Saturday, August 5, 2017
.....................historical immigration, and suggests some new lines for the President's Senior Advisor. History is a complicated thing. Probably why we don't think too much about it these days.
Acosta repeatedly interrupted Miller, chanting "Give me your tired, your poor...," a line from Emma Lazarus' 1883 sonnet The New Colossus which is engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty. If anything, Miller handled the CNN journalist too gently. He might have said: America had no restrictions to immigration in 1883, and millions of white European immigrants poured into the American heartland. To accommodate them we drove out the Native Americans. By 1890 there were only 250,000 Native Americans left in the United States, compared to 2 million or more before European settlers arrived. In other words, we gave privileges to white people and killed or displaced people of color. You can argue the merits of this policy, but we don't want to return to a situation in which immigration occurs at the expense of people who were here first."
On winter days when she was a child, Jane's grandmother told her, they'd skate on the canal, along twenty miles of it frozen solid near their house. Back in the 1850's, before the railroad finally won out against it, the canal was how you got clean-burning anthracite coal from the mines of central Pennsylvania to big-city markets. It would be loaded on shallow-draft boats, maybe fifteen tons of it at a time, then towed down the canal that ran alongside the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, by mules on the adjacent towpath. A dollar a ton, you could figure, from Wilkes-Barre, in the heart of anthracite country, to Philadelphia. Making the boats, and repairing them, was its own little industry. And since the 1830s a key center of it was Espy, a town of a few hundred drawn out along the north bank of the canal, home to lock tenders and canal maintenance workers, as well as a tannery, a pottery, and a brickyard. From early spring, when the ice melted, until late fall, according to a 1936 memoir, the locals, "set the tempo of their lives to the tireless plodding hoof beats of the mules." Boys in town looked with envy at those their own age driving the mules or else lolling on the decks of passing boats.
-Robert Kanigel, Eyes On The Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs
No need to understand why cities decline, she counseled, only why they prosper: "The most elementary point is the most startling. There are no causes of stagnation. There are no causes of poverty. There are only causes of growth."
-Robert Kanigel, from the Introduction to Eyes On The Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs