Exhibition Talk: Jacob A. Riis, Beyond “How the Other Half Lives”
Curator Bonnie Yochelson will give a talk on the exhibit Jacob A Riis: How the Other Half Lives in conjunction with its opening. When Jacob A. Riis arrived in New York in 1870, he was a penniless Danish immigrant. When he died in 1914, he was a national spokesman advocating tolerance for arriving immigrants and promoting programs to address the growing urban crisis in housing, education and public health. Today, he is best known for his first book, How the Other Half Lives, which from today’s perspective, is problematic. We can better assess Riis’s achievement as a social justice warrior by placing his landmark book within the arc of Riis’s life and career.