The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 20, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Greenville, S.C., near Pickens, in which the lynching Monday of Willie Earle had taken place, signed statements had been taken of eleven taxi drivers from Greenville, leading to the arrests of fourteen men for the lynching. Authorities had seized a cab in which blood was found, believed to be that of Mr. Earle. The lynching had reportedly occurred at the hands of Greenville taxi drivers incensed by the death of a fellow taxi driver on Sunday morning after he had been stabbed during a robbery, allegedly committed by Mr. Earle, on Saturday night.

The piece states that the taxi driver had died on Monday, five hours after Mr. Earle was lynched at around 5:00 a.m. But the earlier report on Monday implied, albeit ambiguously, that the driver had died at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. The actual point of death of the cab driver, before the abduction and lynching or afterward, could make a difference in establishing grounds for the lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter, that is a killing committed during the heat of passion where the extent of provocation and the cooling time become germane to establish the lesser offense and thus reduce the amount of time to be spent either in the cooler or, as the case may be, awaiting the literal or proverbial hot seat. That the cab driver had been wounded but not yet mortally might attenuate the necessary mitigation requisite for such a verdict by a jury of twelve good and true operating within the law. In the instant case, of course, it would ultimately not be relevant to the jury in any event.

British Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced that Britain intended by June, 1948 to turn India over to self-rule by a responsible Indian Government, ending Britain's 200-year rule. The Opposition in the House of Lords denounced the decision as an abandonment of India at a time when it needed British guidance. Field Marshal Lord Wavell was recalled as Viceroy to India and in his stead was appointed Admiral Viscount Mountbatten. Winston Churchill demanded an explanation for the dismissal of Lord Wavell.

House Republicans passed a rule which forbade amendments to the proposed resolution cutting the budget by six billion dollars. Democrats shouted "gag" and "czarist rule" in response. Former House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas stated that if the resolution were passed, it would mean cutting relief for millions of Europeans, desperately in need of the aid.

A subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to outlaw portal-to-portal pay, except where an agreement specifically allowed it. The bill purported to apply to back pay as well.

In Los Angeles, at least 30 persons were killed and 100 injured when a two-story brick building housing the O'Connor Electro-Plating Corp. exploded, wrecking an area four blocks square. Residents as far away as 70 blocks reported broken windows from the explosion.

Someone must have mistaken a cathode for an anode.

The State Senate took up legislation to provide for semi-annual inspections of motor vehicles, a maximum 50-mph speed limit, and renewal of drivers' licenses every four years. The bill also specified the grounds for suspension of the driving privilege. Violations of the speed limit entailed under the bill up to six months in jail and fines up to $500, with higher penalties authorized for subsequent offenses, up to eighteen months in jail and up to a $2,000 fine for driving in excess of 75 mph. The safety inspections would cost one dollar. License renewal would cost two dollars.

A State House committee approved a measure outlawing the closed shop.

Burke Davis of The News tells of the State Hospital system expecting to be able to move soon into the Camp Butner facility near Durham, under a temporary lease recently authorized by the War Assets Administration, with acquisition of the facility pending shortly. The facility would allow for 3,500 new beds for the mentally ill, about half of which to be installed immediately.

Attorney General and future Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark arrived in Charlotte to speak at a dinner in honor of Brotherhood Week, to be held this night at the Hotel Charlotte. He spoke earlier to the Mecklenburg County Bar Association and stated that the Department of Justice, assisted by the Commerce Department and Federal Trade Commission, was not on a witchhunt but was trying, through a process of positive education of businesses, to make competitive those areas of the economy over which two or three large companies had obtained monopolies.

In Chelmsford, England, the Mayor was fined $100 for holding a banquet the previous November consisting of five courses in celebration of his victory in the election. Rationing limited meals to three courses.

Despite snow falling in Washington, the President took his usual two-mile morning constitutional through the downtown streets, beginning at 6:40 a.m. and returning at 7:15.

Freezing rain was scheduled to fall in Charlotte during the night, turning to clear skies, however, by the following day. The low would be about 27 degrees during the morning hours. Bundle up.

In Hollywood, Erroll Flynn arrived from Kingston, Jamaica, with his left foot in a cast, to be with his wife, Nora, who was expecting any minute their second child.

Ah woe, ah me.

On the editorial page, "More to Be Pitied Than Censured" suggests that there was more about which to congratulate GOP leaders for coming to grips with reality than to invite condemnation for not meeting the promise of wholesale budget cuts on which they had campaigned the previous fall. Even House Ways and Means Committee chairman Ralph Knutson of Minnesota had announced the previous week that the chances of success for his proposed 20 percent across-the-board tax cut were now gone with the wind because of the inability of the Republicans to agree on a six-billion dollar cut to the President's proposed budget, necessitating a two-billion dollar reduction in national defense.

The New Deal accounted for less than ten percent of the budget. The rest was allocated to retirement of the war debt, veterans, and defense. The Republicans had agreed on a reduction of about 4.5 billion dollars. While there was plenty of room for making the Government more efficient, it could not be accomplished by merely lopping off a million employees and slashing departmental budgets in wholesale fashion.

But the public needed to bear in mind that the money spent on New Deal programs, for all the criticism for supposedly gargantuan public spending and waste, was but chicken feed when compared to that necessarily appropriated for preparation for and fighting a war.

"The Filibuster Question Again" reports of the effort by the Senate Rules Committee to eliminate the filibuster by allowing cloture on a majority vote. Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina and other Southerners wanted the two-thirds majority rule retained to protect the rights of the South.

The piece suggests that the filibuster was a weapon of dubious merit, undemocratic in its premises. A filibuster was not debate but rather killing a bill through wasting time—the very word deriving from the French filibustier, meaning freebooter or pirate. It had for many years been the exclusive province of Southern Senators, utilizing it to exert control on the Democratic Party.

Such stands conveyed the notion that Southern Senators viewed their constituents as being Southerners first and Americans second. The piece states that it was tired of seeing the white South portrayed as a minority, needing the protection of such undemocratic devices to stand against the will of the American people.

"In the Cause of Brotherhood" tells of the city's four distinguished guest speakers, including Attorney General Tom Clark, speaking at a dinner sponsored by the North Carolina chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in honor of Brotherhood Week, former Governor Melville Broughton, who would present the annual Brotherhood Award to University of North Carolina president Frank Porter Graham, and Lamar Caudle of North Carolina, Assistant U.S. Attorney General, who would be guest of honor at the dinner. All four men were Southerners who had championed the cause of racial tolerance, and from within their native region.

The piece suggests that should they honestly assess the region of late, they would have to take into account the lynching of Willie Earle in Pickens the previous Monday and the revival in Georgia and Alabama of the all-white primary. But they could also remark favorably on the fact that the South was still fighting the battle against intolerance, as in the case of Homer Loomis, who had come to Georgia to spread the seeds of Fascism in the form of his Columbians, Inc., and been convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to a year in jail.

Governor Gregg Cherry had reminded that a constructive attitude was not enough and that brotherhood had to be sought every day of the year. Failure at the task, the piece reminds, would lead inexorably to destruction.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "The Vindication of Lili Marlene", tells of the ironic impact of the song "Lili Marlene" on the soldiers during the war, at first seeming to be the embodiment of loyal accompaniment from the girl they had left back home, then, as time wore on and contemplation replaced some part of the airy realm of sentiment, appearing more instead as the girl longing for her Nazi. The soldier stopped whistling the tune, but it nevertheless remained in his head, now, instead of conjuring the image of the girl he left behind, suggesting her as the girl to be captured and liberated, and of whom to be sung in that manner.

Recently, a report had come that French music publisher Philip Pares had been cleared of collaboration with the Nazis. The Nazis had seized his firm, along with all its music, including "Lili Marlene", the music of which having been written by a German and its words by a Frenchman. The Nazis, therefore, never had it, it concludes, until they had stolen it.

Drew Pearson tells of the continuing Buck Rogers science being manifested in the atomic age, one such experiment involving setting up of a hydrogen chain reaction within the crust of the earth, one which could be contained at the borders of a given country. Such a chain reaction, if set off, could mean the end of a country the size of Russia, burning up the entire country. The scientists warned that no country had a monopoly on knowledge, that the United States merely had a head start.

President Truman had stated he would back to the hilt the nomination of David Lilienthal as chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

Almost the entire Cabinet would speak at a dinner to be given by Florida Democrats to raise money for the election of President Truman in 1948.

Former president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, presently the chief censor in Hollywood, Eric Johnston, had paid a visit to President Truman to support continuation of the reciprocal trade agreements. Mr. Johnston, a Republican, had been mentioned as a dark horse candidate for the 1948 Republican presidential nomination. He told the President that without continuation of the agreements, the country would perforce revert to isolationism and barter, effectively threatening world peace. The President heartily agreed with everything he heard.

Mr. Pearson next imparts the "top secret" telegram sent to David Lilienthal on Valentine's Day by his 22-year old daughter, written in verse.


When Goliath snarls at Little Dave,
Just remember this—
Uranium supreme within my heart,
My Atomic Valentine,
I'm smitten with a nuclear dart,
Just say that you are mine.

She concluded:

Here now is My Secret Mission—
I love U235!

There is some kind of code definitely being transmitted there which we think the Senators ought explore, especially that "uranium supreme", possibly the worst play on words ever publicly printed in the history of the English language, thus obviously intended as some cryptic, benighted sleight of inditement.

But just one question: What would happen when she reached 35? The statement appears pregnant with the implication that she might become a free radical, or at least another toper on the rocks.

Her verse, we suggest, might have been improved had she come up with the line at the appropriate time, "Your love and mine are sealed with a geranium kiss."

Marquis Childs compares the confirmation hearings regarding David Lilienthal for the chairmanship of the Atomic Energy Commission to those of Justice-designate Louis Brandeis in 1916, when Republicans attacked the latter as a Communist and Socialist for daring to inveigh against the concentration of wealth in the country. Former President William Howard Taft had been among those who stated that he believed Mr. Brandeis was unfit to serve on the Court. After his confirmation, Justice Brandeis became one of the renowned jurists on the Court, standing for the preservation of civil liberties and championing the dignity of the individual against the horde. Behind the attack was racism, as in the present attack on Mr. Lilienthal.

The Republican conservatives had upset the liberal faction of the party by appearing to take orders from the Southern conservative Democrats on the confirmation. Senator Wallace White of Maine, the Majority Leader, sought the sapient approval of Senator Kenneth McKellar before giving his speech before the Atomic Energy Committee attacking Mr. Lilienthal. Especially estranged from his party was Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, who flatly told Mr. White that he did not speak for some liberal Republicans. Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire was another Republican liberal who appeared to be for the confirmation of Mr. Lilienthal.

Thus, approval of the nomination remained in limbo. At stake was the preservation of control of atomic power in the hands of civilians. For if Mr. Lilienthal's nomination failed, the President would be unable to find any qualified person to serve in the post, four others having turned it down prior to Mr. Lilienthal accepting the appointment. The chairmanship would be left to someone too weak to resist continued military domination of atomic energy.

Senator Morse had made a forceful speech in favor of Mr. Lilienthal and warned that the Republicans might risk losing the 1948 election should they persist along the path of reaction as in the 1920's. He had even suggested that Hitler had, after all, won the war.

Harold Ickes again discusses the two-term limit amendment which had passed the House and was now before the Senate prior to being sent to the states for ratification. He begins by telling of the myth that President Washington had not believed in more than two terms for the President. In fact, in 1788, prior to ratification on June 21 of that year, he had told La Fayette that he differed with his position and that of Thomas Jefferson to limit the presidency to one term, believing instead that there should be no term limit. A proposal had been put forth to the Constitutional Convention that the President should have only one four-year or six-year term. General Washington, as president of the Convention, consistently sided with James Madison in being against any such term limit. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, though the latter not a delegate to the Convention, were both in favor of a one-term presidency.

He informs that many previous attempts to amend the Constitution to implement a term limit had failed. The people had prerogative to impose a limit if they wanted one, but should not be stampeded by false arguments based on the views of the Founders.

He points out that in the fall of 1939, when there was afoot a rumor that President Roosevelt might be nominated for a third term the following year, Senator Arthur Vandenberg had written in Liberty Magazine against any such term limit and argued that there were times when it would be appropriate to elect a President to a third term.

Three more letters thank the newspaper for the special issue of the previous week on North Carolina's Good Health Program.

A letter agrees generally with the article in the newspaper which had favored the proposed teacher merit experiment to gauge salary levels consistent with performance. The writer questions, however, whether such a merit system would be manipulated to weed out black teachers and practice discrimination. It had been stated that the tests would be evaluated on a numbered basis to avoid any such taint, but he suspects that there might be some method by which the riggers might rack it to penetrate the opacity ordinarily afforded in neutrality by the numbers.

The editors remind that the North Carolina educational system had been one of the few in the South to establish equal pay for black teachers and it foresaw therefore no danger of use of the merit system to discriminate by race.

A letter from the secretary-treasurer of the Commercial Telegraphers' Union Local 44 of Charlotte tells of the union having launched a drive to prevent Western Union from closing several offices which company officials claimed were not generating sufficient profits. They were also seeking to block the effort to divert relay traffic from Charlotte, which would adversely impact 150 employees, causing them to have to relocate.

We must apologize, incidentally, for what we reported a week ago. We inadvertently misstated last Wednesday the score of the basketball game between our alma mater and its chief rival, located twelve miles away. The game which took place last Wednesday night, despite there being a rumor at the time that it might be postponed for eight days because of the inclement weather preventing the visiting team's bus from reaching our school's gymnasium, did not in fact conclude when the score was 68-62 in favor of our school, as we then believed.

The problem lay in the fact that we turned off the transmission lines with 47 seconds remaining in that contest, at which point the score was 68-62 in favor of our school, after the visitors, leading with 15 minutes to play by a score of 51-40, suddenly went cold, until the score was finally tied at 60—possibly a function of the dogsled transportation which the visitors were forced to utilize to reach the gymnasium. At the point at which the score reached 68-62, we heard someone say, through the static, "The game is over." And, naturally, we thought the game was over, so disconnected the transmission lines. But, in fact, there were 47 seconds still remaining at that juncture. The final score actually was 74-66 in favor of our school. We wish to amend that misstatement, therefore, as we would not wish to be the purveyor of false information.

We see that there is some silly rumor floating about that the game was in fact played this night, having been postponed because of the snow of last week. That, of course, as we know, being of the cognoscenti, is sheer nonsense. What was seen tonight was simply a re-broadcast, as anyone could tell.

How else would we have known the precise result, at least at the temporal intersection coincident with 47 seconds remaining in the contest? Past posting?

It was played last Wednesday. We saw it. Don't let them tell you otherwise. They like to play games with your mind.

By the way, only twice before has our team ever been involved in a basketball game with a final score of 68-62. The first was December 17, 1955, against Maryland, and the other was against South Carolina, on February 26, 1969, both winning efforts, the latter being a revenge match following an earlier two-point loss which we unfortunately had witnessed a night before that big snow the same month. Never before in the history of the sport at the school has any game ended in the score 74-66, until February 12, 2014.

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