Segregated Entertainment Halls
The Pantagraph took note of the progress on a place of entertainment being furnished by the Loyal Legion Cooperative Educational System. A closed saloon (because of the dry vote in 1914) at 322 S Main was being furnished to be a place of entertainment for young "colored" men.
Started by Mr. Z W Mitchell, "a well educated the hall was meant to give the men an alternative to place of ill-repute where they would gamble or drink. A group of white business men also contributed to the hall and in all the two groups had raised about $400 for refurbishing the saloon. There was a refreshment area, billiards and other "harmless amusements." They were also installing shower baths, so part of the purpose of the building must have been athletic.
Loyal Legion Cooperative Educational System was created by ZW Mitchell to correct the wrong thinking about how to solve the race problem. His theory was that slavery had formed the African American people into three distinct classes and that a failure to recognize those classes resulted in the race problem. He suggested that fieldhand slaves had developed so that they could not make decisions, due to the dependent position they had been kept in. He suggested that house servant slaves, because of thei exposure to caucasians and their way of living had better decision making powers. The other class of slave was the skilled labor slaves who had more autonomy and training. He wanted to improve the conditions that the African Americans lived in and help them avoid bad influences. (Pantagraph, October 27, 1915, pg 12) In another speech at the 2nd Presbyterian Church, Mr. Mitchell assured the congregation that he did not believe in mixing of the races and that although he had never seen an African American woman except his mother and sisters, he never wanted to have anything to do with caucasian women and married the first African American woman he ever met. (Pantagraph, November 15, 1915, pg 6) Mr. Mitchell had many views of race relations we would find objectionable today and some of his ideas seemed to pander to the fears of caucasians. Loyal Legion had started in Ohio as the Loyal Legion of Labor in 1902 and he had been developing and redevloping his ideas for many years.