Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 185
Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 185
even in such a place. On a corner shelf burned a night lamp before a print of the Mother of God, flanked by two green bottles, which, seen at a certain angle, made quite a festive show.
  Complaint is made that the Italian promotes child labor. His children work at home on “pants” and flowers at an hour when they ought to have been long in bed. Their sore eyes betray the little flower-makers when they come tardily to school. Doubtless there are such cases, and quite too many of them; yet, in the very block which I have spoken of, the investigation conducted for the Gilder Tenement House Commission by the Department of Sociology of Columbia University, under Professor Franklin H. Giddings, discovered, of 196 children of school age, only 23 at work or at home, and in the next block only 27 out of 215. That was the showing of the foreign population all the way through. Of 225 Russian Jewish children only 15 were missing from school, and of 354 little Bohemians only 21. The overcrowding of the schools and their long waiting lists occasionally furnished the explanation why they were not there. Professor Giddings reported, after considering all the evidence: “The foreign-born population of the city is not, to any great extent, forcing children of legal school age into money-earning occupations. On the contrary, this population shows a strong desire to have its children



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