Young Men Christian's Association

May 9, 1866


For preservation of southern values and religion, the YMCA is important for the young men of the south. The volunteering philanthropists of the North should not be trusted to teach the truth to the children of the South.


The annual meeting of this Association was held last night, the President, Colonel Lee Powell, in the chair. When the meeting was called to order, a hymn was sung, and prayer offered by the Rev. Dr. Gwathney. The President then presented the annual report the Association, an abstract of which is as follows: In giving the reasons for the present apparent want of zeal in the work of the Association, the President mentions the unsettled, unemployed condition of many of our young men as the most prominent. These noble fellows, he says, who, through years of privation and danger, illustrated all the virtues of Christian heroism, are, many of them, so impoverished as to be denied the privilege of renewing their membership with the Association, while others seem to have been so stunned by the results of the war as to have lost the energy with which to engage in even works of Christian charity. An earnest appeal is made to the business men of the city to encourage and uphold the efforts of the Association, claiming that no men in the community are more benefited than are those who employ men, in having thrown around them such influences and restraining associations us must guard their morals and keep them from the haunts of dissipation and dishonesty with which out unhappy city is now cursed. Fathers and mothers are urged to induce their sons to become members of the Association, as affording the means for cultivating all the noblest affections of the heart and of learning early the lesson of self-denial and unselfish labor for the good of others. A feeling allusion is then made to the many members of the Association who have defended, even unto death, their convictions of truth, justice, and duty, in the late war, while the surviving members are urged to take their places again in the ranks to contend against the world and the devil, both of which enemies are so busily at work in our midst. Allusion is made also to the dangerous work being done by volunteer philanthropists who, having no ignorant or poor people's children at home to need their charity, have inveigled into their traps the children of too many persons willing to have their children taught on the simple condition of paying nothing for it, and who are paying the fearful penalty of having I those children taught to hate their own homes, their own friends, their own fathers honor; and by being compelled to attend the Sunday schools taught by these self-imputed humanitarians, there hear that universalism and Unitarianism are the only true varieties of religious faith. How can any Southern man, says the report, expect his child to be taught truth, historical or religious, by persons entertaining the bitterness of feeling such stragglers do feel towards the South, or who teach the religion, not of God, but of New England?
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Brooke Beam


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“Young Men Christian's Association,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 29, 2023,