Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 20, Number 2, Fall, 2008 Page: 24 of 68
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Edwards taught free night classes in 1901-1902 for factory workers in the South Dallas Cotton Mill, above. His
pupils ranged in age from nine or ten to more than thirty years old.
Simkins. But the big cannon in their arsenal was
former U.S. Senator John H. Reagan, who in
1903 helped write a pamphlet entitled, "An
appeal to the members of the Texas State legislature
for a law regulating the employment of children
in factories by the Texas child labor committee."3
The movement also had the support of
the City Federation ofWomen's Clubs.24
Eventually, the child labor law advocates
found a legislative champion in the form of lawmaker
Chris B. Callan of San Antonio, who in
early 1903 introduced a bill in the Texas House
of Representatives that sought to make it unlawful
for "any person, firm or corporation" to
employ "any child under the age of fourteen."
However, following the consideration of"declarations
embraced in the resolution adopted at
the convention of the Cotton Manufacturers
Association," the bill emerged from the House
Labor Committee on January 30, 1903, with the
age limit lowered to twelve. It was this "substitute
bill" that was eventually passed and signed
into law by Governor Samuel Lanham on March
19, 1903. Although the new law also continued
to allow a twelve-hour workday, it was a victory
nonetheless. Minors between the ages of twelve
and fourteen who were employed in factories
had to be at least functionally literate, although
an exception was made for those whose parents
were dependent upon their incomes.25
After the Texas child labor bill was passed,
Stuck left Dallas to minister to the Indians in
Alaska (where he would later achieve fame leading
the first expedition up Mount McKinley).
Almost simultaneously, Edwards became corresponding
secretary for the Dallas Trades
Assembly, a local labor union, and began publishing
a journal called The Laborer. It was around
this time too that he embraced Socialism,
becoming an active member of Dallas's small but
dedicated local party.
During 1903 and 1904 the energetic
Edwards was all over the place, joining a campaign
for more public parks, making a Labor Day
speech in favor of Socialism at Oak Lawn Park,
attending meetings of the Dallas Civic League,
coaching the high school debating team, taking
part in the annual Woodmen's Day Parade, and
traveling to Grand Saline as one of sixteen Dallas
delegates to the state Socialist Convention."26
22 LEGACIES Fall 2008
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Dallas Heritage Village. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 20, Number 2, Fall, 2008, periodical, 2008; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46806/m1/24/: accessed March 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.