Bancroft Library Roundtable: Migrants in the Making: Invisible Agricultural Child Labor and the Limits of Citizenship, 1938-1965

Lecture | February 21 | 12-1 p.m. | Faculty Club, Lewis-Latimer Room

 Ivón Padilla-Rodríguez, PhD candidate in History at Columbia University and Visiting Dissertation Research Scholar at the UC Berkeley Latinx Research Center

 Bancroft Library

Farm work is considered the most hazardous industry for young workers and yet estimates show that the U.S. currently employs between 200,000-500,000 agricultural child laborers a year. A vast majority of these youth live in extreme poverty, are of Mexican and Central American descent, and belong to families of mixed immigration statuses. Although the U.S. implemented a national child labor ban in 1938 as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Latinx children continue to toil in fields nationwide. Ivón Padilla-Rodríguez identifies the reason for this disjuncture by examining the consequences of the child labor ban's agricultural exemption in its first two and a half decades of existence. The legal exemption made it possible for growers and their allies to circumvent child labor protections and compulsory school attendance laws to continue to employ children in the fields. As a result, migrant Mexican and Mexican-American children from the Southwest who worked on local farms and followed western migratory streams lost rights crucial to childhood and the exercise of citizenship: education, health, and social welfare/public assistance.

 All Audiences

 All Audiences

 The Lewis-Latimer Room has a maximum capacity of 28 people. The doors will be shut and no more attendees may enter once the room is at capacity.

 You may purchase lunch at the Faculty Club and eat during the presentation., 510-642-3781