Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 17
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 17
 
from their path. It is worth the while of Chicago and the other Western cities that are growing with such joyful metropolitan ambitions, to notice that their slums look to-day very much as New York’s did then. In fifty years how will it be? “The offspring of municipal neglect” the Assembly Committee of 1857 called our “tenement-house” system. “Forgetfulness of the poor” was the way a citizens’ council put it. It comes to the same thing. Whether seen from the point of view of the citizen, the philanthropist, or the Christian, the slum is the poorest investment a city can make, and once made it is not easily unmade. In a Mississippi river town, when pleading for the turning over to the people’s use of some vacant land on the river-shore that would make a fine breathing space, I was told that

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