Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 380
Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 380
the graves where the great dead lie, the fields where they fought and bled. And when the little Italian asks, with shining eyes, “Which side were we on?” who can doubt that the lesson has sunk into a heart that will thenceforward beat more loyally for the city of his home? We have not any too much pride in our city, the best of us, and that is why we let it be run by every scalawag boss who comes along to rob us. In all the land there is no more historic building than Fraunces’ Tavern, where Washington bade good-by to his officers; but though the very Chamber of Commerce was organized there, the appeal of patriotic women has not availed to save it to the people as a great relic of the past. The last time I was in it a waiter, busy with a lot of ’longshoremen who were eating their lunch and drinking their beer in the “Long Room,” had hung his dirty apron on a plaster bust of the Father of his Country that stood upon the counter about where he probably sat at the historic feast. My angry remonstrance brought only an uncomprehending stare for reply.
Superintendent C. B. J. Snyder, who builds our Beautiful Schools.
  But in spite of the dullards, the new life I spoke of, the new sense of responsibility of our citizenship, is stirring. The People’s Institute draws nightly audiences to the great hall of the Cooper Institute for the discussion of present problems and social topics—audiences largely made up of workingmen



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