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Settlement Houses

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Elina Berglund

on 1 June 2010

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Transcript of Settlement Houses

What were they?
Settlement houses were establishments that provided social services to the urban poor during the Progressive era.
Redefined poverty:
Rather than focusing on financial aid to individuals, they served the social and economic problems of the neighborhoods they were located in. Settlement Houses
Elina Berglund to what extent were they successful? Goals: Settlement houses sought to eradicate the conditions that underlay the slums To do so, reformers formed settlement houses in the slums and went to live in them to experience the problems they were trying to solve Relations Residence Research Reform Problem: identified the background of everyone living in nearby vicinity countless investigations
collecting and compiling solid data on conditions in the neighborhoods
to understand the problems and spir public and government intervention Hull House Maps and Papers a study of housing, employment and wages prompted other settlements to survey their neighborhoods Problems immigration: 200,000 immigrants/year were pouring into the cities By 1900, 4/5 of NYC's population was foreign born had different backgrounds, religions, and languages discrimination was rampant flight to suburbia fragmented and stratified society developed as the middle class moved farther out to the suburbs while the immigrants and working class poured into the cities created the slums Goal: sought to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, the native born and the immigrant Solution: assimilation: taught immigrants American history and the English language, but also encouraged them to preserve their own heritage mingling of the middle and working class enlightened the affluent uplifted the deprived bridged the social chasm dividing urban America politics as settlment house residents learned more about their communities, they propsed changes in local government and lobbied for legislation on social and economic problems child and women's labor laws, public libraries, parkss, playgrounds, schools, juvenile reformatories, etc sponsored reform candidates to run against local political bosses and became virtual "think tanks" for reform initiatives served as local forums for debating and disseminating political issues Between 1860 and 1910, the number of people living in American cities increased sevenfold Lured by economic promises, the new dwellers were mainly lower class Formed slums and tennements crowded filthy unsanitary cities stank dumped wastes into nearest body of water and then drew drinking water from the same site Solution: sought not only to improve living conditions, but also to bring education, culture, and hope to the cities culture: education: art exhibits sunday concerts elementary english classes Lectures on ethics, courses in cooking, sewing, and other manual skills reading rooms childcare and kindergarten medical aid: infant welfare clinics free medical dispensaries Bath houses and showers Public health clinics 1890: Manhattan Island had a population density of 334,000 people per square mile hope: political reform research social tensions Settlement house workers identified the background of everyone living in the area's vicinity also conducted countless investigations, collecting and compiling solid data on conditions in the neighborhoods to understand problems and spur public and government intervention as settlement house residents learned more about their communities, they proposed changes in local government and lobbied for state and federal legislation on social and economic problems better schools, parks, playgrounds, public libraries, child and women's labor laws, etc sponsored reform candidates to run against local political bosses and became virtual "think tanks" for reform initiatives served as local forums for debating and disseminating political issues recreation education elementary English classes lecutres on ethics and art, courses in cooking, sewing, and other manual skills reading rooms and libraries childcare and kidergarten culture music rooms art exhibits sunday concerts hope literacy rates increased in order to eliminate the horrors of the slum, settlement houses tended to focus on five major issues: immigrants Problems: poured into cities at a rate of 200,000/year their religions, languages, dress, etc were alien to xenophobic Americans discrimination was widespread suburbia a fragmented and stratified society developed as the middle class moved farther out to the suburbs while immigrants and the working class took over the cities Settlement houses hoped to bridge the socioeconomic gap between the rich and the poor, the native born and the immigrant therefore, they... taught immigrants American history and the English language engaged in the mingling of the middle and working classes
enlightened the affluent
uplifted the deprived
generally bridged the social chasm dividing urban America the transportation revolution led to a rush to the suburbs tensions ran high HOWEVER,
Did this really eliminate the problem? NO. once again, only a fraction of society was affected furthermore, immigrants tended to detest the reformers who told them how to live their lives tried to change, rather than aid, and thus people were reluctant to call on them for help most settlements tended to exclude African Americans as a result, racial hostilities increased For example, "The Hull House Papers and Maps"
was a study of housing, employment and wages people were comforted by the fact that reformers were trying to help them sanitation Problems: Between 1860 and 1910, the number of people living in cities increased sevenfold lured by economic promises,
most newcomers tended to be
of the lower class settled in unsanitary and overcrowded
slums and tenements By 1900, 4/5 of NYC's population was foreign born By 1900, Manhattan Island had a population density of 334,000 people per square mile HOWEVER,
Did this really eliminate the problem? No. settlement houses touched only a fraction of the millions of people living in the slums Hull House, one of the most popular settlement houses, attracted 2,000 visitors a week, just a fraction of the 70,000 people living within a six-block radius Moreover, they did not eradicate the problems slums remained overcrowded, filthy, and disease ridden despite the addition of a few health centers greater than that of Bombay, India! settlement houses provided for: infant welfare clinics and free medical dispensaries bath houses and showers public health clinics inadequate sewage disposal and drinking water disease was rampant
prevented settlement houses from significantly influencing slum life settlement houses lessened, but did not cure, the ills of the slum Thus, slum inhabitants were becoming more politically involved. HOWEVER, failed to get government directly involved, and as a result, the problems that underlay the slum remained intact once again, failed to address the key problems BUT.... the ills of the slums were becoming increasingly well known, but reformers failed to act on this fame immigration increased as well THUS.... Accomplishments improved sanitation, increased political clout, conducted valuable research, lessened social tensions, and improved slum recreation YET: faced much opposition and managed to reach only a portion of the urban population

FAILED to address their goal: to eradicate the conditions that underlay the slums
poverty, violence, and disease remained widespread slums lacked political representation crime, homocide, gangs, alcoholism, and suicide were widespread in the slums high rates of infant mortality, a declining fertility rate, and high death rates arose IN CONCLUSION Bibliography: "The Influence of Toynbee Hall and the People's Palace." Welcome to UIC. 15 May 2010. <http://tigger.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/urbanexp/main.cgi?file=new/show_doc.ptt&doc=816&chap=6>.

Jaycox, Faith. The Progressive Era. New York: Facts On File, 2005.

Schlereth, Thomas J. Victorian America: Transformations in Everyday Life, 1876-1915. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1991.

"Settlement Houses." Encyclopedia of Chicago. Web. 15 May 2010. <http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1135.html>.

Smith, Page. The Rise of Industrial America: a People's History of the Post-Reconstruction Era. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1984.
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