Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 357
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 357
 
President of the United States, and cut down a cherry tree. They were sitting and sewing at the time almost on the identical spot on Cherry Hill where he lived when he held the office. To the question who ruled before Washington the answer came promptly: no one; he was the first. They agreed reluctantly, upon further consideration, that there was probably “a king of America” before his day, and the Irish damsels turned up their noses at the idea. The people of Canada, they thought, were copper-colored. The same winter I was indignantly bidden to depart from a school in the Fourth Ward by a trustee who had heard that I had written a book about the slum and spoken of “his people” in it.
 
 
Public School No. 153, the Bronx.
 
  Those early steps in the reform path stumbled sadly over obstacles that showed what a hard pull we had ahead. I told in “The Making of an American” how I fared when I complained that the Allen Street school was overrun with rats, and how I went out to catch one of them to prove to the City Hall folk that I was not a liar, as they said. We won the fight for the medical inspection of the schools that has proved such a boon, against much opposition within the profession, from which we should have had only support. And this in face of evidence of a kind to convince anybody. I remember one of the exhibits. There had been a

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