Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 285
Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 285
and take without offence. Children of one Father! Spin all the fine theories you like, build up systems of profound philosophy, of social ethics, of philanthropic endeavor; back to that you get—if you get anywhere at all.
  I did not mean to preach. I was just thinking that the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, in its fifty years of battling with all that makes the slum, has come nearer that ideal than any and all the rest of us. And the president of it these ten years, the same who with his brother tried to reform Gotham Court, is the head, too, of the citizens’ union which is the whole reform programme in a nutshell. All of which is as it ought to be.
  To return to the East Side where the light was let in. Bone Alley brought thirty-seven dollars under the auctioneer’s hammer. Thieves’ Alley, in the other park down at Rutgers Square, where the police clubbed the Jewish cloakmakers a few years ago for the offence of gathering to assert their right to “being men, live the life of men,” as some one who knew summed up the labor movement, brought only seven dollars, and the old Helvetia House, where Boss Tweed and his gang met at night to plan their plundering raids on the city’s treasury, was knocked down for five. Kerosene Row, in the same block, did not bring enough to have bought kindling wood with which to start one of the numerous



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