Other half lives essay

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With this new government department in place as well as Jacob Riis and his band of citizen reformers pitching in, new construction went up, streets were cleaned, windows were carved into existing buildings, parks and playgrounds were created, substandard homeless shelters were shuttered, and on and on and on.

While New York's tenement problem certainly didn't end there and while we can't attribute all of the reforms above to Jacob Riis and How the Other Half Lives , few works of photography have had such a clear-cut impact on the world. It's little surprise that Roosevelt once said that he was tempted to call Riis "the best American I ever knew. Then, see what life was like inside the slums inhabited by New York's immigrants around the turn of the 20th century.

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By John Kuroski. Like this gallery? Share it: Share Tweet Email. A young girl, holding a baby, sits in a doorway next to a garbage can.

How The Other Half Lives Summary

Circa An Italian immigrant man smokes a pipe in his makeshift home under the Rivington Street Dump. Men stand in an alley known as "Bandit's Roost. Street children sleep near a grate for warmth on Mulberry Street. A boy and several men pause from their work inside a sweatshop.

A Thorough Look at Half-Life

Members of the infamous "Short Tail" gang sit under the pier at Jackson Street. Two poor child laborers sleep inside the building belonging to the Sun newspaper, for which they worked as newsboys. A squatter in the basement on Ludlow Street where he reportedly stayed for four years.

Inside an English family's home on West 28th Street. Lodgers rest in a crowded Bayard Street tenement that rents rooms for five cents a night and holds 12 people in a room just 13 feet long. Guns, knives, clubs, brass knuckles, and other weapons, that had been confiscated from residents in a city lodging house. An Italian rag picker sits inside her home on Jersey Street.

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How The Other Half Lives Summary

Children attend class at the Essex Market school. A man sorts through trash in a makeshift home under the 47th Street dump. Members of the Growler Gang demonstrate how they steal. Children stand in Mullen's Alley. Workers toil in a sweatshop inside a Ludlow Street tenement. Inside a "dive" on Broome Street.

Riis often photographed the decrepit conditions of the tenements.

Lodgers sit on the floor of the Oak Street police station. Rag pickers in Baxter Alley. These jobs and the way of life he led while looking for his niche in the world, opened Riis ' eyes to the poverty of the working…. Is he conscious…. Jacob Riis was one of these immigrants, he came to the United States in from Denmark. He was successful in carpentry, until people stole from him.


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As a result of the numerous thefts he eventually quit carpentry and took a job at the New York Tribune. Which, in turn, helped him become an author after some time. In Americans were shocked by a bold new book that made known the plights of the lower class. The book was called How the Other Half Lives.


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People were awe-struck…. How the the other half lives written by Jacob Riis provides a very conflicted but rational scene upon which the development and state of living conditions were on the lower east side in the 19th century. Riis provided photographs of the streets, people, and tenement apartments he encountered, using black and white slides to coincide the text, his powerful images brought public attention to urban conditions giving us a visual understanding of his writing upon how the lower class lived.

Danish immigrant and New York City police reporter Jacob Riis took advantage of the camera and flashlight powder known as Blitzlichtpulver. Using this substance, Riis found he could create a harsh form of artificial light which would allow him to photograph in places never before seen by the average American. An avid voice for housing reform, Riis took this new photography style to the tenement districts of New York City. Riis spent his time going from building to building in areas heavily…. Riis, an immigrant, police reporter, photojournalist and most importantly: a pioneer and social reformer, tells a very captivating yet appalling experience of the lower class life in New York….

There was never a rich baby left out on the streets, only those who came from an extremely poor mother. Most babies come from the East where their mothers were not married and had no name other than their own to bestow upon the baby. In most cases, mothers would only wrap the innocent babies in newspaper. In rare occasions, they were some found in a clean slip and a little message pinned onto their diaper. The messages would be a note for…. Racism started to have its biggest impact on the construction of economic class during plantation slavery, in which labor and land encouraged wealth and power as well as oppression to the slaves.

The oppression of blacks by whites and whites defining themselves as white and in power began the construction of a dominant race, one in which individuals oppress others and build their own worth. As long as whites continued…. Essays Essays FlashCards. Browse Essays. Home Page Essay on Jacob A. Riis' How the Other Half Lives. Essay on Jacob A. Show More. He took at look at all the ways the poor lived in New York from their homes to their back alleys. Brief commentary was written and good photographs were taken.

Riis talked about the places they lived in from very poor lighted attics to nothing at all basements. Riis showed us the life this people lived and a time period in America that should never be forgotten.