Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 204
Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 204
sweet to your ear; hear their young voices as they salute the flag that is theirs:
One Door that has been opened: St. John’s Park in Hudson Street.—once a Graveyard.
  “We give our heads and our hearts to our country. One country, one language, one flag!”
  Fear not, eagle! While that gate is open let no one bar the one you guard. While the flag flies over the public school, keep it aloft over Ellis Island and have no misgivings. The school has the answer to your riddle.
  About once a week I am asked: Would I shut out any, and whom and how and why? Sometimes, looking at it from the point of view of the tenement and the sweat shop,—that is to say, the city,—I think I would. And were that all, I certainly should. But then, there comes up the recollection of a picture of the city of Prague that hangs in a Bohemian friend’s parlor, here in New York. I stood looking at it one day, and noticed in the foreground cannon that pointed in over the city. I spoke of it, unthinking, and said to my host that they should be trained, if against an enemy, the other way. The man’s eye flashed fire. “Ha!” he cried, “here, yes!” When I think of that, I do not want to shut the door.
  Again, there occurs to me an experience the police had a few years ago in Mulberry Street. They were looking for a murderer, and came upon a nest of Italian thugs who lived by blackmailing their countrymen. They were curious about them,



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