Chicago Tribune

Baptist Conference Demands Wiping Out of the "Red Light" Districts.
Chief Steward Says He Has Received No Evidence Supporting the Charges.

Members of the Baptist ministers’ conference yesterday attacked the policy of segregation vice in red light districts and blamed the mayor, the chief of police, and the city council for conditions which they declared other cities had outgrown.

Resolutions of considerable length were adopted with an explanatory note inserted to define what "segregation" really meant. The resolutions were the work of a special committee of Baptist ministers, including Dr. D. D. Laurin, Dr. John A Earl, Dr. J. A. Manning and Dr. M. P. Boynton.

These clergymen made a special investigation of conditions throughout the city and gathered evidence which, their report states, has been placed in the hands of Mayor Busse, Chief Steward, and members of the city council.

Thirteen different definitions of segregation are pointed out, charges that vice is maintained through orders issued by the city administration are made, and a general statement that they payment of $1,000 per annum for saloon licenses is merely for the purpose of "standing in" with the powers in the city hall is given.

Pastor Boynton Blames Mayor.

"If a man wants to be a candidate for mayor of Chicago with any hope of being successful he must first make his peace with the politicians and powers of influence of the "red light" district," declared Dr. Boynton, who was chairman of the investigating committee.

"The mayor orders this district maintained and he gets his orders from politicians interested in the ‘red light’ district. Businessmen suffer the district because it is a show place for country customers. It can be stamped out entirely, with but an order — from the mayor of Chicago.

"These places have a license from the city, but is it needed when hundreds of places have only a government license? However, the city license makes good at the city hall and that is all that is necessary, probably."

"Segregation is a woeful deception" the resolution declares. "It is claimed that such districts protect the resident portions of the city. Even cold statistics disprove this assertion. Take, for example the Twenty-second street red light district. The police say there are about 1,100 immoral women there, but there are over 1,200 outside as far as Thirty-first street.

Called a Promoter of Crime

"It is proved by recent investigations that all portions of the city, even the remoter suburbs, are becoming infected. Woodlawn is a notable example of this. Segregation is the most deplorable promoter of crime. This policy gives over a portion of the city’s domain to the most loathsome criminals of the world, whose trade is to debauch the innocent and to prey upon the debauched,

"Segregation is a temptation to the city officials to exploit vice for private gain. It has come to pass in our great cities that the political balance of power is in the hands of corrupt politicians who represent the segregated districts, or at least the evil forces of the city."

Before the resolutions were passed there was some objection to the strong terms used, but the objectors at length acquiesed.

Part of the conclusions of the resolution follow:

Want Evil Resorts Abolished.

Part of the conclusions of the resolution follow:

"Resolved, That we seriously urge upon our city government the immediate abolition of the red light districts, that the policy of segregation of vice be brought to an end.

"We emphatically demand that the proper officers of the law immediately institute legal proceedings against the keepers of immoral resorts and the owners of property used for such purposes.

"We heartily comment the public press of Chicago for its endeavor to lessen crime and to clear our city of the criminal elements, but we respectfully call the attention of the editors of our daily press to this obvious fact, that the continued existence of the policy of segregation of vice makes any thorough cleansing of the city impossible. Therefore we urge upon the press continued warfare against the red light districts by the public exposure of the debasing conditions in these vice districts till an end is made of this infamous policy of segregation.

"It is an unspeakable shame that such homes are allowed to so adorn themselves with lights, gay colors, leaded glass canopies and other insignia and boldly declare their character to every passerby. To this end we suggest that extreme legal measures be employed to abolish all such public houses."

Evidence Asked by Chief

Chief of Police Steward at night said he had not yet received any evidence from the Baptist ministers’ conference.

"Until I do so or until I receive a letter from the conference of the action taken I do not care to discuss the matter," he said, "I am not so sure that I will care to discuss it even after I do receive the notification of them."


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