Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 133
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 133
 
plant can which the child is pulling up every two or three days to “see if it has roots.”
  Half the tenement house population—and I am not sure that I ought not to say the whole of it—is everlastingly on the move. Dr. Gould quotes as an instance of it the experience of an assembly district leader in distributing political circulars among the people in a good tenement neighborhood. In three months after the enrolment lists had been made out, one-third of the tenants had moved. No doubt the experience was typical. How can the one who hardly knows what a home means be expected to have any pride or interest in his home in the larger sense: the city? And to what in such men is one to appeal in the interests of civic betterment? That is why every effort that goes to help tie the citizen to one spot long enough to give him the proprietary sense in it which is the first step toward civic interest and pride, is of such account. It is one way in which the public schools as neighborhood houses in the best sense could be of great help, and a chief factor in the success of the social settlement. And that is why model tenements, which pay and foster the home, give back more than a money interest to the community.
  They must pay, for else, as I said, they will not stay. These pay four per cent, and are expected to pay five, the company’s limit. So it is not strange

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