……………. eU … S.A.H.A. Photo These three Latin-American chil, West Side of San Antonio. The picdren sit amidst the litter at the ture is from the files of the San Anfront of their plaster but on the tonio Housing Authority. 4. The Slums Ten in One Room Street. The house was relatively nice looking, but it had been converted into rooms ‘and housed six families, one to a room. The:father of the family of four was a disabled veteran. Their room was the only way to the kitchen and the bathroom,’ so all the other tenants paraded through day and night. Suffering being a relative thing, some of the housing people think such a family may have to bear more humiliation than people accustomed to poverty and communality. 0 UT OF SUCH conditions come infant diarrhea, tuberculosis, prostitution, venereal disease, alcoholism, fatal fires, bitterness, larceny, violence. San Antonio has its quota of these, and then it has some other city’s quota, too. ‘ Last year a city agencycompared two housing areas of roughly the-same total area. They found that for every child who died of infant diarrhea in the non-slum area, five died in the slum. For every person who died of tuberculosis in. the non-slum area, eleven died in the slum. . Police answered seven times as many calls in the slum. There were five times as many juvenile delinquency cases. Slum-dwelling youths cracked up cars eight times as frequently as the youths from the better section of town. For the one person who died .in.’ a fire in the better section, six died in the slum. There were three times as many fires causing more than $1,000 damage in the slum. The same slum acreage contained twice as many dwelling units as the non-slum. Four thousand, 26 percent of the slum houses were overcrowded compared to 250, 1.5 percent, of the non-slum houses. For every house in the good section that was dilapidated or lacked running water, the slum had 33. In many cases, of course, water and sewer lines are available but the slum units are not tied on to them. San Antonio has 1,800 miles of roads, but only 950 are paved. The slums have more than their share of the 600 miles o f .gravel roads and 250 miles of dirt roads, but exact figures are not available. In 1954, San Antonio had a tuberculosis rate of 19.5 per 100,000 and infant diarrhea of 15.2 per 100,000. Both reflect substantial . improvement in recent years as a result of intensive work by the city health department ; but the incidence that persists occurs 90 percent in the slum areas, according to Health Department offiCials. The San Antonio pattern thus confirms the report in U.S. Municipal News in 1945 that while slums make Photo This is sub-standard, even for a privy. San Antonio has about 5,000 open pit toilets within its city limits. The Observer found the five children above alone in this 10’x12′ shack in the middle of a private dttmp on the East Side of San Antonio. Both parents were away \(they work in the San Antonio c;ty up 20 percent Of the nation’s metropolitan residential areas and 33 percent of the urban population, they produce only 6 percent of the municipal tax revenue and consume 40 percent of the municipal budgets. “THERE ARE more than 20 sore spots in the city spots where more than. half the families live in sub-standard houses, in filth and daily humiliation. “Death Triangle,” the Lower West Side, has one-sixth of the city’s area and one-fourth of its infant population but registers 75 percent of the total’ deaths from infant diarrhea. Community water spigots and privies are common. Edgewood, to the far west, is about half without water and almost totally without sewerage. Most residents in ‘Wheatley Heights, the chief East Side Negro slum, now have a water supply, but there is very little plumbing. Sub-standard areas fairly well serviced by sewer and water lines include South San Antonio, central east ,the .area behind Fort Sam Houston. Columbia Heights, in the southwest, has almost no sewer service, and only about one -fourth of its residents have access to a water Olmos Park is an excluSive northside residential section, but there is a slum cancer right in the heart of it. You turn onto Thelma Drive, lined with two-story brick , homes, and by the time you reach the end of the block you’re passing unpainted shacks. Ahousing official who takes members of.the Junior League “slumming” once a year said that next year “I’m gonna call ’em and tell ’em ‘I’ll meet you at your home and take you next door to meet your neighbors.’ ” Mrs. McGuire, a splendid woman -who has fought for urban renewal and slum clearance in Houston and San Antonio, believes people have .a right to “freedom from being forced to live in squalor and gloom.” She told the San Antonio Kiwanis Club this year : “We speak of the slums, we shake our heads, and yet how skillful we are in resisting the full truth .about ourselves’! We christen it quaintness or atmosphere or the Latin touch. .. . We sit back and let the rot spread in oilr home town. We turn in horror from the fact that thousands of children live in worse conditions than domestic animals.” \( Next : Pressures and. progress in THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 4 Sept. 28, 1955 dui -cia, was caring for the four little ones. Two other children were at school. ‘ Inside, there is one double bed, a dresser, a kerosene stove, and a The three Negro met]. above agreed to bepholographed only after the one-in the foreground had extracted 50 cents from the Observer photographer: The house is one of a half dozen in similar condition on San Antonio’s West Side. Staff Photo table. The screen has br -oken away from the window frame at the back of the shack. There is no windowpane. Mary could not say how old she was. Staff Photo Although the West Side is the Latin American center, many Negroes live there, even as the five Latin-American girls in the picture at the top of the page were living in the dominantly Negro East Side.
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