Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 212
Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 212
  The mere fact that the schoolhouse is there, inviting them in, is something. When it comes to seek them out, to invite them to their own hall for discussion, for play, it will be a good deal, particularly if the women go along. And the enrolment of the schoolhouse could be counted as being for decency.
  It makes all the difference what the start is like. “Excellency,” wrote an Italian to his consul in New York, “I arrived from Italy last week. As soon as I landed a policeman clubbed me. I am going to write to Victor Emmanuel how things are done here. Viva 1’ Italia! Abbasso 1’ America!” I should not be surprised to find that man plotting anarchy in Paterson as soon as he got his bearings, and neither need you be.
  There is still another alternative to either keeping them out or keeping them in the city, namely, to ship them away after they have reached the slum and been stranded there, individually or in squads. The latter way was tried when the great Jewish immigration first poured in, in the early eighties. Five colonies of refugee Jews were started in southern New Jersey, but they failed. The soil was sandy and poor, and the work unfamiliar. Thrown upon his own resources, in a strange and unfriendly neighborhood, the man grew discouraged and gave up in despair. The colonies were in a state of



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