1920s and 1930s

  • The 1920s brought great social and cultural changes such as woman’s suffrage, Prohibition, flappers and loosing morality and the growth of big business.  In response to such changes many Hoosiers supported the Ku Klux Klan which promised to preserve Protestantism and traditional morality and limit the influence of minorities and Catholics.  The Church Federation defined this unfortunate trend and in 1920, established a committee on Race Relations which included five African Americans.  The committee organized an annual Race Relations Sunday during which black and white pastors would exchange pulpits.  The committee also sought to address discrimination in housing, education, work and healthcare. 

    • For example, In the 1930s the Race Relations committee spoke against Butler University’s policy of only admitting 10 new black students per year.

    • The same decade the committee also worked to open the Indiana High School Athletic Association to participation in African American schools.

  • In 1922 the Church Federation created a Social Service Department whos main duties were coordinating the social services offered by member churches and helping juvenile and criminal offenders transition back into society.

    • The department would prove essential in the 1930's when the nation faced the worst Depression it had ever seen. The Church Federation worked to help churches and organizations cope with the unprecedented unemployment.


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