Western Fraternal Life :: Historical Archive: Convention of 1937

Historical Archive: Convention of 1937

Apr 20, 2015

sheild.jpgWith the 38th National Convention coming up in three months, it seems prudent to write about a convention that led to big changes at Western Fraternal Life. Some of the changes to the bylaws included a reorganization of the departments and employee positions at the Home Office. At the time, “employees were not in clearly defined departments with department heads.” Instead of a board of supervisors, a seven member board of directors would be elected. In addition, the work of the Home Office was organized into departments, with each of the national officers being responsible for supervising different departments. The national officers composed an executive committee, (now knows as the management team) which met to make important decisions. The executive committee was subject to the board of directors.

However, the National Office reorganization was not the only change that was suggested at the Convention in 1937. Several representatives from English-speaking lodges drafted a letter entitled, “An Open Letter to the Supreme Officers and to the Entire Membership of the Western Bohemian Fraternal Association.” The purpose of the three page letter was to discuss, “whether the younger folks (mostly English speakers) should organize in some way as to better get the full benefit and advantages of such an order as ours.”

The letter stated that the younger members felt that more needed to be done to attract younger members. These young members didn’t want to separate from the organization, rather, they felt brotherhood with their Czech-speaking fellows. Several suggestions were made and they ended the letter by stating that they weren’t making demands, but the group, which included members from each of the seven states hoped that the older lodges would cooperate for the good of the association.

The reaction of the letter was mixed. The section of the Fraternal Herald written in Czech had a number of negative responses. However, the English section was more sympathetic to the cause. For the next few months, correspondence to the Fraternal Herald (then called the Bratrsky Vestnik) held much discussion about this topic. However, not much was resolved because attention was turned elsewhere, when Germany invaded many member’s motherland, Czechoslovakia. 

Category: Czech Connection

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