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Newspaper Page Text
wliite slave commission's inquiry into
low wages--and the need fdrsuch an
The meeting o'f the league was held
in. Kimball's cafe, 160 JiVest Monroe
street. It' had been called for the
purpose of djawing Tip resolutions
fighting the proposed state law to li
cense prize fighting in-Illinois.
Miss Brooks had been invited to
speak in" the belief that she would
talk against prize-fightings But she
never .mentioned the subject in her
whole speech. ....
"Prize fighting is not so very im
portant," sheysaid, later. "There-is
something efse that is important;
that is bigger and greater than any
thing Illinois has known since the
days pf Abraham Lincoln.
'.'Small things, influence big things.
-What is done in small cities is re
flected in greater cities.
"When we started out' to make
j West Hammond decent, everyone
laughed at us. They said it was just
a. spurt of reform; that it would not
fast; that such movements never did.
"But the election held today Was
the crisis. On it depended whether
or not what people had said 'was
"Two weeks ago, the divekeepers
began flocking back to West Ham
mond to prepare for the election.
They held a mass meeting They
were sure of success.
"But today they -were beaten. The
reformHicket was swept into office,
and that means that West Hammond
is going to stay decent. .....
' "I have learned many lessonsMrom
West Hammond. I have seen trag--edles
there and visions -
"Let me tell you something
The night before , election, a little boy
came to me. He had been crying. I
could see the mark of the tears down
. his grimy face. And he was shiver
ing with fear. - -
"'Miss Brooks,' he said,'1 'there's
- "I went with him down into the
lowest part of the town: :He le8 me
to a' hut a place, half shack"aridlhalf
"I went in ,there with the shivering,
frightened, little boy, and' I found
Death reigning. . . . N "
"The. body of a .woman lay across
a ragged, dirty bedy She; was about
65 years old, and her face' was, lined
deep with sorrow.- And she was dead.
"She '.had been beaten to death by
her husband. And the body was all
bfuised and . .mangled.-. . T . You
could see the bruises plainly by the
light of three candies that -some re-,
ligious person had placed around her
head ' v
"I stood and looked at that -poor,
crumpled, wasted body and I wept.
For I knew the woman's story. And
I knew that she had not been.mur
dered,by her husband, but by society.
"The Jiusband is a drunkard. Most
people say he, is no, good; .that 4ie
ought to be dead. But she never said
that She worked for him;; she slav
ed for him, and every Saturday night
she would search through the saloons
until she, found him And. then
she would lead him, home as if he
were a little .child r
"The day has come when society
must consider these things, and must
1. Xi i.
tatte suuu auuuu aa biw.il pi event x
them. The day has come -'when so
ciety must cdnsider all women, and'
make provislon-for them.
- "An Illinois senate commission to
day is taking up things that no one
dared to, mention a few yearsNago.
It is investigating the. low wages paid
women by -our great merchant pri
ces, our millionaire manufacturers.
"The courage .of the commission
IriS doing so istgreat. For the mem
bers know that Big Business will try
to 'get them'; just, as the -forces of
evil irr West Hammond tried to 'get'
me. The courag-pf that commission
makes it the duty of every decent
man and woman in Illinois to sup-
"I know- the problem of the under
paid girl. I know the fate of the
underpaid girL I.kriqw the starvation