Download Jacob Riis: Reporter and Reformer (Oxford Portraits) by Janet B. Pascal PDF

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By Janet B. Pascal

Jacob Riis (1849-1914) was once born in Denmark and emigrated to the USA on the age of 21. After a number of years of poverty, he came upon paintings as a police reporter, which took him into the worst of latest York's ghettos and tenements. Appalled by means of the stipulations he chanced on there, he started to use the primitive new flash know-how to picture the darkish locations that had by no means prior to been so graphically uncovered. The ensuing ebook, How the opposite part Lives, delivered to existence a complete reform move. Riis was once a staunch best friend within the younger Theodore Roosevelt's conflict to reform the recent York police, breaking the brutal approach of corruption and graft that had avoided the potential of any genuine switch in negative neighborhoods. Riis's activism concerned him in such very important present controversies as hostility towards immigration, the growing to be gulf among wealthy and negative, the relative significance of heredity and atmosphere, the necessity for sufficient public colleges, conflicts among social reform and private freedom, and police brutality. yet even as, his lifestyles increases a few thought-provoking ethical questions, simply because his compassion was once mistaken via an underlying prejudice; his writings are marred by way of a transparent underlying conviction of the prevalence of white Protestants, and he speaks with condescension and coffee scorn of alternative races and religions. He remained an lively reformer all his lifestyles, founding a payment condominium, writing a number of extra books, so much significantly the kids of the negative, and preserving a taxing time table of lecture excursions. This biography features a photograph essay of Riis' photos in addition to, 35 black-and-white illustrations, a chronology, additional interpreting, and an index.

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Additional info for Jacob Riis: Reporter and Reformer (Oxford Portraits)

Example text

34 autobiography, when he asked for work he was told, “Work! We don’t work here. ” Eventually he drifted into work as a traveling salesman, spending the next year or so selling furniture and then clothes irons. Although he was a persuasive salesman, these ventures proved financially disastrous. The furniture manufacturer accidentally provided him with a listing that gave prices much lower than it could honor. Although he made many sales at these unrealistic prices, he ended up earning not the $450 he expected, but only 75¢.

He is one of them. He does not want to reform them; far from it. . The reformer comes to them from another world . . and goes his way. The boss lives among them. He helped John to a job on the pipes in their hard winter, and got Mike on the [police] force. They know him as a good neighbor, and trust him to their harm. Under such a system a man who refused to sell his opinions in return for official favors found it very difficult to get anything done. This system was so foreign to the idealistic and honest Jacob Riis as to be almost incomprehensible.

But we had the best team in town, and soon lost them. 55 J ACOB R IIS Strangely, Riis and Wells seem to have had little idea what was going on. They wandered into the middle of this conflict and began to set up suspicious apparatus—a large sheet that looked like a possible signal flag, and a powerful generator of some sort—at the foot of a bridge where the strikers were gathered on one side and the police deputies on the other. Although they protested that they were just setting up a peaceful advertising show, they were, not surprisingly, ordered out of town.

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