The Charlotte News

Friday, February 6, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, who in 1964 would serve on the Warren Commission despite his expressed personal detestation of Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, stated to a reporter that he believed that the President was planning to use the FBI as a "Gestapo" to break down racial segregation in the South, that it posed the most serious threat to the South he had seen in his lifetime. He said that Southerners interpreted the President's call for an end to Jim Crow segregation on buses and trains as a first salvo in an attempt to end all racial segregation. He warned that blacks might be attending the same schools as whites, swimming in the same swimming pools, eating with whites, and, eventually, intermarrying.

Can you believe that?

Senator Taft called the Senate Republican Policy Committee together to pick a calendar schedule for expected Southern filibustering of the civil rights measures.

The Senate Labor Committee the previous day voted 7 to 5 to approve an anti-discrimination measure in employment.

It was rumored that Governor Fielding Wright of Mississippi would move at the Southern Governors' conference in Tallahassee to have an independent Democratic convention to split from the Truman ticket.

The DNC said it would wait and see what would happen before determining a course of response.

Senator Beuregard Claghorn had not yet weighed in on the issue.

In Berlin, the British and Americans announced stronger administration for the two combined economic zones with an executive committee, an upper and lower legislative council, and a high court to enforce decisions.

Wheat and corn commodities prices again fell, wheat by the maximum allowable amount per day of ten cents and corn by eight cents. Wheat partially rebounded. Cotton gained slightly by noon. Vegetable oils also dropped, but butter was firming up.

Legislation introduced by Senator Harry Cain of Washington to extend rent control by fourteen months had stirred controversy in the Senate. It allowed for unlimited rent increases provided a lease was signed through 1949, wiped out limits on building of recreational type facilities, and provided local rent boards more authority to determine whether rent ceilings should be increased or eliminated. Senator John Sparkman of the Banking Committee believed that the unlimited rent increase provision would allow landlords to coerce increases that tenants could obtain a lease locking in the rent beyond the expiration of rent control.

As already pointed out by one of the columnists, only a small number of tenants had signed leases the previous year under the law allowing for 15 percent increases on a lease extending through 1948.

In Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the constable resigned rather than enforce evictions.

A Senate Appropriations subcommittee voted 3 to 2 along party lines against absolving Ed Pauley and Brig. General Wallace Graham, the President's personal physician, from having used insider information in making commodities trades. Senator William Knowland of California, chair of the subcommittee, said that he opposed the motion on the basis that the subcommittee had not completed its investigation.

Motion picture songwriter Hanns Eisler faced deportation in an INS hearing in New York, charged with being a member of the Communist Party in 1926 and obtaining admission to the U.S. by false statements. He admitted the former brief membership during hearings before HUAC the previous September. He offered no defense at the hearing and the inspector who conducted the hearing would soon deliver findings, with the final decision on deportation up to Attorney General Tom Clark. Mr. Eisler was the brother of Gerhart Eisler, considered the number one Communist in the U.S.

Local 22 of the CIO United Tobacco Workers Union of Winston-Salem stated that the CIO PAC's opposition to Henry Wallace was not the sentiment of the bulk of CIO membership in North Carolina. Local 22, endorsing Mr. Wallace, had voluntarily withdrawn from the PAC several weeks earlier. They differed with the PAC over its alleged failure to fight for full participation of blacks in the struggle for better conditions for all Southerners.

North Carolina Agricultural Commissioner W. Kerr Scott formally entered the Democratic gubernatorial race, resigning his post, which he had held since 1937.

Mr. Scott would win the race and eventually would be elected in 1954 as United States Senator, defeating interim Senator Alton Lennon, before dying in office in 1958. His son, Robert Scott, would be elected Governor in 1968. North Carolina Governors, until the election of 1980, could not serve more than one term.

Dick Young of The News tells of a fire at the Water Department from spilled lighter fluid being used by a pair of employees to fill their cigarette lighters as one employee was testing his lighter. The latter employee's face and hands caught on fire but, while in some degree of shock, he was not seriously injured and after being treated was sent home.

In Lakeview, Ga., the principal of the high school found a KKK cross burning in his front yard before a group of hooded men, following a threat he received to leave town or be tarred and feathered. His wife called the men "yellow cowards" and kicked over the cross. The threat followed a fight the principal had with a student. Both the principal and the football coach said that they were prepared to "shoot it out" with the Klan. Both men were white.

In Birmingham, Ala., a woman won an award from a jury of $20,000 in damages from a movie theater after she sat down and found there was no seat, resulting in spinal dislocation and other injuries.

You may wish to lose some weight, ma'am.

On the editorial page, "Less Smoke, Better Councilmen" tells of the City Council appointing a committee to determine how to enforce the City's smoke abatement ordinance, on the books since December, 1940, in light of the recent smoke layer covering the city, produced by the fuel oil shortage and cold weather.

Leadership would be needed to convince the public of the necessity for the ordinance enforcement, that the smoke created severe health issues, caused damage to property, and that the inefficient ventilation contributing to the smoke wasted fuel supplies.

"A Warning in the Price Break" tells of the President renewing his request for price control legislation as commodities prices decreased two days in a row, apparently seeking to diminish the importance of the downward move as only temporary.

One possible explanation for the trend was that there had been a general tightening of bank credit in recent days. Moreover, news from Britain of impending economic collapse foreshadowed problems with foreign trade, currently booming. Thus, speculators might be betting on such a decline, sending the prices of wheat, corn, and cotton down.

The inflation in the U.S. was impacting the British economy as the British were forced to pay more for U.S. exports, draining their precious dollars and threatening their export program on which was premised economic recovery. Should Britain fail, then it would set in motion a chain reaction in U.S. commodities markets, leaving a vacuum in Western Europe which Russia could fill.

The piece agrees with the President that it was time for measures to allow for control of inflation.

"Hot-Heads Don't Help the South" suggests that the strident Southern Democrats assailing the President's ten-point program on civil rights were, in the intemperance of their remarks, alienating "sincere" Southerners.

The piece agrees with the "hotheads" that the anti-lynching measure was unnecessary as the states had demonstrated that they could do the job—in fact amply disproved by the Willie Earle and Buddy Bush cases in the previous year, not to mention the non-prosecution of the lynchers of the two black couples in Georgia in 1946 and the blinding of Isaac Woodard in Batesburg, S.C., by the police chief, Lynwood Shull, who was acquitted in a matter of minutes by a Federal jury, also in 1946. The idea espoused by the editorial that the states could take care of the matter adequately was therefore ludicrous, unless one were to say that it was alright to have such instances continually occur, even sporadically, with impunity. While the latter acquittal came in Federal court, the State had refused even to prosecute and so there would not even have been a trial were it not for that case happening to fall under Federal jurisdiction as taking place on an interstate bus and being brought personally to the President's attention by Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP, after it had been given national attention by Orson Welles on his radio show.

The piece thinks that efforts to end the poll tax in the remaining seven states in which it was still extant might not be constitutional and that there was doubt that the FEPC would work to provide equal employment pay and opportunity.

But, it opines, the President had been driven to his action by election year politics, and the "hotheads" who yelled for "revolt" knew that the proposals would not succeed in Congress in the first place and should have responded more reasonably. The Administration had made these efforts previously, both under President Truman and FDR.

The hotheads left the impression that Southerners did not understand democracy. It posits that the great masses of Southerners did not react so hysterically as their Congressional representatives. The region needed representatives who advanced its cause intelligently and not in a way to hold the region up to contempt.

The President, as subsequent relentless action on civil rights would show after the election, was driven instead by a sincere belief in the principle of equality, to a degree matched by no prior President since Abraham Lincoln, one which would set the stage for the ensuing key legal and legislative breakthroughs in civil rights, Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which in combination would, along with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 24th Amendment ratified in 1964 abolishing the remaining poll taxes, finally eliminate the legal barriers imposed by the Jim Crow system.

The Southern Governors meeting in Tallahassee were obviously making a show of political power that they might exert weight at the Democratic convention on the platform as it related to civil rights, the failure of which, after Mayor Hubert Humphrey would introduce the liberal civil rights plank to the platform, adopted by the convention, leading to the walk-out led by Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and the formation of the Dixiecrat ticket. These Southern reactionaries felt betrayed by President Truman to whom they had given support in 1944 for the nomination for vice-president, in replacement of Henry Wallace, President Roosevelt, because he was being nominated for a fourth term, having left the selection largely up to the convention while the President made his way to the Pacific to visit General MacArthur.

Drew Pearson says that it appeared that West Coast banking magnate, A. P. Giannini, had been finally the death knell to the continued Federal Reserve Board chairmanship of Marriner Eccles. Mr. Eccles had long opposed the "banking octopus" of the West Coast, the Giannini brothers' Trans-America Group. Mr. Eccles had drafted legislation, eventually approved by the Senate Banking & Currency Committee, designed to break its grip on West Coast banking.

The two brothers had been strong backers of the Democratic Party on the West Coast, and so were able to exert influence at the top to get Mr. Eccles demoted to Fed vice-chairman, probably through Secretary of Treasury John W. Snyder, a friend of the the former vice-president of Trans-America.

He next informs of strict newspaper censorship imposed on the atomic tests being conducted on Eniwetok in the Pacific. Journalists could not even report the dates of the tests out of fear that air masses might reveal to foreign scientists the types of weapons used.

Capital police were looking for a possible maniac who did something when a secretary refused to allow him to see some Senator—the precise facts of which having been unfortunately squeezed out by the printer's devil.

The U.N. building site in New York was being readied, but delay had interceded as the President appeared to favor moving the site to Geneva for the fact of too many pressure groups from the U.N. bothering him. It had been decided that each U.N. member would pay a proportion of the cost of the building after an initial loan by the U.S. to fund construction. The land had been given by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Marquis Childs discusses the tax bill pending in Congress and indicates that now that the House had passed the Knutson bill, with its cross-the-board 6.5 billion dollar cut, the Senate would get down to the business of passing a sensible bill which could withstand a Presidential veto, i.e., obtain at least two-thirds support in both houses.

The Senate would likely pare 2.5 to three billion dollars off the Knutson cut, provide an increased personal exemption, a break for corporations, and allow the community property state equivalent rates for married couples.

Mr. Knutson, he ventures, vacationing in Florida, was likely out of touch with the average taxpayer. He provides a letter he had received from a reader who wanted the President's proposed $40 increased personal and dependent exemption enacted and relief for taxpayers who could barely afford to buy food.

The Knutson measure, Mr. Childs suggests, would only be inflationary and thus, in the end, was unlikely to provide any real relief for the lower bracket taxpayers it purported to benefit.

Samuel Grafton discusses the love affair of the public with General Eisenhower. The polls had shown that he could have won the election had he run. He wonders why it was so, posits that the failure of the Congress and the Administration to put the brakes on post-war inflation was the primary reason that the public was willing to take a "sleepwalker's choice" of a non-professional politician regardless of his economic ideas or expertise, and hope for the best.

The professional GOP politicians wanted Senator Taft while the straw polls put him at the bottom of the heap, according to Fortune, below Governor Dewey, General MacArthur, Harold Stassen, and Governor Earl Warren, as well as General Eisenhower, who was at the top when he withdrew.

It was not clear whether the search for a "non-political" leader portended a leftward movement in the country. While General Eisenhower had been an acceptable choice, the trend could result in the same part of the public fastening on someone not so qualified or savory.

A letter writer asserts that the United States was stirring up war fever rather than trying to get along with Russia, while America was getting along with the fascist dictator Juan Peron in Argentina. The effort, he posits, would save the lives of America's children who might be forced to fight in a future war with Russia.

A letter from a "maintenance engineer" says that the smoke problem in Charlotte came from poor equipment and the need to buy any grade of coal available to make up for the fuel oil shortage. A smoke engineer, he says, could not do anything about the problem. He suggests getting with the "master mechanic" or the engineer who would work with the homeowner and small business, as long as one did not "pull his steam down".

A letter writer finds failed Republican Congressional candidate P. C. Burkholder to be behaving as an ass by lambasting the New Deal at every turn, accusing it even of being Communist. She thinks, along with another critic of Mr. Burkholder, that he ought thank God he had been privileged to live during the New Deal and Roosevelt era.

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