Sunday, June 5, 2011

Shockingly Immoral Boys

Student pastor Fred Merrifield had some news for the good Temperance ladies in June of 1909. According to him, the moral condition of Ann Arbor boys was in a shocking state. However, he had a plan to straighten them out with the help of some upright U-M students.

"Rev. Fred Merrifield, student pastor of the Baptist church, dropped a bomb in the middle of a W. X. T. U. meeting when he told the good ladies that boys in Ann Arbor between the ages of 13 and 16 were existing under shockingly immoral conditions; that gangs of these lads habitually associate with women of the lowest possible depravity; that the low class of Ann Arbor saloons encourage these young lads congregating at the rear doors of their places and furnish them with the filthiest literature.

"Mr. Merrifield pointed out that these boys could not be reached by the usual methods of the Y. M. C. A. because they were too poor to pay the fees that such organizations demand, and he asked for money to be donated for the rent of rooms, promising that he would have the help, without financial compensation, of 20 university students--'good, clean university men, not on the sissy order'--to take upon themselves the duties of giving these lads instructions in gymnasium work and in placing before them educational advantages that they could never hope for otherwise."

--June 5, 1909 Ypsilanti Daily Press

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