The Charlotte News

Friday, May 23, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Geneva, the Balkans investigating committee reported to the U.N. Security Council that Yugoslavia was primarily responsible for supporting guerrilla warfare in Greece and recommended that the Security Council condemn the action as a threat to peace. The report also put lesser blame on Bulgaria and Albania, as well as conditions within Greece as a contributing factor. Only Russia and Poland had dissented from the report.

It was believed that the report's recommendations would be vetoed in the Council by Russia.

In Jackson, N.C., a group of about six masked, armed men took Buddy Bush, a 24-year old black man being held on a charge of attempted criminal assault on a white woman, from the county jail at 2:00 a.m. Mr. Bush had been arrested that night. The men had threatened the jailer in order to get him to relinquish Mr. Bush. The Sheriff expressed the fear that a lynching may have taken place. Governor Gregg Cherry ordered the State Bureau of Investigation and the Highway Patrol to the area to search for the men and Mr. Bush.

Fortunately, Mr. Bush would be able to escape and was not lynched.

The report indicates that the last attempted lynching in the state had occurred in Roxboro in 1942, seeking a man accused of criminal assault. The would-be lynchers, it notes, were caught and convicted.

That incident actually had occurred August 15, 1941. Only five of the mob were convicted and in July, 1942, Governor Melville Broughton wound up paroling those men, none of whom were organizers of the mob, following 90 days in jail.

Many newspapers across the nation had condemned the verdict of acquittal in Greenville, S.C., of the 28 defendants who had lynched Willie Earle. The New Orleans Times-Picayune heavily criticized the verdict. It found that the claims by defense counsel of Northern interference were completely without merit. But it also expressed that there had been a victory for the law, in that a trial had been held which was fair and reasonable, even if the jury had not been. It might send a message at least to instill fear in future lynch mobs, that they could no longer act without exposure to the criminal justice system, and the chance that one day a jury might convict.

The New York Herald-Tribune had made similar comments. The Chicago Tribune stated that Greenville had given good propaganda to the Communists. The Washington Post found the jury to have seen themselves in the defendants and discovered nothing wrong with their actions. The Minneapolis Times concluded that justice was dead in Greenville and a mockery had been made of equality under the law. The St. Paul Dispatch found "mob rule" to prevail in Greenville. The Denver Post described it as a "national disgrace". The St. Louis Post-Dispatch asserted that justice could not prevail until a jury would sit whose members were not misled or frightened. The Atlanta Journal found it a verdict for "anarchy" and that the law had been lynched. The Spartanburg Herald found it giving rise to a "soul-searching experience" among the local populace and proof that something was wrong in the state.

A Superior Court Judge in San Francisco, Sylvain Lazarus, took time out to tell his courtroom that the acquittal was an "atrocity" which deserved the attention of all American people. He called the lynchers "White Russians".

It was, in the end, poor white trash acquitting poor white trash, all stupid and dumb as pitch, too dumb to live. Take a look at the photograph on the page of the celebrant defendants and their families, including a smiling Carlos Hurd who blew off Willie Earle's head with a shotgun after he had been beaten nearly to death by several of the other men, and you will see what we mean. Remember that there was no doubt that these men were murderers. They openly and brazenly had admitted their participation in the mob. Calling them scum of the earth does an injustice to scum.

Former House Sergeant-at-Arms Kenneth Romney, convicted of concealing $144,000 in shortages in the House Bank account, was sentenced to one to three years in Federal prison. The judge found mitigating factors in that the shortage had first occurred many years earlier and that former Congressman John Smithwick of Florida had been primarily responsible for it.

The House Appropriations Committee urged that the Agriculture Department's budget be cut by a third.

Democrats contested Republican contentions that they had cut the President's budget by 642 million dollars by ordering the Treasury to cancel that amount in Consumer Credit Corporation notes based on losses incurred in wartime food subsidy payments. Senator Walter George of Georgia stated that the move did not even amount to a cut on paper. Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire countered that the President's 37.5 billion dollar budget for the year had included 830 million to reimburse CCC for the losses and so did amount to a reduction in the budget. The Republicans were aiming for a 4.5 billion dollar cut, including substantial cuts in the Army and Navy budgets.

Former Vice-President Henry Wallace, after speaking in California, in Los Angeles and Berkeley, headed to Seattle to begin a speaking tour of Washington.

In Leeds, England, the brother of King George VI, the Earl of Harewood, 64, was reported to be ill with heart trouble and bronchial asthma. He would in fact expire this date.

On the editorial page, "A Failure and a Triumph" remarks on the prosecutor having told the jury in the trial of the 28 remaining defendants accused of murdering Willie Earle that the jury was the conscience of South Carolina. With the acquittal, that conscience could be regarded as flexible enough to accept a "brutal and unwarranted act".

The trial, it offers, was beyond criticism. The verdict was the result of ingrained prejudice which defied both the laws of God and of South Carolina.

The judge had instructed the jury not to consider racial prejudice in their deliberations. But the outcome proved that the black man did not have equality before the law in South Carolina.

It praises law enforcement and the prosecution for efficiently bringing the case to trial. But it appeared not possible, either in Federal court or in State court in South Carolina, to obtain a verdict of guilty for lynching, no matter how strong the evidence for guilt. The acquittal the previous November, incidentally, of Police Chief Linwood Shull of Batesburg, S.C., for the blinding of Isaac Woodard during a beating with a police baton the prior February had been in Federal District Court. As we reminded then, the state and Federal juries are drawn from the same basic population pool, even if the Federal jury comes from a larger district within the state than a county unit.

The editorial concludes that the trial was a failure in terms of retribution for the crime, but a success in terms of the trial itself. Yet prejudice stood as a barrier between the ideal and its realization.

It should be noted that Editor Harry Ashmore, who, the front page informs, authored the piece, was from Greenville originally. Whether he was related to Robert Ashmore, one of the two prosecutors in the case, is not known. Robert Ashmore subsequently was elected to Congress in 1952 and served until 1969.

"Preview of the Stassen Doctrine" looks at former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen's view of foreign policy, presenting an alternative to the Truman Doctrine in that he proposed more aid, but advocating that it be exclusively directed toward reconstruction and not military ends. He would, however, attach contingencies to the aid and would not prop up dictatorships solely because they were opposed to Communism. He would condition the loans on long-term commitments to economic freedom and free access by Americans to all recipient countries, plus a mandate for support for the U.N. He did not rule out Russian participation as did the Truman Doctrine.

Mr. Stassen was becoming a plausible heir to the Willkie approach of "one world" and was a believer that a better world could be achieved by means other than raw force.

"Mr. Hoover Reveals a Secret" apologizes for having previously believed that former President Hoover had merely been posing for pictures to attract votes while fishing. He had recently stated that there were only two ways a President could obtain privacy, either by going to church or by going fishing. He had chosen the latter as his form of escape. The piece thinks that every President ought have some means by which he could obtain privacy. President Roosevelt had his stamp collection; President Truman had his poker game. So President Hoover had his fishing, which was apparently a legitimate pursuit after all.

Drew Pearson again discusses the secret court martial proceedings of Lt. Commander Edward Little for his role in reporting to the Japanese captors various infractions by American prisoners of war, winding up in many beatings and two American deaths.

He provides excerpts from affidavits which were used in the trials of the the two Japanese camp commanders who were found guilty of war crimes and executed by an American tribunal. The affidavits set forth the conduct of Lt. Commander Little.

Marquis Childs, still in Albany, N.Y., discusses the New York anti-discrimination law which Governor Dewey had pushed through the Legislature, with the considerable aid of former majority leader of the State Senate and now U.S. Senator Irving Ives. The law had teeth, providing for fines and misdemeanor charges against anyone found to be violating its prohibitions against employment discrimination. It also barred any union which systematically applied discrimination, as in the case of the AFL Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, which had voted to bar blacks from its membership and had to reverse the policy to avoid being ousted from New York.

The law set up a permanent commission with five members and 50 employees to investigate reports of discrimination and first talk to employers so accused to try to remedy the matter without formal action. The threat of adverse publicity had been effective in some instances.

The telephone company was now employing blacks, and some of the large banks in New York City were employing black bank tellers for the first time.

The law had helped to focus attention on discrimination in employment and the notion that Communism would thrive under a system of economic discrimination where persons against whom it was practiced believed they had no other options.

Senator Ives was sponsoring a Federal counterpart to the law.

Samuel Grafton discusses the housing shortage and the absence of action by Congress to remedy it. Some 2,500 housing units in New York City which had been built stood vacant because they were more expensive than most people could afford. The Welfare Department was spending in some instances $300 or more per month to provide luxury rentals for poor people because there were no other units available.

The Administration's urging of builders to construct new units was doing little. Nor was it an answer to blame builders, as they were faced with high costs of construction materials.

It was thought that only a depression would likely alleviate the problem. But then no one would have the money to purchase the housing. Meanwhile, there were 5,000 fewer housing starts in the first quarter than during the same period of the year before.

The Government, he opines, should call a conference of builders, union leaders, and materials producers and then also begin the process of holding hearings on legislation, to hold over the heads of the confreres the notion that if they did not come to agreement on a plan, there would be legislation in the wings to provide for public housing.

A letter from failed Republican Congressional candidate P. C. Burkholder takes issue with the letter of May 15 which stated that the Republicans in Congress had admitted that from 1923 until 1941 they had been "dumb as an ass". He thinks instead it was the Democrats during the New Deal.

A letter presents a resolution of an organization against the referendum of June 14 regarding controlled sale of liquor, making the usual arguments.

A letter writer finds interesting an article in the newspaper on Don Richardson, active in the music world of the city. Mr. Richardson, as the letter does not explain, had come to Charlotte in 1900 and had been the longtime conductor of the house orchestra at the Academy of Music, was also an instructor of music at Presbyterian College and Queens College.

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