The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 21, 1913, Page 6, Image 6

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The Commoner.
Are Low Wages Entirely to Blame?
Following arc Associated Press dispatches
Soaring upon the rocent revelations that have
utirrod tho country:
Chicago, March 12, Reformers and the tin
reformod lhe vice Investigation commission
and the women for whose moral downfall the
commission is trying to determine the causes
differed today on the relation between low wages
and low morality. Letters received by the com
mission from women of the underworld mocked
at tho work which the members have done.
One of the letters reads:
To tho Commission Girls don't go wrong
because they are hungry or because they need
clothes. They go wrong because they are
tempted by lies and overpowered by the evil
in men.
They listen to the fair and pretty things that
men tell them, and they fall because they think
they can trust theniBelves and trust the
tempters.- Tho employer J was a good girl
and 1 worked in a store.
I didn't get much money, but that did not
matter. 1 lived on $8 a week and would be liv
ing like that now, but J met men. They seemed
to consider me their prey and all the time it
was fight light. They wanted to be nice to
me, they said, and take me to the theaters and
treat mo fair and give me a chance to enjoy
I didn't know men were bad, all bad where
a girl is concerned. 1 thought only women were
bad. I thought all a girl had to do to remain
good was to bo truthful with herself. God pity
women who think that and who keep their
truBt in men until it is too late.
Every day it was someone else always smil
ing at me, always trying to give me a "fair
chance" to be happy, in the street they fol
lowed me. These I could avoid but the
friends" who hung around!
That is the big, big secret of the thing that
makes a good girl bad. If they had let me be
-if they had only left me be only let me live
as I wanted to, 1 would not have to slink into
the room when your commission was trying to
solve things and wouldn't have had to sit in
a corner with a veil down, afraid to look good
women in tho face.
Another cry from the underworld echoed the
words of the first leltter. It was more bitter,
though, and it read in part:
You're looking for the things that made such
women as I. Low wages! Dance halls! Hun
ger! Cold! They all helped a bit, but they
did not turn tho trick themselves,
i T0?,'1"0 J? a ,bunch of hypocrites, afraid to
too truth faC and afmid t0 learn
I don't know any girls who sold themselves
for money to buy bread or clothes, but I do
know lots of us who hit the road for hell be-
2m!0 l0t b,keuardB kept hounding us
with their rotten "attentions." God help the
men and not us. We're all right when we
start all we need is to be left alone. There
are hundreds and hundreds of kids and sports
who hang around State street and wait like
wolves for the tired girls to leave the stores
Why don't you make the men be good' All
the wages in the world won't help us. 'Make
he men good and the girls will be good. Now
they haven't got a chance and they never will
atother" tUe laW SmUeS at ne and Bpits a"
"LThM"leUer WaB 8lgUed With tue initialS
While these comments on the situation con
tinued to pour in, tho civic consciousness awak
ened by the commission bestirred itself in tho
launching of committees and private investi
gating forces. lavesii-
In some stores numbers of girls approached
their employers and demanded larger salaries
All wore assured that they would be token
care of as soon as something definite has been
agreed upon. Several resignations were ten
der by girl employes as a result of Cental
A mass meeting for tho discussion of "a Hv
ing wago and a Saturday half hoUriw
scheduled by the Juvenile P?oe ive "assoch
tion, the consumers' league and tli 5? ,
trade union for next Friday night women a
Milwaukee, Wis., March 12.-1 Special- a
pressed by the soclaT seno 'comfi'o?
Milwaukee federation of charities in a report
made public today. The committee urges young
women who expect to support themselves to
keep away from the city unless they have an
assured income of at least $9 a week, domestic
servants excepted.
Springfield, 111., March 12. A conference of
governors to discuss the suppression of vice and
the amelioration of the conditions of working
girls promises to be one of the early results
of the "white slave" investigation in Illinois.
The conference was suggested tonight by
Governor Dunne, and Lieutenant Governor
O'Hara', chairman of the "white Blave" investi
gating committee, will communicate at once
with the governors of the states, suggesting a
general conference at Springfield at an early
Announcement was made today that the
"white slave" committee would start on its
eastern trip March 20. The itinerary includes
Albany, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore
and Washington. At Washington the com
mittee expects to lay its findings before Presi
dent Wilson, Speaker Champ Clark, Vice Presi
dent Marshall and others.
Some of the results of the investigation in
Illinois of the "vice and wages" question are
given in the following showings:
White slavery presents a hundred times
greater national crisis than did black slavery.
Thousands of good girls are going wrong
simply because they can not live upon the
wages paid them by employers.
American womanhood is in grave peril only
because American manhood profits from the
helplessness of womanhood to enrich itself
The crisis is not confined to Illinois, 'it is
niJS??1, ,?drand Beall breaking down com
pletely in the investigation, announces that he
Sp1 S?rn ?rry Penny of hIs fortune t0 save
them Piteous menaces that surround
Lieutenant Governor Barrett O'Hara, who
Jlbene;,a Iea(ler ln thIs investigation has wired
low?: ag NeW York Herald as fo1"
To tho Editor of the Herald: Our investi
gation into the causes and effect of white slavery
ands ofSiha? ,8bown concluely that SoS
ands of good girls are going wrong every vear
merely because they can not live upon th wales
paid them by employers. wages
The conditions revealed to our commissi
save American womanhood from th. l
menaces that our investhrntionT,- , piteoua
stantly surrounds estisaUon b shown con-
SS5SA H?5"
haUrocivll10. fUr ye- "'he
theSe" Tn0? T "
gated this matter sairetv e bave vesti
have tried t le .the sunhf inServatively' We
and to spare lndiv dua Wo w condion
all witnesses exact wi ,aV.e accrded to
And at theenTof our" ho sXrCUrte8y
appalled, stunned, horrified r We aro
and "mSSX1 e peril solely
from the helpSest o manhood profits
itself. There is no "f?L ma,nnood to enrich
rived It 1r n ? othei: condusion to be de
faced now and baldly"11 8hame' but lt Etdb8
noea'to do XmSE fc0'8
tion of white s?avlrV ra th?78Lg,?e the ques
tho buying and selfing JfSn a&plied to
forced soon, however, to realize tw iWe were
were the real fnniUmJnY that low ages
slavery, IndXt to sSSSffe Serf aS
So apZSVnd fe 5 MSS
'used to he parses Lltt lTvZVtt
Illinois, which took the lead in the final snin
tion of black slavery, stand Jteck of us lovaiiv
and the work will go on regardless of whom Z
where it strike!. om or
Our merchant princes and our kings of maun
facture, the very people who have been the wit
nesses before our commission, admit that the
must be a readjustment of wages. To a man
they have entered into sincere and earnest en
operation with us.
The crisis is not confined to Illinois. It is na
tional. Unquestionably the conditions in your
state are no better than in our state, and Illinois
asks the great state of New York to stand sido
by side with hr as she did so valiantly in the
civil war; this time to loosen the chains of
bondage from every American woman who is
now a white slave or is thus imperilled by low
wages. For this, our commission purposes to
visit your state within the next two weeks.
When Henry W. Grady was hesitatine
whether to remain on a New York paper or to
return to Georgia, he decided to go home be
cause nobody in the apartment in which he
lived could tell him about the baby whose little
white coffin was carried side by side with him
uZu11 ,th steP8 of the adjoining apartment.
The inhumanity of cities" overwhelmed him
How many of us have had a similar experience?
In one of the large apartment houses in which
I have- lived on the West Side, my front door
when it swung open touched the front door of
my next door neighbor, divided from me only
by a thin wall of less than half a foot. One
morning on going out I met a pleasant-faced
man emerging from this door. We exchanged
tho casual salutation of housemates. This we
repeated on several subsequent occasions, in a
casual way. I never knew his name.
One morning, about six weeks later, I asked
the elevator boy what had become of the man.
?t,dl5d two weeks aS" was the response,
and his body was taken out after nightfall and
carried to the cemetery."
Here was this man who by every law of life
and every creed of Christianity was my neigh-bobr--my
nearest neighbor. I could almost
hear him breathe at night through the inter
vening wall.
And yet, he had sickened, he had suffered, he
cad gone through the agony or travail of death.
ie had been carried out in his midnight casket
to the grave and his family had come back to
tne anguish and desolation of an unspeakable
And I who was "this man's neighbor" had
neither ministered to his suffering in life, stood
J2L?xm ? lhe hour and article of death, nor
comiorted the crowning sorrow of those who
we b2? t0 hls brken and desolate home
inL7 n a f00t' of the uht and love and
gwer 0f,my own because in the rush of
our big world I did not know.
1 nave never gotten over that incident. I
never will. Something ought to be done about
it. if something could be done.
nJl pay a fierce PrIce fr the joy of cities.
;nrtomfanyr,Pe0ple make ono Person unim
S?,?!; Gea crowds dwarf and minify in
dividuals. In the multitudes wo forget each
other too often in life and in death.
wnen a man dies among two or three in a
ivv i?0,mJn,ty' tt Is a tragedy It darkens the
rPvprlL ad07u the spirit' Jt b0s the head in
T? 5 and humilitv ad sympathy.
imi S?e n ?e ,dIes amns five millions, the
cioJpifS? made,Vy the PassinS of the atom
f u ? ? s quickly from the mighty mass that
iLfi ailicult t0 remember that the atom ever
lived or even died.
nof mnoWfCh J 1ame to say that the cities aTe
who rt r,f a Placo for old people or people
lifn nnS 0They should find a softer and simpler
lmS- arrlfafqUlet,er place in which to enact the
vigorusldiff t0 Hve in a great city a11 1U)'
llt VminH 1IkG t0 grW ld aild diS iD tllG
comn to ?7 Wn where th neighbors would
mokinlSC f,fter,me In tho last days, follow
Sid PnmiJ0 ,th.e cllurchya, when I was gone,
fort me, back -lor a little tender touch of com
fort to those who were left behind.
mnri ,Ln K T,elJ now and then to halt this
breStiSfJ Sf Uvinff' and Sive space to a little
thMwht5?0oOfTCharity and tenderness for
New r? die?-7Jonn Temple Graves, in the
JNew York American.
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