Editorial from the June 16, 1916 issue of The Monroe Journal.
Woman’s Club Staff
Editor, Mrs. J. Frank Lancy
Associate Editor, Mrs. Roscoe Phifer
Contributing Editors, Mrs. W.J. Boger, Mrs. E.M. Griffin, Mrs. W.A. Lane, Mrs. F.B. Ashcraft, Mrs. C.D. Meacham, Mrs. H.L. Laney, Mrs. Eugene Ashcraft, Mrs. R.W. Allen, Miss Lottie May Blair, Miss Jean Ashcraft.
We wish to extend our thanks to the Editor and Manager of this paper for their courtesy and kindness in extending these columns to us and their interest in the work the Woman’s Club is trying to accomplish.
“O Woman, in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy and hard to please;
But let disaster crown the brow,
A ministering angel, thou.”
Fearing the disaster which must befall our city through carelessness, indifference and poor sanitation, the good women have organized themselves into a working band known as the “Woman’s Club of Monroe.” The object of our club is the social, moral and spiritual uplift of the people, and our slogan, “A cleaner, more sanitary, more beautiful Monroe, a city of roses.”
No doubt, at one time, in the dim, distant past, Monroe was a lovely spot, for as Pope says, “All nature is art, unseen by us.”
God created all things beautiful, clean and good, but man desecrates His forest temples, begins his settlements, others are attracted either by family or business interests and in a few months or year we have a town of several hundred or perhaps thousands of human beings and the question of health and sanitation must be considered.
No man can or does live unto himself. We are all interdependent one upon the other. It is an erroneous selfish notion to imagine that an unsanitary drain pipe, barn, stable or ditch in one part of the tow does not effect the whole town, and no loyal, Christian citizen will allow any condition to exist around his premises that could prove a menace to his neighbors or town.
So few of us realize the value of neatness. Neatness and cleanliness of person and surroundings are aesthetically attractive. All progressive business men appreciate this and make it a rule that everything shall have a place and be in that place.
We have a very fine set of rules or ordinances for governing our city of Monroe, but every one of these ordinances is violated every day. Why is loafing allowed in and round our station? Why are our alleys and sidewalks blocked with wagons, boxes, chicken coops and barrels reeking with filth and maggots?
Why is the sewerage law not enforced within the sewerage zone and the surface closets put out of commission by being knocked down and burned for kindling wood?
Why are cigarettes sold to minors? And on and on ad infintum
Why haven’t we more sewerage and permanent paving and sanitary closets in our graded schools, and a decent auditorium and a hotel building commensurate with the ability of the fine lady and gentleman who manage it? You ask the city fathers WHY and they tell you they haven’t the money.
I have been quoted as saying I am not in favor of Foreign Missions. Let me correct this right here by saying I am most emphatically in favor of both Home and Foreign Missions, and if I had $50 million I’d send a teacher and build a sanitary school, hospital, kindergarten and home in every heathen city and at home if I could. But in the name of common sense, why do we send thousands of dollars out of Monroe every year to China, Japan and South America for these purposes when we haven’t money to build a decent toilet for our own little children at our own little Graded School? What would the Japs and Chinks think of us if they could take a walk not only through our back alleys where the kitchen drain pipes empty and the flies hold high carnival, but down our main street, littered with papers, stifling with dust and unmentionable odors permeating the atmosphere? How could we explain that part of our blessed gospel which says, “He who provides not for his own household has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel?”
Wake up, fellow citizens, bestir yourselves with us and clean up this town and help your health officer keep it clean. If we want to have a genuine, old-time revival of religion at our big tent meeting in July we must procure some means to keep down the dust and get rid of the flies. We need a material “disinfecting” bath in order to receive a spiritual bath. Let us get out from under our moral umbrellas, catch the spirit of civic righteousness and boost our Chamber of Commerce. This is the greatest agency for commercial development ever organized in Monroe.
We have just as fine people in Monroe as the Divine Creator ever made and I love my city not because of what it is, but rather because of what it may become through our concentrated efforts. Let us yield unto our city that same measure of affection which the Hebrews of old yielded unto their Holy City, Jerusalem: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” It is because of this love and veneration for our homes and city and the uplift of our children and community, that the good women work, strive and pray for an awakening among our citizens.
My city, ‘tis of thee,
Poor land of slavery
To filth and flies.
I hate thy microbe rills,
And they mosquito stills.
My heart with longing thrills
To clean thee up.
(Tune, “America.” Everybody sing.)