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TWENTY-SECOND NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CHARITIES

so that the funds of the State and the knowledge of local societies, especially of the Charity Organization Society's registry, can both be brought to bear.

4. The work must be given to local bread-winners who are heads of families, and to no others. Unless the tramp and the loafer are dealt with through some form of labor still less attractive, such as the stone-yard or the wood-pile, they will swamp the best-laid plan of relief by work. The effect of their presence upon laborers is fatal.

5. Old persons or weak or youths should be referred to private relief societies, since the presence of these will deter stronger workers from earnest efforts.

6. The work given must be adequate in amount to prevent families from suffering either hunger or cold; but at the same time it must be really hard work in order to prevent dabbling, and it must be decidedly underpaid in order not to attract those who already have work at half-time or who have otherwise disagreeable work. The whole must be so unattractive as to guarantee that, when other work can be had, the laborer will seek it.

7. Some form of public improvement, as work on parks or roads, grading or light quarrying, can best be undertaken, since it is simple, easily learned, adaptable to different grades of strength, and does not interfere with the market of other laborers.

One proposition stands out strong and clear. It is that, if the municipal or other local authorities have work that must be done at some time, such as park improvement or road-making or public building, it is especially well that this be given through regular contractors or otherwise at the period of hard time. Such work at such times will tend to preserve the normal condition without interfering with the regular course of labor, and where it has been tried, as i Cincinnati, has greatly improved the situation. This is by no mea a concession to the cry of the socialists that the State should sup' work to all who need it. Far from it. This is but using the S1 to aid in preserving social equilibrium, so that the highest individ ism, which includes the individual well-being of the poor as we of the rich, may have free play.

The past depression came upon us unawares, and has b great trial to the principles and methods of charity organizatior ties. They have stood the trial nobly. Let us take courage. the next emergency arrives, we shall be better able to meet i

CHARITY ORGANIZATION

IOL

THE PERMANENT IMPROVEMENT OF

NEIGHBORHOODS.

BY CLARE DE GRAFFENRIED,

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR.

The impression that the deliberations of this Conference have made upon me is that, while great importance is attached to preventive measures, and, above all, to charity organizations and childsaving societies, yet these societies confront effects, and not causes. In order to find the causes, we must seek beyond the province of either one of those bodies. These causes are connected with our national growth, one of them being the rapid increase of urban life through immigration and other sources; and another, the enormous industrial progress on which we justly pride ourselves,

It happens that in the exceptionally fast growth of our towns important features are often neglected. A great industry starts up, and it is absolutely essential that the lab orers should be housed. Dwellings are hastily put up without drainage, without sewerage, without proper conveniences. Labor is even imported from a distance. All this results, in the course of a few years, in unsanitary and congested conditions that cause disease, pauperism, and sometimes crime, which the Charity Organization Society finds itself powerless to control. It seems to me that public sentiment should demand laws to prevent flimsy construction and overcrowding of dwellings, with attendant evils, and that we should not expect private bodies to do what the public ought to undertake. The Charity Organization Society ought not to attempt such measures as the better paving of streets, better drainage, or the introduction of a better water supply. It is true that the Charity Organization Society can mould public opinion; but we are likely to forget that charity organizations and all other societies are but the tools of the individual, which, after all, the individual must wield. We cannot afford to shelter ourselves as individuals behind the shortcomings of the Charity Organization Society or to ignore the responsibility that rests on us personally.

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The central thought of my remarks is best expressed in the title of Charles Reade's novel, “ Put Yourself in his Place"; and I am heretical enough to think that there is as much loving wisdom in that injunction as in “ the law and the prophets.”

If we wish to discover the cause that produces intemperate men and neglected children, we must go to the homes of the poor. We must see their lives, not with our eyes alone, but with our educated intelligence...their toilsome lives of pain. What we need to do is to put ourselves in the place of the bread-winners, and attempt to piece out the workingman's experience with our schooling. We must bring an enlightened intelligence and a big heart to bear upon the limited and toilsome lives of workingmen. It takes a complete and rounded character to know how to meet these great problems of poverty. To be only rich or only learned or only poor is the lot of most men. What we should strive for is to be rich and learned, but something more, and then put ourselves in the place of the poor and ignorant -- not to impose on them the things that we like, but to secure for them the things that they need in the way that they can best accept and assimilate.

The faculty that I find wanting, not only in charity workers, but in social reformers, is the faculty of imagination. If you wish to impress upon people that child-labor is a very bad thing, you may talk, you may argue; and in return you will perhaps hear nothing but the sentimental sophism that the parent needs the earnings of the child. But, if you shall show to those you want to convince some poor, wizened creature that has spent its life in the foul air of the factory, you have an argument that appeals at once to the

A lack of imagination prevails where one least expects it. I happened, not long ago, to be present at a woman's club when some new building laws for the regulation of tenement-construction were read and submitted to the club for its indorsement before being carried to the legislature. Every clause in those laws was of vital importance, not only to the club women, but to the whole popu lation of the crowded city, and, it is safe to say, to generations ye unborn. Every line, every word, should have been challenged by th women present. Those women were, for the time being, the guai ians, the representatives, of the toiling mothers down in the slums. the mothers whose babies, sacrificed to bad air and insanitation, as dear to them as are the darlings of the rich to their parents,

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mothers who must bring up their children under conditions of
which it is hard for the better part of society to conceive. These
mothers, in the tenements with numberless children and lodgers
and friends, must sleep and eat and live in two or three small stuffy
rooms in buildings without any conveniences even for decency; yet
they are expected to bring up their families to lead self-respecting
lives. The club women listened to these laws without comprehend-
ing or caring much for them. Instead of challenging every word,
they spoke flippantly to each other, and twitted each other about
the number of windows in the back buildings of their own luxurious
homes. They could not understand the difference between their
surroundings and the homes of the poor. They were lacking in
imagination.

Better building laws lead directly to that which I consider most
important for the permanent improvement of neighborhoods, namely,
better housing of the poor. Unfortunately, our preventive measures
come too late. We have the bad houses. We encourage the cheap
and flimsy manufacturing towns; and we shall have slums develop-
ing in every business and industrial centre unless the law-makers
understand the danger, and provide safeguards.

As I travel through all parts of the country, I see that almost every small manufacturing town is in great peril from unnecessary and preventable overcrowding. Unfortunately, there is nothing to hinder it. The municipalities seem to exercise no authority in the matter, Lots are divided and subdivided by grasping and ignorant landlords, whom I do not always blame; for rich and educated landlords set the example. They all want to make as much as possible out of the real estate that comes into their possession. Buildings are multiplied on the smallest spaces. Barracks are put up, holding from ten to fifty families, in which as many as possible of the foreign population congregate ; for these foreigners are usually social and gregarious. By getting them together in large numbers, the landlords derive the highest possible revenue. This is a very great danger to health and morals; and it behooves, not only the charity organization and child-saving societies, but the tax-payers, to see that the building laws are improved in time to prevent the growth of ill-constructed tenements, else our remedial measures will come so late that whatever changes are made must be made at vast expense and trouble.

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104

TWENTY-SECOND NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CHARITIES

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Perhaps you do not fully realize that the poor who, for many reasons, are condemned to live in wretched quarters of the town, do not go there from mere choice. Labor is not mobile. The workingman stays where his occupation lies; and, strange as it may seem, it is often a positive disadvantage for a laborer to own his own home. If employment changes, as industries do and will, he loses his position; and most workingmen have not a second trade upon which they can fall back. Trades do not now dovetail into one another.

I am often struck with the inconsistencies of our educational system. We teach our foreigners to read and write; but we neglect to teach these poor and ignorant people the most important of all knowledge that is, how to live. The mother with many babies needs to know how to live, how to keep up and nourish the body, how to have decent surroundings, how to create such a home as makes for virtue and morality.

I speak of all these matters with a certain authority; for not only have I for many years visited and studied the “ slums” in nearly all the large cities of America, but not long ago I made a personal and careful house to house and room to room inspection of the most congested districts in New York and Philadelphia. I visited fourteen hundred tenements, sixteen hundred families, and over seven thousand individuals. The outreaching for better things among many of these persons would surprise you. In homes of the humblest character we occasionally find a model little room, just a poem of neatness and refinement, considering the small resources at the disposal of its inhabitants in the way of decorations to meet their love of art. The poor are not only ambitious, but they are resourceful to a degree that puts many of us to shame.

The chief cause of bad conditions in manufacturing towns visible in them than in larger cities — is absenteeism. The manufacturer to-day seldom lives at the central source of industry from which he draws his wealth. He lives away from it. And, when he does that, the model industrial settlements do not grow up. be sometimes that the builders of these model settlements are selfish; but, at any rate, it is a selfishness that makes for the good of humanity. I was talking lately with a Connecticut manufacturer who has surrounded himself with conditions that are almost ideal. I could not help praising him for many things that he had done.

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