The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 25, 1940


Site Ed. Note: "To Grief" is likely not by Cash; the tone is not characteristic of his writing either in style or content. Yet, we include it for its portent to the times which would follow in the South of the 1950's and 1960's and as an example of the fact that African-Americans were not so passively accepting of segregated conditions in the South in 1940 and earlier as glossed history might sometimes suggest. The fact that African-Americans ultimately did not succumb to the billyclubs, the bayonets, the dogs, the hoses, and sometimes, the night-riding shotguns of Bull Connor, Lawrence Rainey and others--though such cretins never raised their heads in the North Carolina of the '50's and '60's--is brute testimony to the strength of an oppressed people and a lasting lesson to those who oppress--whether they be dressed in blue, white, red, some other other color, or not at all. The human spirit is a funny thing. It will not ultimately be overborne for long by injustice or depravity. And in the end, it is only the human race which therefore wins.


Decent Italians Must Hold Their Heads Low

For a decent man, the most shameful thing in the world this afternoon must be to be an Italian.

To be a German is a monstrous thing. It is to belong to people which has deliberately placed itself outside the common frame of humanity, the first people in history ever of its own will and accord to turn its back on the built-up decencies of thousands of years and return into barbarism. Yet even a German has one thing left to feel pride in. His people at least retain a single primitive human virtue--brute courage.

For the Italian people, like the German, there is still hope of ultimate redemption and return to the fold of the human. But at the moment there is not one thing in Italy's case on which a decent Italian can hang any shred of pride.

Her "triumph" is the triumph of a cowardly jackal hanging on the heels of the beast of prey. Her "glorious feats of arms" consist in having waited timidly opposite the French frontier until the Nazi armies could make it perfectly safe for Italians to set foot on France. Her greatest "heroes" are men who used bombs to beat down poor niggers armed only with spears, peasants of Spain armed with scythes--the murderers of women and babies. In the whole lot of them, there is not a man who has led the gallant charge with the odds equal or against him, not one who has crossed bayonets with an equal foe and proved his manhood with Sister Steel, not one who has held heroically a position against odds--not one, in short, who does not disgrace the name of soldier.

Once she was hailed as the fair mother of gentle civilization. From Chaucer through Milton to the men of yesterday, the poets of England have saluted her as their second and dearly loved home. And everywhere on earth her name was associated with beautiful and kindly things.

But now the name of Italy means the low, amoral cunning of an animal, without the courage that belongs to an animal.

And for what has she surrendered her good name and taken on this character of the creeping, vicious thing? For the resurrection of the empire of the Caesars? Hardly. She will be given such empire as Adolf Hitler sees fit to give her, which was scarcely the way the Caesars came at it. And she will hold that empire only as tenant and servant. She will hold it as a little cur holds his little bone under the shadow of a mastiff engaged for the time in gulping down more pleasing viands--in the full knowledge that when the big dog demands it, the bone will have to be given up. For the name of an empire that will not be hers--it is for that that Italy has become a traitor to humanity.

It is the final infamy.

*Old Square

New Orleans Acts To Save Its Famous French Quarter

In New Orleans, after a long fight, the city authorities have adopted an ordinance to protect the famous French Quarter from being turned into merely another commercial section. No building in the section can be modernized, painted, or modified without a special permit. And after three years all neon signs, flood lights, large signs, and other incongruous items must be gone. Stiff fines and jail terms are provided as penalties for violation.

That, of course, does not please some of the property owners in the section. Immediate occasion for the ordinance was an attempt of one property owner to tear down a celebrated old building and replace it with a parking lot.

But the theory that property rights are absolute and without obligations is of course a theory which is not based on anything the human race has ever lived by. In every city, town and village, property rights are actually subject to all kinds of qualifications. And this ordinance really announces no new principle, but simply applies exactly the same idea which has been used whereever zoning has been applied to already existing sections of the city.

And there was ample ground. America has few enough picturesque old buildings and sections, and they ought to be preserved. Moreover, as the canny New Orleannais no doubt observed, to destroy the character of the old quarter would be to deprive the city of its a single greatest attraction and so in the end mean loss to everybody.

*To Grief

These Negroes Are Making Trouble for Themselves

Those Negroes of the McDowell Street area are sending word to the police that they better look out for themselves this weekend will be well advised to haul in their horns.

If they have any claims of undue violence on the part of the police in the discharge of their duties, they should lodge them with the Civil Service Commission and that body should examine them thoroughly and dispassionately. That cops in general are sometimes inclined to get too enthusiastic in their use of force is unfortunately a fact. And the Negro is entitled to full protection from that.

But from the evidence now available, there seems to be little of that involved in this case. As the facts have been reported, a gang of tough Negroes seem to have decided that they simply aren't going to submit to police regulation and that they will make it too hot for the police to come into their neighborhood.

If such is the case, they are headed for serious trouble for themselves. They will be put down by the police, with the full backing of the community, white and black. And the sooner they understand that, the better off they are going to be.

Negroes, even tough Negroes, are entitled to justice and fair play. But an attempt to set themselves up against the police authority will get them nothing but grief.

*Man for Job

LaGuardia Is Well Fitted To Settle Labor War

If Mr. Roosevelt doesn't watch out, he is going to end up with a solid Republican Cabinet and the professional Democrats all hopping mad.

Next likely change seems to be the departure of Francis Perkins from the Labor Department. And perhaps the most probable successor is Fiorella LaGuardia, the Mayor of New York. And LaGuardia, pretty much of a maverick in politics, certainly started out in life under the Republican label.

Nevertheless, the Little Flower is easily the best man in sight for the job. One of the things the country most needs now is labor peace, for a large part of the strikes now going on are the result of nothing but jurisdictional battles between the AFL and CIO.

The ground for such a peace has been partly prepared by the action of the AFL in doing away with its tax on its membership for the purpose of carrying on the battle with CIO. And undoubtedly the rank and file, as well as most of the more intelligent leaders, want to patch up the quarrel. But both William Green and John Lewis cling to their positions stubbornly.

The Little Flower has the confidence of both sides, has been a champion of labor all his life, and moreover knows well how to be hard-boiled and to turn on the heat when it is necessary. It seems to be necessary in this case.

Poor Joke

Pranksters Should Let Nazi Flags Alone

If pranksters are responsible for such tricks as raising a Nazi flag over the Liberty Life Building, they had better understand they are engaging in a dangerous form of joking.

The outbreaks against such harmless people as the sect which calls itself Jehovah's Witnesses shows plainly enough to that the country is somewhat hysterical about anything which it supposes even smacks of unpatriotic activities. And pranksters caught at the job of raising the swastika might come in for rough handling before the police could rescue them. Playing with Nazi flags is not only in bad taste now, it is likely to give rise to disorder. And we trust that the police are able to round up those responsible for raising the flag Sunday and that they are given the full penalty for trespass.

Meantime it occurs to us that there are a good many empty flag poles around town which would look a good deal better if they had the flag of the United States flying at their tops. No prankster is likely to raise a Nazi flag if he has first to haul down the flag of the country.

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