Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 409
Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 409
hallowed tradition, educational or otherwise. But is it that? And why is it? It would be so much easier to make the school the people’s hall and the boys’ club, if those seats could be moved around in human fashion; they might come naturally into human shape in the doing of it. But, as I said, I wouldn’t for the world—not for the world. Only, why is the deadline hallowed?
  I am willing to leave it to the Board. We are singularly fortunate in having just now a mayor who will listen, a Board of Education that will act, and a superintendent of school buildings who can and will build schools to meet neighborhood needs—if we will make them plain. The last time I dropped into his office I found him busy, between tiffs with contractors, sketching an underground story for the schoolhouse, like the great hall of the Cooper Institute, that should at the same time serve the purpose of an assembly hall, and put the roof garden one story nearer the street. That was his answer to the cry of elevators. “We do not need municipal boys’ club houses,” said Mayor Low in vetoing the bill to build them last winter, “we have the schools.” True! Then let us have them used, and if the classroom is not the best kind of place for them, the experience of the settlements will show us what kind is. They carry on no end of such clubs. And let the Board of Education trustily leave the rest to



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