Essex Market School ca. 1890, via MCNY
With public schools back in session as of today, let’s remember that it was from the classrooms of New York City that the call for “Equal Pay for Equal Work” was sent thundering around the world.
In 1893, Kate Hogan graduated from NYU Law School with the first class of women allowed to earn JDs. By 1906, she was working as a seventh-grade teacher in Manhattan. At the time, the starting salary for a male teacher in the New York City public schools was $900 per year, but a woman in the same position earned just $600. Seeing no justice in that situation, Hogan founded the Interborough Association of Women Teachers. The Association’s mission and cry: “Equal Pay for Equal Work.”
Image © Reed Young
Most of the reported stories out of NYC’s “inner city” (code for ‘hoods) are tragic ones. We hear about stabbings and shootings and neglected children struggling to survive. We hear of turf wars and rampant addiction and people generally unable to take care of themselves. And it is from these dispatches that certain neighborhoods become notorious, their reputations inflated by our fearful imaginations and general unfamiliarity along with a harsh reality that cannot be denied. To the uninformed, these are dangerous places, war zones, to be avoided at all costs, at least, until the sheriff of gentrification rides into town to dispense safety through the pacifying panacea of increased rents and artisanal pickles.
I like fancy pickles, though the idea of people being forced from their homes is troubling. But this is not a rant against gentrification; it’s a shout out to the “inner city” neighborhoods that may someday get gentrified. More specifically, it’s about the good folks that populate those neighborhoods who manage to hold down the ‘hood and live their lives with dignity in the face of tremendous obstacles.
Andrew shares his experience as a teacher in the hood