Tenement by Raymond Bial
Immigrant Life on the Lower East Side

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Life on the Lower East Side was bustling. Immigrants from many European countries had come to make a better life for themselves and their families in the United States. But the wages they earned were so low that they could afford only the most basic accommodations—tenements. Unfortunately, there were few laws protecting the residents of tenements, and landlords took advantage of this by allowing the buildings to become cramped and squalid. There was little the tenants could do; their only other choice was the street. Though most immigrants struggled in these buildings, many overcame a difficult start and saw generations after them move on to better apartments, homes, and lives. Raymond Bial reveals the first, challenging step in this process as he leads us on a tour of the sights and sounds of the Lower East Side, guiding us through the dark hallways, staircases, and rooms of the tenements.

About Raymond Bial

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Raymond Bial is an acclaimed photoessayist for children. Four of his books were chosen as Notable Books in the Field of Social Studies by the NCSS. He lives in Urbana, Illinois, with his wife and children.
Published August 26, 2002 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 48 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Children's Books.

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quoting Jacob Riis and other reformers, Bial also presents a substantial historical overview, taking aim at the unsanitary living conditions, the economic oppression (“These immigrants received just $3.75 for every thousand cigars, and, working as hard as possible, an entire family could roll onl...

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Publishers Weekly

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As the title suggests, Bial (The Underground Railroad) focuses this illuminating photoessay on the immigrants who settled on Manhattan's Lower East Side from the early 1800s to the 1930s.

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