On this day 103 years ago, the iconically bad-ass Carrie Nation passed away just nine years before her hope for a ban on alcohol went into effect under Prohibition. Carrie’s aversion to alcohol was more than a little personal as her first husband may have enjoyed a drink or two way too often dying from alcoholism just one year after the birth of their first child. She subsequently ended up in Kansas, a state struggling to enforce their pre-prohibition ban on liquor. So along with her second husband, she began a local chapter of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, a group focused on mobilizing communities against the sale and consumption of alcohol. But like so many social advocates, Carrie became frustrated with her lack of impact. Rather than bottling that frustration Carrie found a release, one she claimed was a call from God.
Carrie is now infamous for her hatchet wielding attacks on saloon’s and alcohol serving establishments throughout Kansas. And yes, I did say hatchet. And despite being arrest over 30 times, Carrie became feared for her bar smashing antics. Pretty bad ass right? With her legend growing, bars across the counties started posting signs reading “All Nations Welcome But Carrie” as a symbol of their defiance. Something tells me that only pissed her off more!
It may seem odd for a group like ours to tout Carrie being that we clearly don’t see eye to eye with her on booze, but it’s her passion and lunatic methodologies that made the Prohibition era such a fascinating part of US history, and acts as a guiding light for what makes us just a bit Nobler. In simpler terms, Carrie helps keep us in check and for that we honor her:
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