The Southern Recorder was founded by Bishop Henry McNeal Turner in 1888. Associated with the AME Church the paper was “devoted to temperance, religion, justice, industry, economy, education and African civilization.” Below are a few select transcriptions on the topic of temperance:
“The Foulest Blot,” December 3, 1886:
There is no fouler blot in the face of our country today then the grog shop. Honest men who love their homes should hate the saloon as they hate a loathsome disease. There is no reason why the rum seller should be regarded by honest men as any better than a criminal. The temperance movement in this country will make wonderful progress when the rum seller is just where he belongs in the estimation of respectable people. The saloon has no respectability, because it works only to destroy the elements of self-respect. It replaces hope with despair, kills courage, dims manhood and ruins health. It has no right to the respect of man, and he who gives it even the encouragement of silence is an enemy of morality. See to it that no son nor daughter of yours can ever learn from you that the saloon is entitled to anything but their abhorrence.”
“The Evil Effect of Intemperance: No. 1,” Rev A. L. Ridgel, January 13, 1888
“Editor Southern Recorder:-
Intemperance is one of the most baneful curses that predominates over our country. It is the seven headed demon that makes a prey of happy homes, and threatens with vehemence our moral and religious institutions. It prostrate good societies, leaps up in the face of the Christians church and claims her members by the thousands as its own wretched victims. It has even creeped into the ministerial ranks, prostrated many of her ablest divines, and today claims them as its own, well captivated victims.
But, my lord, does it stop here? No, no, no! Like a wild enthusiast, it has leaped upon that fair sex, that should shun its very appearance. What an open shame to humanity, what a blow to the church, and Christian sobriety, I say, what a cloud of disgrace was produced when facts inform us that one third of the women of Atlanta, Georgia, were public advocates of intemperance. Poor Atlanta, does thou not see thine errors? Will thou not burst forth in the language of the weeping prophet, and say, “O that my head was water, and mine eyes of fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain daughters of my people?” What can the women of Atlanta be thinking of, that they want whiskey and voted for it. Don’t you know that you are voting damnation upon the soles of your own dear children that you claim to love, and for whom the God of Heaven holds you responsible for? Where is that love for Humanity that every sane person ought to be in possession of? Where is that care and concern that should glow and burn in the bosom of every father and mother for their children? If we take Atlanta for an example, it is on the wane – with many there is none. Mothers, are just saying, my son, my daughter, my neighbor and neighbor’s children, may all die and fill a drunkard’s grave so far as I am concerned. What have you done that your conscience fails to warn you of your danger?
Poor conscience, I know that thou Hast been bruised, mangled, and murdered, thou Hast been choked down and down, until they are almost afraid to speak. But let us hear thy voice once more on this object? Speak to the world: yes, stir up the nation’s from the lakes to the gulf, and from sea to sea. Oh my God! Dethrone King Alcohol, bring him down and dust and Ashes. Christians commence praying just now?”
“Steam on Both Wheels,” Theodore Cayler, September 25, 1886
“It requires two wheels to propel a ferry boat. If one is clogged, the boat simply revolves in the water without progress. Every cart needs two wheels, and if one is cut off the cart capsizes. Our Temperance reform depends for its success on both legal suppression of dramshops and on moral and religious efforts to dissuade people from drinking liquor. If either wheel is off, the boat capsizes.
Push on the temperance meeting. Push on the temperance literature and every shape. Push on the pledges of entire abstinence. Push on the fight for Prohibition at the same time. Let the steam on both wheels! We want law and love also; persuasion not to drink liquor as well as prohibition of selling liquor. Shutting of saloons is not all; we must smash the jugs also.”
“A Frank Advertiser,” April 1, 1887
“The following, which seems to be the advertisement of a person who keeps a liquor Saloon, we give place in our column, as we believe that any lover of honor and Truth cannot fail to admire the frankness of the advertiser:
Wishing to get a living without working hard, I have leased commodious rooms in Mr. Lovemoney’s block , corner of Ruin street and Perdition lane (next door to the undertaker’s), where I shall manufacture drunkards, poppers, lunatics, beggars, criminals and deadbeats, for sober and industrious men to support. Backed up by the law, I shall add to the number of fatal accidents, diseases, disgraceful quarrels, riots and cold-blooded murders. My liquors are warranted to rob someone of life, many of reason, more of property and all of true peace; to make fathers fiends, wives widows, and children orphans. I shall cause mothers to forget their infants; children to grow up in ignorance; young women to lose their priceless purity; and young men to become loafers, swearers, gamblers, skeptics, and lewd fellows of the basest sort. Lady customers are supplied with beer as good as the best “home brewed,” which will not only intoxicate them, but also make them stupid, slack, lazy, coarse and quarrelsome.
Sunday customers will please enter by the back door.
Boys and girls are the raw material of which I make drunkards, etc. Parents may help me in this work by always sending their children for the “home-brewed article,” and permitting them to loaf in the street at night.
At two hours’ notice I am able to put husbands in a condition to reel home, break the furniture, beat their wives and kick their children out of doors; I shall also fit mechanics to spoil their work, be discharged and become tramps.
If one of my regular customers should decide to reform, I will, for a few pennies, with pleasure, induce him to take just one glass more, or, by offering “free drinks,” tempt him to start again on the road to hell. The money he would spend in bread and other things for his family, will buy luxuries for mine. And then, when his money is gone; I will kick him out, for his money is all I want.
Orders promptly filled for fever, scrofula, consumption, or delirium tremens.
In short, I will do my best to help bring upon my regular customers debt, disgrace, disease, despair and death in this world, and in the next the pangs of the second death.
The above may also be obtained of my high-toned agent, Mr. Frank Deseaver, druggist, corner of Main street and Shoddy avenue, who keeps a full stock of opium, pure liquors, and all the popular cordials, tonics and bitters for medical purposes only.
Having closed my eyes to God’s warning voice (Proverbs xxiii, 20, 21l and xxiiii, 13; Psalms ix, 16, 17; Romans ii., 9), having made contract with hell and sold myself to work iniquity, and having paid for my license, I have a right to bring all the above evils on my friends and neighbors for the sake of gain.
Some have suggested that I display outside the door assorted specimens of my art, but that would blockade the street. Excellent samples of my manufactured wrecks may be seen inside my saloon at almost any time, or at the police station every morning, in the poor house, asylums, and prisons every day, and very frequently on the gallows.
240 Ruin Street, Rum River”