House with 100 Lights
New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1971. First Edition. Hardcover with dust jacket. Item #4746
Octavo (6 1/2 x 8 1/2 in). Near Fine: some shelf wear with rubbed edges.
This book is an extremely heartbreaking and honest documentation of the danger and poverty in New York City in the early seventies told by fourth graders. Clifford D. McElroy Jr. is a native New Yorker, Colombia University graduate and elementary school teacher at a public school on the Upper West Side. Interested in creative writing, he gave a class assignment to his students to write about their block. The result from this assignment was a series of statements that revealed the everyday problems that these children had to face. Many described the pitch-black hallways which made them feel unsafe and the effect of drug addiction on their families and friends. These statements are paired with black and white images taken by female photographer Bonnie D. Unsworth. These images captured young African American children playing on piles of building debris and unkept sidewalks filled with litter and syringes.
As said by McElroy Jr., "young and full of vitality, they are still able to think in terms of a better future and to envision themselves as playing a major role in promoting some badly needed changes."