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(title page) Why North Carolina Voted Dry
(subtitle) Read before a Convention of the United Dry Forces in Greensboro, January 16, 1934
Frances Renfrow Doak
Raleigh, N. C.
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[Title Page Image]
Read before a Convention of the United Dry
Forces in Greensboro, January 16, 1934
The following account of the campaign against repeal of the eighteenth Amendment in North Carolina was prepared by Mrs. Charles G. Doak, of Raleigh, who served as Executive Secretary of the United Dry Forces during the campaign. It was read by her before a convention of Drys in Greensboro on January 16th, 1934, and the convention voted unanimously that it be published in pamphlet form for distribution. On account of Mrs. Doak's official position and her unflagging attention to every detail of the campaign, she was able to prepare this report with clearness and accuracy.
UNITED DRY FORCES,
Raleigh, N. C.
By FRANCES RENFROW DOAK
NORTH CAROLINA cast a landslide vote against repeal of the 18th Amendment because there are and have been for twenty-five years more Drys than Wets in the State. So certain was everyone of this fact that, during all these years, no Wet candidate had been elected to high office, and few had announced themselves as Wet, until the Democratic primaries for United States Senator in 1932, when Robert R. Reynolds entered a four-cornered race, declaring himself "in favor of repeal and real temperance." On account of a combination of unusual conditions that need not be discussed here, but are well known to all students of politics in North Carolina, and the fact that the Drys did not believe that anybody could win against the then incumbent, and therefore did not bestir themselves as they otherwise would have done, Mr. Reynolds won the nomination. In the landslide for the Democratic ticket that fall, he was elected. Immediately the Wets interpreted this as evidence that the State was ready to repudiate prohibition. The 1933 General Assembly became a battle-ground upon which preliminary skirmishes began, preparatory to the real battle in the summer and fall of that year.
Early during the session of the Assembly, Justice Heriot Clarkson, who had throughout a long public career planned, worked, and achieved in the dry cause, sensing the danger to that cause, called a number of Dry leaders together, among them the officers of the Anti-Saloon League and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, church and political leaders, and an organization was hastily set up through which the Drys might work during the Legislature. Justice Clarkson suggested the name "United Dry Forces," and this was adopted. Dr. William Louis Poteat, President Emeritus of Wake Forest College, was elected president, and Mr. Lex Kluttz secretary. This organization sent out appeals over the State to temperance workers and mustered them for action against repeal of the State's prohibition enforcement law, the Turlington Act. This Act was sustained by a vote of 65 to 33. A bill to repeal the Drug Store Act was killed in committee. The fight against legalization of beer was lost. It was sought to have the proposed election on the repeal issue held at the general election of 1934, in conformity with the North Carolina constitutional law
that such matters must be voted on in general elections. Upon submission of two bills to the Supreme Court, that Court ruled unanimously that the bill submitting the issue to the general election was constitutional, and declared by a vote of three to two that the bill submitting it to a special election was unconstitutional; whereupon the sponsors of the bill struck out the word "special" and substituted therefor the word "general." The Court by a vote of four to one declared the election to be a "general" election, and the bill was adopted. In order that the Drys might have an opportunity to get out their vote, Senators Waynick and MacLean insisted that the election should be held in the fall, and the date was set for November 7, 1934.
Shortly after adjournment of the Legislature, early in May, the United Dry Forces met in Raleigh at the call of the president, Dr. Poteat, and voted to continue the organization intact for the purpose of conducting a vigorous campaign not only to poll North Carolina's vote against repeal, but to have that vote reveal her unchanged conviction about prohibition as a State policy. At this meeting an executive committee composed of the following citizens was elected: W. L. Poteat, chairman, Paul J. Barringer, Mrs. T. W. Bickett, George J. Burnett, Francis O. Clarkson, Bruce Craven, Mrs. Charles G. Doak, N. E. Edgerton, J. S. Farmer, Clifford Frazier, James A. Hartness, Mrs. J. M. Hobgood, John D. Langston, Mrs. W. B. Lindsay, Dr. R. L. Moore, Dr. A. W. Plyler, Miss Winnie Rickett, Charles Ruffin, R. N. Simms, Jr., Zeb V. Turlington, Guy Weaver, Isaac C. Wright, Charles G. Rose, Dr. J. Clyde Turner, M. R. Hilford. Four vice presidents were named, as follows: Mrs. J. M. Hobgood, Clifford Frazier, Dr. R. L. Moore and Charles G. Rose. Four outstanding attorneys were selected as legal advisers, namely, R. N. Simms, Sr., E. T. Cansler, Clyde R. Hoey and L. R. Varser. Mr. Charles Ruffin was named secretary, to succeed Mr. Kluttz, and I was named executive secretary. A platform was adopted, and it was voted to set up a Central Committee, composed of Drys from all sections of the State, whose names might be suggested by the members of the executive committee during the following two weeks.
It now became necessary for somebody to do voluntary work. There was no money. Mr. Charles Ruffin volunteered to supply the stationery and print the platform. Using the dining-room of my home as an office, the members of the Raleigh Woman's Christian Temperance Union joined me in relays, and the invitations to prospective members of the Central Committee were sent out. A substantial contribution from Mr. John Sprunt Hill at this time provided for the postage, and took the organization over the first few weeks of effort in the campaign. Acceptance of membership on the Central Committee was nearly unanimous. Naturally there are many loyal and faithful Drys who would have served on this committee, and it was always a source of regret to the executive committee that many of
these were not reached during the two weeks when the committee was being formed; but in the necessity for quick work, it was impossible to reach all who would have served. Later, when county organizations were set up, the names of the county managers were added to the Central Committee, bringing the entire membership to over 300.
Again the W. C. T. U. women responded to my call, and working together we sent a call to the members of the Central Committee for a meeting in Raleigh on June 22. At this meeting it was voted to continue the executive committee as formerly elected, and a revised platform was adopted. It was voted to include in the platform quotations from the State platforms of the Democratic and Republican parties, wherein they both declared for retention of the 18th Amendment and State prohibition. It was also voted to send a copy of the platform, a list of the members of the Central Committee, and the appeal of the Dry Forces for coöperation, to the two United States Senators, the Congressmen, the Governor, and all other State and county officials; to the officers of the Young Democratic clubs and members of the 1933 General Assembly; also to every newspaper in the State. All of this work was done in my "temporary office," with the help of the faithful temperance women, during a terrific spell of heat.
The platform adopted by the Drys contained the following declarations as the purposes of the United Dry Forces:
(1) To use every legitimate means to educate the voters of the State to sustain on the statute books of the State and Nation the present laws against the sale and manufacture of intoxicating liquors.
(2) To promote temperance by aiding the school authorities in teaching the danger of intoxicating liquor and narcotics to the human system.
(3) To coöperate with every agency now in existence to carry out the purpose of this organization.
(4) That the organization shall be non-partisan, non-political, and non-denominational.
The bill under which the referendum was to be held made it imperative that the Drys set up some sort of organization in every county, as well as maintain a State headquarters, if the dry vote was to be polled. There had to be someone responsible for seeing to it that Dry judges of election were appointed in every precinct; that petitions were circulated in order to secure one-fifth of the names of voters in the previous election, thus qualifying candidates for delegates to the proposed Convention; that the people were informed of the registration day and of the date of the election. It was plain that the Dry Forces needed a capable, alert, consecrated campaign manager. At first it was thought that the State should be divided and the campaign in the eastern half conducted from Raleigh, and that in the western half from Statesville. It was finally decided that one headquarters should be set up, and at a July meeting of the executive
committee the invitation of the Bland Hotel proprietors in Raleigh to establish headquarters in that hotel was accepted; and Mr. Cale K. Burgess, a lawyer, former soldier, former organizer of American Legion Posts, and active young Democrat, was placed in charge of the campaign, with me as his assistant. The office equipment of the Anti-Saloon League was brought from Greensboro, and Mrs. C. A. Jordan, a capable stenographer, came also. Four men, Mr. George J. Burnett, superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League; Mr. C. A. Upchurch, a former superintendent of that organization; Rev. J. M. Page, and Mr. M. R. Hilford, were assigned to field organization work. Mr. W. F. Marshall and Miss Lucy M. Cobb, experienced newspaper reporters, were put in charge of publicity. Mr. Marshall served also as treasurer. The organization set up by this force has been declared by critical observers to have been the most perfect and efficient for campaign purposes ever set up in North Carolina.
When the campaign began, the repeal forces figured that they had the Democratic party organization behind them, and the support of nearly all the important newspapers of the State; that no extraordinary effort was necessary: that all they had to do was simply to wait until election day, hold the election and count the ballots. "Two to one wet," was the prediction of most politicians and newspapers as to how the election would go. Had the election been held early in the summer, it is possible that the Wets might have won, for many loyal Drys in North Carolina, as in other States, had heard the noise of the Wets for so long they had been silenced, not knowing whether the noise was evidence of sentiment or just chatter. Hundreds of Drys had assumed the defeatist or "what's-the-use" attitude. It was due to the undefeatable spirit of the leaders of the campaign that the Drys were aroused and that the tremendous number of 304,572 Drys were polled, giving a majority of 184,572.
In bringing about this result, however, several factors must be taken into account:
The Drys were fortunate in their leader, Dr. William Louis Poteat, a college president emeritus, a Christian layman, a scientist of national reputation. Just as Dr. Poteat, by his personal life, his speeches, his writings, had helped to break down the once far too prevalent notion in North Carolina that science and religion are in conflict, so his intelligent championship of prohibition, for which he had stood all of his life, guaranteed its respectability and freed other supporters from the fear of ridicule and belittlement. No one dares attempt ridicule of Dr. Poteat. It must be said that the campaign of satire, caricature, and ridicule resorted to for so many years by the Wets in other States had never got into full play in North Carolina. It had never become a thing to be ashamed of to be declared a prohibitionist in this State. In the ranks of the Drys are unpretentious, steady, "mind - your - own - business" citizens: quiet people, who do
not rush into print, who are slow to argue and proclaim their beliefs about things--especially a thing they had regarded for so long a time as settled, such as the State's policy with reference to liquor; people who regard traffic in liquor and liquor drinking as a stupidity, hardly worthy of designation as a moral issue, and certainly not to be dignified with legalization! When the names of the members of the Central Committee were published, immediately other Drys who had been hesitant to declare themselves began to speak out. It had become apparent that the prohibitionists had among them the presidents and deans of the universities and colleges, the presidents of the leading women's organizations; many able, fearless leaders in the political parties; outstanding professional men, business men, farmers, industrialists, labor leaders, and the ministers. In this company, there was no longer a possibility of a Dry being ridiculed, of being labeled "a long-nosed, blue-faced fanatic." To have attacked the personnel of this committee would have been to slander three hundred of the useful, able, steady-going people of the State, leaders in school, church, and community life. The newspapers must have sensed that a wholesale condemnation of prohibitionists in North Carolina would have meant an attack on perhaps too many of those in the group comprising the State's best citizens. The press became decidedly respectful!
The Drys had announced that their campaign would be free from bitterness or attack on any opponent; the personnel of the leadership was guarantee that the promise would be adhered to. There were men and women of high character in the wet leadership also. The campaign got away on a high plane and was kept there, both sides refraining from personalities. Once again the temperance legions were forming as in 1908 when, under the leadership of Glenn, Aycock, Daniels, Simmons, Clarkson, Morrison, and hosts of others, the State voted Dry by 44,196, on May 27 of that year. Now they formed under the banner of the United Dry Forces.
That the Drys united under one banner was perhaps the biggest single factor in winning the election. Dry leaders realized from the beginning that it would take a united front, with all the churches, temperance organizations, and dry politicians of both parties, if the dry cause was to triumph. In 1928 the Anti-Saloon League incurred the displeasure of Democratic party leaders, both Wets and Drys, when it joined in the anti-Smith campaign. While the Woman's Christian Temperance Union as an organization did not become active in that campaign, many individual members did become active, and thus the organization became unpopular with a good many Democrats. In order to secure the support of Drys who did not belong to either of these organizations, and of many Democratic leaders, it was thought best to keep the names of the individual organizations out of the campaign; that is, out of the literature, the press releases, off the stationery, and out of the speeches. Fortunately, Mr. Burnett, the Anti-Saloon
League superintendent, saw the wisdom of keeping his organization in the background, and with an admirable spirit of self-effacement he worked faithfully throughout the campaign, thus saving the Drys from the attack that would have certainly been made by the wet press in an effort to deflect Democratic party leaders from the dry ranks.
Another important and wise decision of the Dry Forces was, that the campaign should be conducted without having speakers from outside the State take part. Later in the campaign when such speakers appeared in the State uninvited, they spoke in some places under local sponsorship and without coöperation from the State headquarters. They probably did some good under such conditions; they would have done harm under any other.
The movement for repeal in North Carolina was a political measure, sponsored and advocated by the National Democratic organization, even to the extent of a visit from Postmaster-
Always, when the Dry Democrats had answered every argument of the Wets, repealists would advance that of loyalty to the National Democratic administration. That argument was offset by the party's thirty-year dry record in the State, and the State platform which favors prohibition. When it came to choosing between standing by the National platform and the State platform, it did not take a Dry Democrat long to decide which to do; and when it came to choosing between pleasing the President and voting his own lifetime conviction, again he did not hesitate to vote dry.
The Drys early set about perfecting the county organizations, through which they could reach the voters and counteract the efforts of the party organization. In this work the four field men covered the entire State.
They traveled day and night, spoke in churches, schoolhouses, visited in homes, and left nothing undone that would arouse the Dry voters. No effort was made to make new converts to prohibition; the sole effort was to get out the Dry vote. These workers collected funds with which to pay their traveling and living expenses, and a small salary, from the audiences to which they spoke and from individuals. The goal was, "an organization in every county by October 1st." During the month of September the field men worked night and day, and yet, a week before October 1, it looked as if we should fall short of our goal. Mr. Page concentrated on the southeastern counties of Bladen, Brunswick, and Columbus; Mr. Hilford concentrated on Anson, Richmond, Stanly; Mr. Burnett went over the northeastern section again; Mr. Upchurch remained in the west, and Mr. Burgess and I undertook to organize from headquarters, Edgecombe, Lenoir, Granville, Wilson, Chatham, Orange, and Nash. October 1 was Sunday. On that date Mr. Burgess completed the organization in Chatham County, and we had made the goal: one hundred counties organized. Many of these organizations extended down through the precincts, and in some of the towns and cities, the block as well. When we announced through the press that this tremendous piece of organization work had been accomplished, we won the admiration of everybody, Wets and Drys alike. Few had thought such an achievement possible. We heard immediately that the head of the Repeal Council was "greatly disturbed over the fact that we had organized in rural counties."
Our next objective was to announce on October 7, the last day for filing, that we had qualified 120 Dry candidates; and this we were able to do. The provision of the referendum bill requiring the circulating of petitions and the securing of signatures of voters in order to qualify candidates seemed at first a handicap, but it turned out to be a blessing. We had heard of how in many States the Drys had not had time to organize and get these petitions circulated, consequently many counties had gone by default; and of how the Wets had used the party machinery, particularly in cities, in getting their petitions circulated. We determined no Dry in North Carolina should be without a candidate for whom to vote. We supplied from headquarters the form of petition and the notice of candidacy to every county chairman. These had been carefully prepared by Mr. Burgess and the committee of lawyers. The fact that simultaneously, all over the State, Drys were approached and asked to sign these petitions, aroused interest and informed the people of the approaching election. Workers were cautioned to remind the people to register on the one day for registration, October 28, and to vote on November 7 for the Dry candidates and against calling a convention. The Drys frankly urged the "No Convention" vote as an economy measure, contending that there was no point to calling an expensive convention to register the State's refusal to ratify the 21st Amendment, repealing the 18th. Reports from every county showed
that it was a comparatively easy matter to secure the required number of signatures, and in this effort the approximate strength of the Drys had been revealed. It gave us every reason to believe that we should win the election. On the day set, October 7, we announced 120 candidates duly qualified! Ambassador Josephus Daniels, writing from Mexico, said: "No finer body of citizens have stood for election to office in our State than this group of Dry candidates." The Wets were unable to announce their full roster of candidates for more than a week later, and then they failed to name candidates in two counties. In some of the counties the Dry candidates were men and women of more prominence, and were better known and more highly regarded than the Wet candidates.
The announcement of the list of Dry candidates seemed to electrify the Drys and to terrify the Wets. Immediately Senator Reynolds went on a speaking tour; and Senator J. W. Bailey announced his support of the repeal cause. It was at this juncture in the campaign that the coming of Postmaster-General Farley was announced. These seeming "breaks" in favor of the Wets did not disturb the Drys, nor did they lose courage. Knowing the resentment North Carolina voters always show at any suggestion of coercion, or dictation from the outside, the Drys surmised that Mr. Farley's coming would eventually work to their advantage. They had only to refrain from comment and to continue the even tenor of their way. W. T. Bost, an experienced observer of election trends, had said in a news article early in the campaign that if the Drys brought Bishop Cannon to North Carolina the Wets would win, and if the Wets brought Mr. Farley, the Drys would win. The Drys were sticking to their determination to use only local talent in the campaign. The efforts of the Wets had become scattered and ineffective; and against the invincible county organizations set up by the Drys they could make no headway.
Not only did the county organizations function splendidly in the matter of securing qualified candidates, but in every other way they worked unceasingly, under the uniform plan sent from headquarters. They secured thousands of signatures to a card which stated that the signer would vote for the Dry candidates and against convention. These cards, which are now a valuable index of Dry voters, were carefully preserved for use on registration and election days by workers to check for missing voters and to see that they were gotten to the polls. Too much praise cannot be accorded the county managers. They raised funds locally and financed their own campaigns. They made speaking engagements for their local speakers, transported the speakers, kept the county papers supplied with news, sent reports to headquarters, and in fact did everything unselfish men and women could have done in order to win the fight. Against these county organizations the Wets had no such units working zealously for repeal. Here and there a few persons who were connected in some way with the Federal Government, joined
with life-long Wets, and made some slight efforts; but many citizens were not quite certain they would be enhancing their standing in a community if found organizing groups to work for repeal, and perhaps this is why the Wets did not or were unable to set up county units.
Campaign headquarters set up a speakers' bureau during August and before the campaign closed over 500 speakers were enrolled. Throughout the campaign the bureau functioned like a well-oiled machine. In the list of speakers were such noted Democratic leaders as Judge E. Yates Webb, Clyde R. Hoey, John D. Langston, Cameron Morrison, Dennis G. Brummitt, R. N. Simms, R. O. Everett, John A. Oates, L. R. Varser, James A. Hartness, T. J. Harkins, W. C. Newland, Z. V. Turlington, Isaac C. Wright, Francis O. Clarkson, Guy T. Carswell, E. T. Cansler, F. H. Brooks; such Republican leaders as Clifford Frazier, Jake F. Newell, Judge Johnson J. Hayes, John C. McBee, John C. Matthews; such churchmen and educators as Bishop Mouzon, Bishop Pfohl, Henry Louis Smith, Holland Holton, J. Powell Tucker, E. McNeill Poteat, Jr., F. A. Feezor, W. L. Poteat, A. J. Barton, Clyde Turner, W. A. Stanbury, and hundreds of local ministers and laymen, and such well-known women as Mrs. W. B. Lindsay, president of the State W. C. T. U., Mrs. J. M. Hobgood, former president of the Federation of Women's Clubs; Mrs. R. H. Latham, the present president of the Federation; Miss Clara Cox, Friends' minister; Mrs. W. A. Newell, Miss Vara Herring, Mrs. W. N. Jones (through letters to missionary groups), Mrs. Raymond Binford, former president of the State Parent-Teacher Association, Mrs. W. J. Jones, Mrs. T. W. Bickett, and others, spoke to hundreds of women in all sections of the State. In fact, no section of the State failed to hear one or more speeches. When Senator Reynolds went on his speaking tour, Dry speakers followed him in almost every instance. There was no more effective speaker in the campaign than Mr. Burgess. He spoke on some days as many as three times, and always to large audiences, who warmed to his enthusiasm and responded with renewed support.
The Speakers' Bureau went first into action on September 3, at the suggestion of Justice Clarkson. On that Sunday, in a hundred or more churches, courthouses and halls, Dry speakers launched the campaign of speaking. From then on there was no let-up to this form of campaign activity. Some of the speeches deserved preservation. For instance, the great speech of Clyde R. Hoey before 3,000 citizens in the Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh, when in convincing earnestness he declared, "I will plow up my cotton and kill my little pigs at the President's request, but I will not plow up the convictions of a lifetime for him or any other man." Again in the same auditorium, a few weeks later, Cameron Morrison made what has been declared by many to be the best speech of his long career. No one could forget his word picture of what the old "liquor days" were like, nor fail to be impressed with his sincerity when he said, "I'd like to grant the President's request,
and I hate to have his feelings hurt, but I am thinking more about those poor Methodist and Baptist and Presbyterian preachers whose feelings 'll be hurt if liquor is sold promiscuously again and they have to contend with the results from it as they go into the homes of the people. I'd rather grant their request and not legalize liquor than to grant the President's, right now." In Chapel Hill, E. McNeill Poteat delivered on a Sunday afternoon, to an audience we think of as "high brow" and sophisticated, such a thought-provoking address that it surely must have had something to do with the large Dry vote polled in that county. His dramatic statement, "Sir Henry Cobham said in England ninety-eight years ago, 'The problem of the two great race destroyers, war and alcohol, will be worked out in this young republic of America, unless perchance she become drunk on prosperity and forgets her duty,' " was a distinct challenge to those teachers and directors of youth who must do their part in preserving the human race.
Recognizing that the press in the larger cities was largely on the wet side, the campaign headquarters set up a publicity bureau. From the beginning, the church papers championed the dry cause and, with vigorous editorials, answered the arguments of the Wets and stimulated the Drys to throw off their lethargy. Many of the county newspapers early came out on the dry side, and, due to requests from local Drys, before the campaign ended it was possible to get space in almost every county paper. Mr. Marshall and Miss Cobb furnished them with more copy than they could possibly have used. At least two city dailies gave splendid coöperation. The editorials in the
Winston-Salem Journal written by Santford Martin were unanswerable arguments. Mrs. Charlotte Story Perkinson, in her paper, State's Progress, carried column after column of convincing copy. So did O. J. Peterson in the State's Voice. As soon as the various news agencies sensed the fact that the Drys were staging a real campaign, they kept constantly pressing for news, and though many of the reporters unhesitatingly declared their intention to vote for repeal, they seemed to get a real thrill out of publishing material supplied by the Drys. They were without exception courteous and fair.
The first letter sent out from headquarters, a few days after it was opened, went to the ministers of the State, about 4,000 of them. Many of them responded and sent in contributions for themselves and for their congregations. From this time on the ministers labored unceasingly, and no group of citizens ever worked more faithfully in a cause than did these North Carolina preachers--Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, all worked in behalf of prohibition. Small wonder that the press refrained from wholesale attack on prohibitionists. Seldom does the most unthinking and irresponsible newspaper man dare or even want to print a broadside against ministers. There were so many of them--so far as I know, all but two--on the dry side, that fact alone probably would have meant victory for us. Many churches set up special committees,
and these made practically house-to-house canvasses. In one county there were sixty churches with special committees composed of men and women at work.
The work of the young people played a big part. Judge E. Yates Webb organized a Junior Phalanx in Cleveland County; and over 2,000 young people signed a card pledging themselves to stand against the sale and use of beverage alcohol, and repeal of the 18th Amendment. Through the efforts of Mrs. S. L. Morgan and R. N. Simms, Jr., the young people of Wake County organized a Phalanx. These young people had a speakers' bureau, and hardly a Sunday school or gathering of young people did not hear at least one speech by a Junior Phalanx member. In one county, a group staged a pageant, written by one of their number, depicting the evils of drinking. The pageant was presented in dozens of churches throughout a wide territory. Phalanx members served as ushers at speakings, distributed literature, put up posters, and by their bold stand doubtless caused many a wavering parent to rally to his colors.
The Farmers' Grange, through their lecturers, did much work. A prize was offered by an ardent Dry to the lecturer who should get the greatest number of signatures to the dry enrollment card before September 30. The prize was won by a lecturer who secured over 500 signatures.
In every county where there is a Woman's Christian Temperance Union a tremendous dry vote was cast, due in part to the steady efforts of these faithful temperance women. Not only did the W. C. T. U. members work, but the missionary groups and many other groups of women quietly went about the business of getting out the woman vote. In six counties the campaign manager was a woman, and incidentally all of these counties voted dry but one. Hundreds of precinct committees were headed by women. Women were candidates against repeal in ten counties. In one county women canvassed a precinct which was considered wet, made a list of the male voters, and then secured the pledges of enough Dry women voters to make sure that any possible wet vote was killed. In one town, the women members of one church met, held prayer meeting in the church, and then went to the polls.
It was deemed wise, in the beginning of the campaign, not to appeal to the women through any separate division, but rather to work quietly along the plan adopted for lining up all voters. So far as I could learn, and for years I had watched for signs of their activities, I could not detect that the Woman's Association for Prohibition Reform (Mrs. Sabin's organization, so-called) had made any headway in North Carolina. Since this organization had not penetrated the small towns and rural districts with its vulnerable propaganda, it seemed unwise to provoke it into attempting to do so. Ten days before the election, I issued an appeal to the women of the State, to go to the polls and vote against repeal, reminding them that a vote against repeal could be interpreted
in no other way than as a mandate against repeal of the State law as well. This appeal I made over radio, and 115,000 copies were distributed through the county organizations. In an attempt to offset this effort, during the last week of the campaign the Woman's Association for Prohibition Reform spent over a thousand dollars for radio talks. One of these was made by a lady from Virginia, and the other two by life-long gentlemen Wets! When the outrageous poster of this woman's organization was put up on the outskirts of the city of Raleigh, the boys of the Junior Phalanx made a poster of their own, showing the dry side of the child protection idea, and placed it opposite the repeal poster. The National W. C. T. U. sent about a thousand posters, without cost other than postage, and these were divided out among the various counties. This organization and the National Woman's Law Enforcement League, sent quantities of excellent literature, all of which was sent to county managers.
The Drys wisely limited locally prepared literature to two pieces. Mr. Thomas H. Steele wrote a pamphlet entitled "What the 18th Amendment Has Done," and this was distributed by the hundreds of thousands, having been printed by the Christian Advocate Press, Greensboro. This pamphlet opened the eyes of many a Dry and silenced the tongue of many a Wet. It was followed by an excellent circular prepared by Dr. Holland Holton, of Duke University. There were mailed to mothers hundreds of mimeographed copies of the statement issued by Dr. Frank Graham, president of the Greater University of North Carolina, in which he declared himself still for prohibition, and against liquor for the same reason he opposes child labor, night work for women, war, and other agencies that tear down and destroy human personality.
Arguments advanced by the Wets in the literature sent out by them were promptly answered. When they argued for "personal liberty," we cited the recently adopted National Recovery Act, which is a series of prohibitions of almost all things regarded as personal liberty. When they named the American Medical Association as being for repeal, the Drys countered with that association's declaration against the use of alcohol for medicine, and showed that the president of the State Medical Association and the State Superintendent of Health were supporting the dry cause. When the Wets stated that the college presidents of the country were for repeal, the Drys cited that the college presidents and the presidents of the two universities of this State were all Dry. Columbia's Nicholas Murray Butler could have no weight in North Carolina against her beloved Frank Graham! When the Wets cited criticisms of prohibition in the Wickersham report, the Drys pointed out that the committee expressly recommended that the 18th Amendment be not repealed. When the Wets argued that "liquor is sold freely almost everywhere," and urged legalization in order that revenue might be obtained, the Drys pointed out that adequate enforcement would bring in a like
revenue and showed that enforcement had more than paid for itself in the past ten years in fines collected; further, that any revenue obtained from traffic in liquor would ultimately be consumed in caring for the wreckage from such traffic. When the Wets proclaimed that "the young people are drinking," the Drys called attention to the thousands of young people in the church and Sunday school organizations who do not drink and make up the majority of the young people of the State. Against the dance halls where drunken young people may be found in minorities, the Drys cited the assembly meetings of the young people of the churches, young people who are not sought out by bootleggers but who would have the temptation to drink thrust before them if liquor were legalized and put in "fancy places" for sale at so much per drink--such places as tea rooms, cafés, and taverns. All of these arguments were covered day after day by ardent Drys, writing in the open forum sections of the newspapers, as well as by the speakers from the platforms.
An interesting separate story could well be written about the method of financing the campaign. There never was a campaign run more entirely on faith. Mr. Charles Ruffin had such faith in the cause that he unhesitatingly advanced the printing, without which service we would have been hopelessly handicapped. Those of us who worked on salary, and that was put at the lowest possible figure, went daily to our jobs without any positive assurance that we would ever be paid. We would go blithely about the business of writing, folding, and addressing hundreds of letters, with no idea of where the postage would come from; and yet somehow, from somewhere, always would come a contribution in time; or someone would advance the money, and a contribution would come within a few hours. The whole campaign was "run on a shoe-string"; it was the "widow's mite" contributed by thousands. Of the $8,000 spent, perhaps not more than an hundred contributions were for more than $1.00. The campaign was literally financed with pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and one-dollar bills! Toward the end, Mr. Burgess sent a special appeal to hundreds of Drys which brought in enough to make us feel safe in continuing the campaign at its then level; and at this time the promise from Senator and Mrs. Cameron Morrison of a substantial donation put fresh courage and determination in the whole staff of workers.
A few days before the election, that old champion of prohibition, former Senator F. M. Simmons, from the quietude of his home in Craven County, voluntarily issued a statement giving his views and pleading with the voters of the State to cast so large a vote against repeal as to settle for all time how they wished the liquor problem handled in North Carolina. This statement was published in practically all the large papers of the State; and there is no doubting that this sane and masterful pronouncement stimulated many a Dry to go to the polls and express himself on the question.
On November 7 came election day. The Wets had prayed for rain. The day dawned cloudy and by noon it was raining generally throughout the State and continued so all day. But nothing kept the Drys at home. Old women who had never voted before; young boys and girls who were casting their first vote--hundreds of these types--went to the polls in the rain and voted against repeal. The first report to reach headquarters came from Lee County. Mr. Paul J. Barringer, who had done yeoman service all through the campaign, telephoned that a precinct had concluded voting and had gone six to one dry. A telegram arrived from Isaac London saying that Richmond County was safely dry. From then on the landslide continued, and by 8 o'clock that night we knew that the great silent dry vote in North Carolina had expressed itself and that we had won simply because there were more Drys than Wets. Out of the 100 counties, the Wets had won in only thirteen, and in one of those one Dry delegate had been elected.
And now how do the Wets explain our victory? We hear them say, "We didn't get out the Wet vote." We believe they did; that is, that those people who are confirmed in their opposition to prohibition went to the polls and voted. The bulk of the Wet vote is always found in the cities. North Carolina is largely rural, and with the church and county papers supporting the Dry cause, rural Drys were not subjected to a great deal of Wet propaganda; nor did the Wets have a forum through which they could reach these voters. The day has passed when large numbers will go to county courthouses for public speakings. Thousands of quiet, steady-going citizens, particularly women, still think it is not quite nice to go to hear a speech advocating legalization of liquor. The Wets did not ask for the use of the churches for their forum.
Again we hear the complaint from the Wets, and particularly did we hear it during the campaign, "You Drys are getting votes against repeal on the strength of what will happen to the Turlington Act if North Carolina votes for repeal." We did do just that. In our literature, in our speeches, and in every way possible we emphasized the danger to our State law should a majority vote for repeal. Again and again we were warned by "friendly enemies" that we were doing a dangerous thing in including our State law in the referendum. Editorials in important daily papers said as much. These editors were not present when a Wet leader said in Mr. Burgess's presence at the meeting of the Young Democrats at Wrightsville: "If the Wets win, we will repeal the Turlington Act; and if we win by 100,000 majority, we'll have the Governor call an extra session of the Legislature and repeal it before Christmas." (At this same convention the Young Democrats voted down a resolution which declared for repeal of the Turlington Act.) Again, one of the prominent politicians, a man high up in the councils of his party, said to me: "The Turlington Act will have to be repealed whether North Carolina votes for repeal or not." He was
taking the position that repeal was certain, and that North Carolina would not attempt to retain her State law under such conditions. We determined, if possible, to make the election speak the mind of North Carolina voters on both the issues, State and National prohibition. We believe it did. There were many voters who frankly said, "I'm voting for repeal, but I would never vote for repeal of our State law." The Wets garnered every one of these voters they could, and they know they did; just as we garnered every one who said, "I'd vote for repeal if I were not afraid my vote would eventually endanger the State law." After it was certain that the amendment would be repealed regardless of North Carolina's action, we doubled our efforts to include the State law in the referendum.
Another claim of some Wets is that we won by a combination of Republicans, bootleggers, preachers, and hypocrites! We may
It is interesting to consider the assertion of certain Wets that they might have polled the majority of the three hundred odd thousand who voted in the 1932 general election and yet did not vote in the repeal election, had they put on a more intensive campaign. We may consider that this number is made up of the following classes, namely, the absentee vote, the indifferent or unconvinced voters, and the purchasable vote. Had absentee voting been permitted, there is no reason to believe
that the Drys would not have polled a majority of that vote in the same proportion as they did in the vote that was cast. Of the indifferent and unconvinced voters, we believe that we could have won the majority had the Wets put on a campaign that would have more completely presented their side. In other words, had the Wets tried to interest and convince these voters, and had succeeded in arousing their interest, we believe that upon consideration of arguments presented by both sides, they would have come to our way of thinking. Because we saw that the Wets would not be able to reach these types of voters with the campaign they planned and carried out, we made no effort to do so, but centered our efforts on getting out the already confirmed Dry. As to the purchasable vote, it may be truthfully and proudly said that this was one election when that class of voter found himself ignored by both sides, and it is to the credit of the citizenship of the State that this vote is so small it could not have changed the result of the election had it been cast entirely on either side.
Drys believe that they won because they actually outnumber the Wets, and because of the sane, orderly, sensible campaign conducted, thereby getting out most of the dry vote. Under the leadership of Dr. Poteat, with Justice Clarkson constantly advising and suggesting out of the wealth of his experience in past campaigns, and with Cale K. Burgess, the human dynamo that he is, in active charge of the campaign, displaying that courage, determination, and intelligence always found in real leaders, and with every person and group doing the right thing at the right time, the victory was won. It may be that the Wets made mistakes in the conduct of their campaign and that these worked to the advantage of the Drys. It ought to be a consolation, and doubtless is, to those sincere people who undertook the campaign for the repealists, that there were just not enough voters in North Carolina who wanted repeal to have won for them, regardless of what they might have done.
Now that we have our victory, what of it? What are we to do as a result of it? It is clearly our duty to try to bring about a better condition than exists at present. We have the assurance of many who voted for repeal that they will help us to sustain the State law on the statute books, and we have a right to expect them to aid us in bringing about better enforcement as well. We cannot expect help from those Wets who voted wet because they want liquor, but from those who voted wet for other reasons, we do expect coöperation and support. We expect them to join with us in electing the best possible officials and in giving to these officials the moral support they need and expect of good citizens if we are to have a better condition of affairs. We must enlarge and revitalize the program of temperance education in our public schools and Sunday schools; we must emphasize in that program the attractiveness of soberness and point out what may be achieved in the way of usefulness and happiness through sobriety, thus bringing about
a will for abstinence and lessening the need of emphasis on prohibition. If we do not do these things, we shall lose the right to keep the liquor-control problem in our hands, and should lose it.
If our victory has thrown any politician into a muddle, that is not our concern. The clear mandate of the November 7 election is "hands off" of the State prohibition law. We have a right to expect, and confidently do expect, both parties to give us candidates who recognize and accept that mandate.
Just as we expect the political parties to recognize the mandate in the election, so we could rejoice if the press would whole-heartedly support the Dry cause from now on. If and when the press decides to aid the Drys in our program, we shall have a dry State in law and in fact.
Four days after the election, the executive committee of the United Dry Forces met, and after a prayer of thanks to God for His blessing and guidance in the campaign, issued a statement to the public in which they humbly and reverently gave to Him the glory and the praise. Before every conference, before every speaking, and in every undertaking His guidance was sought, and He did not fail us. In the same spirit the Dry Forces pledge anew their determination to work for law observance, promote the teaching of temperance, and in these efforts they believe they are entitled to the support of all the citizens of the State: those who believed repeal was for the best, and those who thought otherwise. Under this assumption the Dry Forces will remain united and active.
|Alamance||C. G. Sowers, J. Waldo Woody||Burlington|
|Alexander||H. P. Feimster||Taylorsville|
|Anson||B. M. Covington||Wadesboro|
|Ashe||W. H. Worth||Jefferson|
|Avery||Rev. E. Malone Johnson||Minneapolis|
|Beaufort||J. B. Sparrow||Washington|
|Bertie||J. H. Matthews||Windsor|
|Bladen||S. H. Rogers||Clarkton|
|Brunswick||C. Ed. Taylor||Southport|
|Buncombe||A. C. Reynolds||Asheville|
|Burke||E. O. Randolph, Judge J. F. Bowers||Morganton|
|Cabarrus||O. A. Swaringen||Concord|
|Caldwell||W. C. Newland||Lenoir|
|Camden||Rev. G. F. Harrell||South Mills|
|Carteret||Rev. R. F. Munns||Beaufort|
|Caswell||John O. Gunn||Yanceyville|
|Catawba||Thos. F. Pruitt||Hickory|
|Chatham||J. R. Moore||Gulf|
|Cherokee||J. B. Gray||Murphy|
|Chowan||W. J. Berryman||Edenton|
|Clay||G. H. Haigler||Hayesville|
|Cleveland||Robt. H. Cooke||Shelby|
|Columbus||D. G. McGougan||Tabor|
|Craven||W. P. Metts||New Bern|
|Cumberland||W. C. Downing, D. U. Sandling||Fayetteville|
|Currituck||Rev. H. B. Baum||Poplar Branch|
|Dare||O. J. Jones||Manteo|
|Davidson||G. W. Mountcastle||Lexington|
|Davie||P. H. Hendricks||Mocksville|
|Duplin||Miss Macie Cox||Magnolia|
|Durham||Dr. Holland Holton||Durham|
|Edgecombe||N. E. Gresham||Pinetops|
|Forsyth||W. Hollingsworth Williams||Winston-Salem|
|Franklin||Rev. D. P. Harris||Louisburg|
|Gaston||Fred L. Smyre||Gastonia|
|Gates||W. J. Rountree||Hobbsville|
|Graham||Mrs. R. B. Slaughter||Robbinsville|
|Granville||C. O. Mainor||Oxford|
|Greene||J. C. Moye||Snow Hill|
|Guilford||W. S. Lyon, Reid Wall||Greensboro|
|A. B. Conrad||High Point|
|Halifax||W. T. Shaw||Weldon|
|Harnett||Rev. E. Norfleet Gardner||Dunn|
|Haywood||J. T. Bailey||Canton|
|Henderson||Roy C. Bennett||Hendersonville|
|Hertford||Rev. J. C. Owen||Murfreesboro|
|Hoke||D. S. Poole||Raeford|
|Hyde||Rev. E. R. Stewart||Fairfield|
|Iredell||J. A. Hartness||Statesville|
|Jackson||John R. Jones||Sylva|
|Johnston||A. M. Noble||Smithfield|
|Jones||Rev. J. R. Phipps||Pollocksville|
|Lee||K. R. Hoyle||Sanford|
|Lincoln||Dr. W. G. Bandy||Lincolnton|
|Lenoir||J. H. Canady||Kinston|
|Macon||Rev. G. N. Dulin||Franklin|
|Madison||Ira Plemmons||Hot Springs|
|Martin||W. C. Manning||Williamston|
|McDowell||Dr. J. F. Jones||Marion|
|Mecklenburg||D. E. Henderson||Charlotte|
|Mitchell||Troy C. Young, W. S. Berry||Bakersville, R. F. D.|
|Montgomery||Ben S. Beach||Troy|
|Moore||H. F. Seawell, Jr||Carthage|
|Nash||S. F. Austin||Nashville|
|New Hanover||Isaac C. Wright||Wilmington|
|Northampton||Mrs. Sallie Parker||Jackson|
|Onslow||Mrs. J. P. Henderson||Jacksonville|
|Orange||N. W. Brown||Hillsboro|
|Pamlico||R. C. Holton||New Bern, R. F. D. No. 1|
|Pasquotank||P. H. Williams||Elizabeth City|
|Pender||W. R. Harrell||Burgaw|
|Perquimans||Rev. A. A. Butler||Hertford|
|Person||Rev. W. F. West||Roxboro|
|Pitt||Dr. Robt. H. Wright||Greenville|
|Polk||Rev. O. L. Robinson||Saluda|
|Randolph||Wiley L. Ward||Asheboro|
|Richmond||E. C. Crawford, Fred W. Bynum||Rockingham|
|Robeson||Dr. C. G. Vardell||Red Springs|
|Rockingham||F. Eugene Hester||Reidsville|
|Rowan||Rev. G. L. Kerr||Salisbury|
|Rutherford||R. E. Price||Rutherfordton|
|Sampson||Mrs. W. J. Jones||Salemburg|
|Stanly||Dr. Peter John||Laurinburg|
|Scotland||T. B. Mauney||Albemarle|
|Stokes||Mrs. J. Spot Taylor||Danbury|
|Surry||W. F. Carter||Mount Airy|
|Swain||J. Robt. Long||Bryson City|
|Transylvania||J. K. Henderson||Brevard|
|Tyrrell||W. C. Alexander||Columbia|
|Union||E. H. Broome||Monroe|
|Vance||Rev. D. E. Earnhardt||Henderson|
|Wake||W. T. Shaw||Raleigh|
|Warren||S. M. Gardner||Warrenton|
|Washington||Rev. R. E. Atkinson||Roper|
|Watauga||W. Frank Miller||Boone|
|Wayne||H. B. Parker||Goldsboro|
|Wilkes||Rev. Avery Church||North Wilkesboro|
|Wilson||Rev. John Barclay||Wilson|
|Yadkin||T. R. Eaton||Yadkinville|
|Yancey||E. F. Watson||Burnsville|