CWRU Links

BAPTIST BROTHERHOOD

The BAPTIST BROTHERHOOD was active in Progressive Era moral reform efforts, with its most substantial work directed toward stopping Sunday liquor sales. In 1911 a mass meeting of Baptists at the Euclid Ave. Baptist Church decided to wage an all-out war against drinking and vice. During that year over 200 Brothers visited 1630 of the 1950 saloons in Cleveland and found 1534 of them open on Sunday Sabbath. The group founded a legal committee to offer advice on the proper course of action, which proved to be to support Sunday closing laws. After considerable lobbying, the Ohio legislature passed a law in Feb. 1913 prohibiting Sunday liquor. The Retail Liquor Dealer League announced that it would obey the law after its effective date in Nov. 1913 but encouraged its members to remain open in the interim. The Brotherhood, however, desired immediate compliance and sent out teams of brethren to visit saloons and report violations. Since the action of the Brotherhood got support from the Cleveland Federation of Churches and many civic groups, saloon keepers bowed to the pressure and by April 1913, closed on Sunday. Over 51 were charged as violators during the Baptist crusade. The Brotherhood, which was listed in the City Directory only in 1912, was housed at 1234 Scofield Bldg., an address shared with the Baptist City Mission Society.