Jacob Riis describes life in the Tenements (1890)
Speaking of America: Volume II since 1865 by Laura A. Belmonte
During the massive urban migration of the late nineteenth century, slums developed in virtually every major city. Although many cities instituted housing codes and built sanitation facilities, many impoverished neighborhoods remained crowded and dirty. Epidemics of typhoid, smallpox, tuberculosis, and other diseases were routine. In his writings and photographs of New York’s Lower East Side, Jacob Riis alerted millions of Americans to the problems of urban poverty. His book How the Other Half Lives (1890) prompted legislation to improve tenement living conditions.
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