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But so far as I personally was concerned, woman's rights
and woman's suffrage even were not matters of primary importance.
I was much more deeply touched by the problems of poverty,
the sorrows of the world, the neglected individuals, the
neglected groups and the people who didn't get on well in this
great and good civilization. I think I've said - I've written
it certainly - that it's true that as far as I'm concerned
when I read How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis it was like
a new world to me. I followed that with many, many other
things so that I got a literary acquaintance with poverty.
I think it's certainly true that when a book makes
such an impression on someone as Riis' made on me, there is
something in the person's own background that precedes the
understanding of that book. I don't know what was in my background
that led me to that. From a child on I was always
very sensitive to sufferings of people from poverty. There
was a family connected with our church whom my father always
befriended and helped who were very poor. To this day I
don't know why they were poor. It was a sizable family.
Whether the father didn't work, or whether the father was
sick, I don't know. I remember that family. I even remember
the names of some of the children in the family. My mother
was always hustling around to get something for them, either
clothing or a barrel of flour or the rent or a job or something.
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