Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 372
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 372
 
boy all too feebly to the school. At a time when the demand of the boys of the East Side for club room, which was in itself one of the healthiest signs of the day, had reached an exceedingly dangerous pass, the Public Education Association broke ground that will yet prove the most fertile field of all. The Raines law saloon, quick to discern in the new demand the gap that would divorce it by and by from the man, attempted to bridge it by inviting the boy in under its roof. Occasionally the girl went along. A typical instance of how the scheme worked was brought to my attention at the time by the head worker of the college settlement. The back room of the saloon was given to the club free of charge, with the understanding that the boy members should “treat.” As a means of raising the needed funds, the club hit upon the plan of fining members ten cents when they “got funny.”
  To defeat this device of the devil some way must be found; but club room was scarce among the tenements. The Good Government Clubs proposed to the Board of Education that it open the empty classrooms at night for the children’s use. It was my privilege to plead their cause before the School Board, and to obtain from it the necessary permission, after some hesitation and doubt as to whether “it was educational.” The Public Education Association assumed the

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