The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 9, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that The News had been sold to a group of investors, headed by the new Publisher, formerly of The New York Times, Thomas L. Robinson, a native of Boston. The new stockholders would include the former Publisher, W. C. Dowd, Jr., Editor J. E. Dowd, to become Vice-President and General Manager of the newspaper, Gordon Gray, publisher of the Winston-Salem Journal and Twin City Sentinel, the Piedmont Publishing Co. of Winston-Salem, owners of the latter two organs, Robert Hanes, president of Wachovia Bank & Trust Co. of Winston-Salem, James G. Hanes, chairman of the board of Hanes Hosiery of Winston-Salem, and Francis Hipp, president of Liberty Life Insurance Co. of Greensboro, among others.

Now, therefore, you're going to find out your unawares—as if you thought that you have not already been doing so. No more hiding it from the kids. Mr. Robinson is now in charge. He can see in the dark, too.

A piece provides the 58-year history of The News, previously a sole proprietorship under founder Wade Hampton Harris from 1888-93, then purchased in July, 1893 by W. C. Dowd, Sr., four years out of law school at Wake Forest, who had first become a teacher and then made $5,000 on cotton futures, enough to buy the newspaper. From that point forward, it had been a family-owned enterprise of the Dowds.

The paper made back a gross of $14.90 in the first month after Mr. Dowd purchased it. He persisted, however, by accepting hams and chickens in exchange for subscriptions, and clothing, coffee, and shoes for advertising space.

W. C. Dowd, Jr., was born in 1893 and J. E. Dowd, in 1899. By 1900, the circulation of the newspaper was 3,085, in a county of 55,000 people and a city of 18,000. By 1906, the circulation had jumped to nearly 5,000. The Associated Press wire reports were added during the latter interim. By 1910, with the city's population at 34,000, the circulation was 6,500.

Eventually, the newspaper achieved the highest circulation of any afternoon daily in the two Carolinas.

A more thorough account of the history is located herein, both from the fiftieth anniversary edition of November 15, 1938, and the sixtieth anniversary edition of December 11, 1948.

One of the new investors in the newspaper, Gordon Gray, would in 1947 be appointed Assistant Secretary of the Army and become Secretary of the Army in 1949. He would succeed Frank Porter Graham as president of UNC in 1950 when Dr. Graham was appointed to the Senate seat of deceased Senator J. Melville Broughton. Mr. Gray would be appointed by President Eisenhower in 1958 as National Security Adviser and would serve on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under President Kennedy, then successively in the same capacity under Presidents Johnson and Nixon.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved the appointment of O. Max Gardner as Ambassador to Great Britain. The appointment would go before the full Senate the following day.

Representative Francis Case of South Dakota, sponsor of the previously vetoed Case bill of the prior June, had introduced a new labor bill to enjoin unions from strikes which endangered the public welfare and made employers and employees liable for unfair labor practices.

Senator W. Lee "Pass the Biscuits, Pappy" O'Daniel of Texas introduced a bill to end rent control by February 1. Several Senators declared their support, while others believed rent control should continue but that landlords should be able to raise rent by 10 to 15 percent. The Government had just issued a decision to terminate controls on room rates for motels and hotels as of February 15, precipitating the move to end all rent controls.

Governor Gregg Cherry, in his biennial message, addressed the North Carolina Legislature, asking for a twenty percent salary increase for teachers and State employees.

The General Assembly turned back an effort to amend the rules to abandon the requirement of a two-thirds majority of the body to end debate.

In Nuremberg, two German defense lawyers wanted three American meals per day, contending that the lawyers received that regimen at the original trial the previous year through October 1. They complained that they were fed only one American meal, at lunchtime, and German food otherwise, consisting of ersatz coffee and black bread for breakfast.

In Centerville, Tenn., two young men, ages 19 and 20, allegedly had, on Tuesday night, tied a man to a tree and used him for target practice, killing him, after he had given them a ride. The two were caught in Alabama the same night and returned to Nashville for trial.

In Chicago, a large icicle fell 75 feet from the roof of the Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corp. onto a workman, killing him instantly after piercing his skull.

Be careful where you work.

Also in Chicago, a woman charged with grand theft refused to come to court from her jail cell. Bailiffs said she was on a hunger strike. The judge ordered her case transferred to "psychopathic court".

But does that not mean it remained in the same division? Maybe there was a schism in the Chicago courts of the time.

On the editorial page, "Of Change and Continuity" pays tribute to departing Publisher William Carey Dowd, Jr., head of the newspaper for nearly twenty years, since September, 1927 when the father of Mr. Dowd and younger brother J. E. Dowd had passed away. The piece says that Mr. Dowd had enjoyed the respect of his writers and editors throughout the period.

A family enterprise since 1892, the newspaper had always been conducted first as a public trust, then as a means of earning a livelihood.

The sale would not affect these basic principles, it assured, as that had been a stipulated part of the conditions of sale.

The new Publisher, Mr. Robinson, had been schooled at The New York Times under Adolph Ochs, (great-grandfather to current Times publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr.), and his assistant Louis Wiley, had worked in the advertising, circulation, and news departments.

Mr. Robinson had been living in Charlotte for several weeks as the details of the sale were being finalized, had gained in that period acquaintance with the community. The newspaper would continue under his leadership in the same vein as it had under the Dowd family.

"'The Art of the Possible....'" leaves to the historians to determine whether Secretary of State Byrnes ended his tenure in victory or defeat. Practicing "the art of the possible", as he termed it, he had come into the position in the wake of the establishment of the U.N. in June, 1945, had quickly come to conclude that it was impossible to cooperate with the Soviets, and now left the position 18 months later with a world divided into two spheres, East and West, a failure in terms of the goals of the United Nations, but a victory in terms of what Mr. Byrnes had sought to accomplish, making it clear to the Russians that the U.S. would stand against any expansionist goals of the U.S.S.R.

No one would quarrel, it posits, with the selection of General George C. Marshall as the successor to Mr. Byrnes. Every decision made by the State Department at present was based on military potential. As wartime chief of staff of the Army, General Marshall had shown a dedication to democratic ideals and flexibility of mind—perhaps because he insisted on a daily fifteen-minute nap after lunch.

It might be regretted that the times demanded a military man as Secretary of State, but if it was required, there was no better choice than General Marshall.

"Another Point for the Cynics" tells of the resolution of the lottery case in Superior Court against the two alleged kingpins, winding up in pleas of nolo contendere and $2,500 fines apiece. The judge did not see fit to impose jail time.

It completed a travesty of a trial in which the key prosecution witness, Carl Vann, had absconded the jurisdiction claiming it to be for his own safety, was returned by the police, took the stand after having his Fifth Amendment argument rejected presumably for absence of jeopardy, then professed lack of faith in God, thus causing the judge to rule that he was incompetent to testify. The piece asserts that such a procedure would afford the basis for anyone to avoid testimony simply by proclaiming to be an atheist.

Which is why, incidentally, many jurisdictions allow oath or affirmation as a means of swearing to tell the truth, the affirmation not requiring the placing of the hand on the Bible or the utterance, "so help me God", (rather requiring "cross my heart and hope to die, no fingers behind my back, honest Injun", or words to that effect).

Another witness had disappeared either to Mexico or Cuba; no one was sure which.

The whole affair confirmed the cynics who believed that the lottery would continue to thrive despite the attempt to bust it in the revolving door of the courts.

In fairness to the particular judge, he likely afforded some leeway to Mr. Vann because of appreciation of his ingenuous concern that his testimony could land him at the bottom of the Yadkin River. Better a live lottery than a dead State's witness on conviction of two "kingpins" whose surrogates would have been back at the numbers racket within days of their incarceration.

Drew Pearson tells of the reasons for the shift in U.S. commanders in Germany from General Joseph McNarney to Lt. General Lucius Clay. General Clay had visited the National Association of Manufacturers a few weeks earlier, shortly after the Senate War Investigating Committee had sent its investigator George Meader to Germany to look into reports of poor soldier performance and morale in the American occupation zone. General Clay was displeased with the report and spoke with Secretary Byrnes of resigning because General McNarney was responsible for the problems while General Clay, head of the Military Government, was receiving the blame.

NAM told General Clay that if the major U.S. companies could get in touch with the German cartels, I. G. Farben and Opel, for instance, they could have Germany back on its feet in short order. General Clay adamantly opposed any such arrangement and threatened to resign if it were to be approved by the State Department. He informed NAM that the Germans did not understand free enterprise, that German industry could only exist under strict governmental controls.

Secretary Byrnes supported General Clay and urged the War Department to appoint him to replace General McNarney. The GOP leaders on Capitol Hill had agreed with this recommendation.

Secretary Byrnes had delivered a third diplomatic note to the Russians demanding repayment of its eleven-billion dollar lend-lease debt. The first two notes had been ignored, and so the Secretary had Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith hand deliver it to Foreign Commissar Molotov, who stated he would see that Prime Minister Stalin received it. It was still too early to expect a reply.

Speaker of the House Joe Martin had taken a firm stand in the Republican caucus against any attempts to change the Reorganization Bill passed by the 79th Congress and signed into law. An effort had been afoot to avoid combining the House Naval Affairs Committee with the Military Affairs Committee, as prescribed by the statute.

He next tells of the visit to the United States by former Brazilian Ambassador and Foreign Minister Oswaldo Aranha, a traditional friend of the U.S. He had traveled the country by car from coast to coast and thus knew it well, had attended both the Republican and Democratic political conventions in the past, and never missed the Kentucky Derby. He was planning to speak during the week in Cleveland.

Mr. Pearson suggests that if he spoke candidly, he would say that the Good Neighbor policy of the Roosevelt years had cooled, that Communist support had risen in Latin America, that the U.S. could not purchase friendship through the Export-Import Bank or effect a return to dollar diplomacy, and would have to work at good neighborliness.

Marquis Childs discusses the tone of President Truman's State of the Union address the previous Monday, describing it as academic and dry, coupled with the wistful hope of unity from the extant political division. His proposals were bound to be ignored where they differed from the intent of the Republican majority.

Senator Taft had already enunciated his position on a new labor bill, to be a more stringent version of the Case bill, vetoed the prior June. And it would be Senator Taft who effectively controlled the Senate.

The President wanted tough enforcement of anti-trust laws, expansion of immigration to admit displaced persons from Europe, a bill for adequate medical care at an affordable cost, taxes to remain at their current levels, and an aggressive long-term housing program.

Only two of the President's 21 recommendations of 1946, however, had been passed by the 79th Congress, the full employment bill, albeit diluted, and the bill to establish the Atomic Energy Commission under civilian control. Thus, the election of the previous November merely provided the de jure basis for what already was a de facto conservative majority in the Congress. The President faced much the same opposition to his program as previously.

The responsibility during the ensuing two years would rest with the Republican majority in Congress, as they effectively controlled the direction of policy. That was the real import of the President's message.

Samuel Grafton seeks to provide some terminology to characterize the President's speech, whether it was liberal or conservative. It was some of both, he concludes, a liberal speech "put through a conservative mangle." Perhaps, he speculates, it was a statement of a new ideology in American politics, centrism. Centrism was usually of the right, except when called upon to fight a depression or other calamity, in which case it temporarily transformed to the left. The Truman message was liberalism without the glow and conservatism without animus.

This new centrism was not anti-labor but also not for labor, rather speaking to labor, asking its cooperation to avoid strict legislation to control it. The President talked of housing and health, but without the vigor and vision of his predecessor.

Nevertheless, it might become a kind of manifesto for a new center movement, one large enough to include Thomas Dewey or even Robert Taft, which would be a step toward political maturity in the country, eliminating the unreasonable extremes of the right which had largely dominated in the past.

Much would depend on how hard Mr. Truman was willing to fight for his program, a resolve lacking in the past. The rest would depend on whether the right of the Congressional membership would be willing to move as much toward the center as had the liberals during the past several months.

A letter from a "Disgusted Working Gal" blows off steam about all the attention being paid by the press to mistreated British war brides when they got to America, neglecting stories of the brides who, once arriving, found America not to their liking, returning home, leaving their betrothed high and dry. She thinks the brides complaining about receipt of only $4 per day on which to live when they were unable to connect with their American husbands, ought instead go to work or find a hotel cheaper than $80 per week. This writer says that she could not afford such accommodations.

Their complaint of being mistreated by clerks in stores and waiters in restaurants was misplaced. No one could know they were war brides and Americans also received shabby service in such establishments.

She concludes by saying that she had lived on $4 per day for several years and remained "fat and sassy".

The editors clarify that Red Cross officials in New York had stated that they had assisted no more than 30 stranded war brides since the end of the war, and none of the assistance included $80 per week hotel rooms.

A letter inquires whether the "Youth for Christ Movement" which was currently advertising in Charlotte was the same organization which reactionary Gerald L. K. Smith had professed to support.

The editors respond that they did not know, but that the organization did not appear to endorse anti-Semitism as did Mr. Smith.

A letter writer expresses the feeling that Senator Bilbo had something going for him based on the writer having read that a Russian Jewish immigrant had paid out $20,000 to try to defeat him for re-election.

The editors respond that they were not surprised, but depressed at the expression. Under the writer's logic, Stalin would find support for being opposed by Hitler.


The Belo House in Salem, N.C., top, circa 1966, bottom, circa 1859, built by Edward Belo in 1849

Despite coming of age in this burg, for the most part, not far from the estate known as Graylyn, a fact which we never knew until this date is that one of Edward Belo's sons, Alfred Horatio Belo, a colonel in the Confederate Army, wounded at each of the battles of Gettysburg and Cold Harbor, built a similar home, still extant, in Dallas, Texas, when he moved there after the war. In 1885, at age 46, A. H. Belo established the Dallas Morning News with George Bannerman Dealey, after whom is named Dealey Plaza, the location of The Dallas Morning News, as it was in 1963, on Commerce Street. The Belo House in downtown Dallas is on Ross Street, nine blocks east and one block north of the former Texas School Book Depository Building.

Incidentally, as we have stated several times, anyone who thinks Lyndon Johnson had anything to do with the assassination of President Kennedy is patently insane, a liar, a con artist of the Nixon camp, or all three operating at once. To anyone who thinks for just a moment, the scenario is preposterous in the premises. Nor is it at all true, as posited in the documentary to which we link above, that President Kennedy had any inclination to take Vice-President Johnson off the ticket in 1964. If that had occurred, he could have written off Texas, and, therefore, in all probability, hope of re-election. Why then bother to go to Texas in November, 1963 on a party healing trip? Nor was there any suggestion at the time that the Billie Sol Estes matter or the Bobby Baker matter would touch the Vice-President directly. That is revisionist poppycock, to put it mildly. There were jokes and songs, not evidence. If having even a scintilla of foresight of the assassination, why would the Vice-President have allowed his old friend John Connally to ride in the seat immediately in front of the President? Do you see?

Not so improbable or far-fetched at all, unfortunately, for Mr. Nixon. Indeed, more probable than not, if not beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty. Again, why was he in Dallas at the time, coincident with the President's visit? knowing that his presence would rekindle emotions over a rumored stolen election in 1960, amid a right-wing atmosphere already charged with anti-Kennedy rhetoric and animus. Start there and the rest is easy.

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