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Newspaper Page Text
THE WAVE OF. REFORM AND
By Don MacGregor.
Another "wave of reform" has
struck the city with Committee of
Fifteen's announcement that the
tenderloin once more is wide open.
And the only good thing about this
"wave" is that the committee has
made public the names of the "rich
and respectable" men and women
who make exorbitant profits by
shamelessly renting their property
for purposes of prostitution.
There is much good in that The
prostitute pays a 'terrible price for
her unlocked chastity and she re
ceives little in exchange. The mac
quereau, the madame, the dive sa
loonkeeper, the grafter and the prop
erty owner, they are the ones who
rake in the enormous profits of com
mercialized vice in Chicago for he
usually is "respectable" and "promi
nent and church-going, and some
times even dares to organize cru
sades to hound the women whose
profits he filches.
But, over and above all that, there
is one great reason why all such cru
sades must fail, and fail utterly and
thoroughly, so longas conditions re
main as they are in Chicago today.
Society and that means you and
me is. making prostitutes and gam
blers and thieves today faster than
all the crusades in the woridcaH
stamp them out
Go down into the slums of the
tenement districts and you will, see
what I mean. You cannot help but
See how the children are -forced
out of the hot overcrowded rooms
of the tenements into the city streets
to seek Tecreation!
See how they turn in desperation
from all natural boyish games to
such games as craps. Only yester
day I saw boys who could not have
been over eight years old playing
craps in an alleyway on the West
There is only one result that can
come from that The boy gambler of -the
tenements must steal to get the
money wherewith to gamble. The v
gambler becomes a thief petty E
thieving he begins with, but as he tI
goes on into his teens, the thieving 0
becomes less petty and he becomes ,P
a cog In the great system of the,
underworld. v .
Gambler and thief and then, when h
he has reached what he considers
man's estate, immoral liver and fin
It is as inevitable as the found of
the sun, and the fall of the girls of
the tenement slums marches evenly
with the fall of the boys. !
The girls, too, are" forced but from
the hot stuffy tenements- into the .
crowded, often evil-smelling streets.
Rather than go hack to the hellhole
she calls home, she stays but -later
and later1, breathing thankfully the
first cool breaths of nlghtair.
And so, Bhe is thrown ipto con
tact with the young JhiefiBJid gam
bler and embryo cadet
The rest hardly needs writing of.
The dance halls, with their white
lighted lure and their illegal serving
of strong liquor, a night of frenzy
and passion, and then oblivion.
What right has society to talk
about crusade or waves of reform
as long as it permits these conditions R
to exist? j
What right have you and I to cry v
for the closing of the tenderloin 3
that last refuge of fallen woman- c,
kind so long as we lend our sane- x
tion to the mm that grinds out the
product of the tenderloin? fi
If this were a barbaric age in
which we honestly confessed that j
we believed that the 'battle should be '
to the strong and that only mighty
made right then we might have
some excuse for payingr no attention "
to the crime of the tenements. '
But it is not We profess to be
Christians. We hypocritically cry
that the battle shall not be to the
strong, nor might have anything to -j
do with our conception of right U
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