Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 399
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 399
 
us, and we see now that with the old machinery it does not supply it and never can. “I can reach the people of just about two blocks about me here,” said this same head worker of the same settlement to me an evening or two ago, “and that is all.” But there are hundreds of blocks filled with hungry minds and souls. A hundred settlements would be needed where there is one.
  The churches could not meet the need. They ought to and some day they will, when we build the church downtown and the mission uptown. But now they can’t. There are not enough of them, for one thing. They do try; for only the other day, when I went to tell the Methodist ministers of it, and of how they ought to back up the effort to have the public school thrown open on Sundays for concerts, lectures, and the like, after the first shock of surprise they pulled themselves together manfully and said that they would do it. They saw with me that it is a question, not of damaging the Lord’s Day, but of wresting it from the devil, who has had it all this while over there on the East Side, and on the West Side too. All along the swarming streets with no church in sight, but a saloon on every corner, stand the big schoolhouses with their spacious halls, empty and silent and grim, waiting to have the soul breathed into them that alone can make their teaching effective for good

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