In Indiana, There Is No Beer

Feb. 14-26, 1907
Los Angeles

The Rev. Ervin S. Chapman, a Presbyterian minister who heads the Anti-Saloon League of California, has won a victory through an address that persuaded an Indiana judge to rule that saloons are unconstitutional.

Chapman concluded his series of points by saying:

Our national Supreme Court, in decisions which it has rendered, has designated the liquor traffic as mala in se [wrong in itself] by characterizing it as

Harmful to material prosperity.
Injurious to life.
Destructive of manhood.
Disastrous to peace and happiness.
Fatal to morals and.
Productive of crime and misery.

That court having thus characterized the liquor traffic will surely declare that traffic mala in se and hence unlawful and incapable of being granted legislative standing or protection by any branch of civil government either national or local.

Whenever the public mind has become sufficiently enlightened and the public conscience sufficiently quickened to justify and make effective such a decision our national Supreme Court, which has always led public sentiment respecting this question, will place its brand of outlawry upon that traffic which McKinley characterized “as the most degrading and ruinous of all human pursuits.â€Â

Los Angeles saloonkeepers shrugged their shoulders and said they believed the ruling would have no effect on them.

The Times quoted one bartender: “ ‘Stop saloons unt drinking!’ one barkeeper screamed in astonishment. ‘Go vay. You might as well try to stop kissing.’ â€Â

Chapman died in 1921, two years after the passage of the Volstead Act.

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Alcoholiquality During Fiesta

May 6, 1907
Los Angeles

The rough-necked gentry of the Seventh Ward are known for the signs in their saloon windows that read “No Colored Persons Served Here” or just “No coons wanted.” When the City Council decided to abolish race discrimination during Fiesta, the removal of these signs was of primary importance, so the powers that be got to work on the matter without the usual requisite public discussion. This made those in the bartending profession feel persecuted, and the number of these signs, especially in the many bars along East Main Street, greatly multiplied.

In response, black leaders began organizing “runs” on various white bars, wherein black patrons would mob selected establishments as an example and warning. One of our trademark race riots seemed imminent. Luckily, instead, black delegates from the Sixth and Seventh wards mobbed City Hall, where Mayor Harper and City Attorney pushed through an official legal ordinance banning race discrimination and making the signs unlawful.

Theaters, of course, remain segregated.