discuss with my website =).
    We could have a hyperlink change agreement among us

    my blog post: Jailbreak Playstation 3 (Http://Kitcarlife.Com/Modules.Php?Name=Your_Account&Op=Userinfo&Username=Lorraineb)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Asking questions are actually fastidious thing if you are not understanding something completely, but this article gives fastidious understanding yet.


    Here is my web-site Codes Psn Gratuit

    ReplyDelete
  31. This is a topic that's close to my heart... Thank you! Where are your contact details though?

    My website ... Minecraft Crack

    ReplyDelete
  32. Somebody essentially assist to make critically articles I
    would state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and so far?
    I amazed with the analysis you made to create this actual put up
    amazing. Great activity!

    My homepage Graviola

    ReplyDelete

Share It

HOME

HOME
Click here to return to the US Slave Home Page