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A Crippled Farm Worker

Creator: n/a
Date: September 1916
Publication: American Journal of Care for Cripples
Source: Available at selected libraries


Disabled workers faced pervasive prejudice from employers in the early twentieth-century, as suggested by this excerpt from the American Journal of Care for Cripples. Employers shared the American mania for efficiency at this time; most assumed that disabled workers could never be as productive as their able-bodied counterparts.

As a result, it was often easier for a disabled worker to find employment in a sheltered workshop than on the mainstream labor market—even though workshops generally paid low wages.

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The following clipping from the World's Work tells of one cripple who succeeded at farm work.


An interesting case that came before the Federal Employment Agency of the United States was that of a cripple who applied at the New York office for a position as barn man on a dairy farm. The government's labor agent sent him to a dairy farmer who had applied for help. When the cripple arrived at the dairy farm, the farmer, greatly incensed at the man's infirmity, refused to let him go to work, and immediately communicated to the agent his indignation at being supplied with a "poor excuse for a man." The agent insisted that the farmer give the cripple a chance to show his ability. Also, he made the proposition that instead of the $25 a month named as wages in the former agreement, the cripple should be allowed to work at the rate of a dollar a cow per month, he to milk all the cows he could handle. The farmer took the agent up on this offer, with the result that the cripple has been getting $30 a month for his work.