Jacob A. Riis (18491914). The Battle with the Slum. 1902.
VIII. On Whom Shall we Shut the Door?
THE Jew and the Italian have filled the landscape so far, because, as a matter of fact, that is what they do. Yesterday it was the Irishman and the Bohemian. To-morrow it may be the Greek, who already undersells the Italian from his pushcart in the Fourth Ward, and the Syrian, who can give Greek, Italian, and Jew points at a trade. The rebellious Slovak holds his own corner in our industrial system, though never for long. He yearns ever for the mountain sides of his own Hungary. He remembers, where the Jew tries only to forget. From Dalmatia comes a new emigration, and there are signs that the whole Balkan peninsula has caught the fever and is waiting only for cheap transportation to be established on the Danube to the Black Sea, when there is no telling what will be heading our way. I sometimes wonder what thoughts come to the eagle that perches over the great stone gateway on Ellis Island, as he watches the procession that files through it into the United States day after day, and never ends. He looks out