Jacob A. Riis (18491914). The Battle with the Slum. 1902.
V. Druv into Decency
I STOOD at Seven Dials and heard the policemans account of what it used to be. Seven Dials is no more like the slum of old than is the Five Points today. The conscience of London wrought upon the one as the conscience of New York upon the other. A mission house, a childrens refuge, two big schools, and, hard by, a public bath and a wash-house, stand as the record of the battle with the slum, which, with these forces in the field, has but one ending. The policemans story rambled among the days when things were different. Then it was dangerous for an officer to go alone there at night.
Around the corner there came from one of the side streets a procession with banners, parading in honor and aid of some church charity. We watched it pass. In it marched young men and boys with swords and battle-axes, and upon its outskirts skipped a host of young roughsso one would have called them but for the evidence of their honest employmentwho rattled collection boxes, reaping a harvest of pennies from far and near. I looked at the