Saturday, May 24, 2003
Minister founded anti-saloon league
On May 24, 1893, the Rev. Howard Hyde Russell founded the Ohio Anti-Saloon League at Oberlin College. It was the first anti-saloon league in the country and would become one of the mainstays of the National Anti-Saloon League established two years later. Russell was the first superintendent of the national organization. Its headquarters were originally in Columbus and moved to Westerville, Ohio, in 1909.
The organization's goals were individual temperance and legal prohibition. The headquarters in Ohio served as the training base for anti-saloon leagues around the country. Russell tightly controlled the league's hierarchy and made it a powerful political force. The organization used fliers, cartoons, song, stories, marches and speeches to educate the public about the movement. It also hired detectives to investigate liquor law enforcement and had lobbyists in Washington.
A major goal was reached with the ratification of the 18th Amendment - prohibition of alcohol - in 1919. It went into effect in 1920 and was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933.
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