The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 5, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Marshall stated to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that he opposed any major revision of the U.N. without Soviet approval, as it would destroy the organization and result in opposing military alliances. He stressed that the problems of peace in the world could not be remedied by changes of structure of the U.N. He said that Soviet leaders had severe misconceptions about Western intentions, which needed to be overcome.

Paul Hoffman, ERP administrator, approved 35.5 million dollars worth of food to be shipped to Britain as the first allocation to that country and the largest single allocation yet under the program.

U.N. officials met with Arab representatives in Jericho to discuss the proposed truce for Jerusalem. A ceasefire order had been extended indefinitely while the truce negotiations transpired. Both old and new Jerusalem remained relatively quiet this date. Jews and Arabs had agreed, according to the Red Cross, to respect neutral security zones in Jerusalem, the Jaffa-Tel Aviv area, Haifa, and Tiberias.

Jews intended to declare a new Hebrew state on May 16, after the end of the British Mandate the previous day, with Sarona, just outside Tel Aviv, to be the provisional capital. The independence proclamation would be signed by David Ben-Gurion, head of the provisional government.

In the Ohio Republican primary, Senator Taft was leading Harold Stassen 11 to 9 in the 23 contested delegate races out of 53 total, the other 30 being uncontested for Senator Taft. Senator Taft claimed that, with the Ohio results, he had more delegates secured for the first ballot of the Republican convention than any other candidate in the race. He said that many "New Dealers and radical Democrats" had crossed over, at the suggestion of Mr. Stassen, to vote in the GOP primary and that these voters helped to make up the majorities for Mr. Stassen's delegates, far fewer than he had projected.

An anti-Truman slate of electors was elected in Alabama, pledged to vote against any candidate supporting civil rights in the general election in November. A majority of the Alabama delegates to the convention were pledged to walk out if the Democrats placed a civil rights plank in the platform.

The President remained hopeful of a settlement before the strike deadline of May 11 in the rail dispute of three railroad brotherhoods regarding their demanded 30 percent wage increase.

John L. Lewis asked a Federal Court to dismiss the lawsuit which sought to bar pension fund payments pursuant to the recent settlement of the coal strike providing for same.

The Senate voted to send the margarine bill, eliminating discriminatory taxes on the controlled substance, to the Finance Committee. It had already passed the House.

Stay clear of the stuff. It will do you no good. You could wind up down the rabbit hole.

The President would depart June 3 on a train trip to the Pacific Northwest, with major speeches planned at Chicago and Omaha, as well as at three stops in California along the way, including his previously announced commencement address at U.C.-Berkeley on June 12.

Be sure and attend.

In Burlington, N.C., the Sheriff was holding one man for investigation in the mutilation and robbery of another, occurring during the latter's hitchhiking with four men.

The Mount Holly High School would be without its football coach and principal after a months-long squabble over the site of a football game based on supposed better police protection and seating arrangements in Belmont. Both men had resigned.

In New York, actress Arline Judge had announced an indefinite postponement of her slated marriage.

In White Pine, Tenn., a woman who had suffered from a "mild form" of encephalitis, "sleeping sickness", awoke for the first time in twelve years. She remembered very little of her nap which began in 1936.

Don't tell her too much too soon about the intervening events. She may go back to sleep and ask to be awakened again only at a point when it was all over, maybe on A-Day in 1953.

On the editorial page, "A Blow to Southern Customs" finds the Supreme Court's pair of decisions handed down the previous Monday, holding that restrictive covenants on sale or rental of real estate to blacks could not be enforced by government action, Federal or state, for the enforcement action being violative of the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, to open a can of worms involving all manner of private segregation, imposing hardships on the South's longstanding customs.

It suggests that it would have been better for the Court to have continued to ignore the Fourteenth Amendment in terms of strict adherence to it and maintain the separate-but-equal doctrine.

While it was ultimately correct in its predictions, it would take another 16 years and court fights for several years after that to break down the remaining legal barriers to segregation in schools and privately-owned public accommodations. The decisions in question were limited in scope to enforcement of restrictive covenants on private property and did not invalidate the covenants per se as long as there was voluntary adherence.

Ultimately, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would rely on the power conveyed to Congress by the Commerce Clause, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment, to bar discrimination in all public accommodations substantially affecting interstate commerce. Brown v. Board of Education, in 1954, and its implementing decision the following year, provided for the desegregation of public schools "with all deliberate speed", based on the old separate-but-equal doctrine having not produced equal schools.

Thus, the advocates of slow adjustment were given some leeway. The reactionaries would have had it the old way until hell froze.

As the piece recognizes, the 14th Amendment had been ratified in 1866. It was time for it to be given full effect, as 52 years of Plessy doctrine had failed to accomplish anything but entrenchment of inequality in the society and the acculturation of generations of people, though not all of the people, to a perception of blacks as inferior by the fact of the caste system in which they were forced to live.

We have said before that we believe that had W. J. Cash lived beyond July 1, 1941 and perhaps returned as an editor at The News or, more probably, elsewhere, he would have welcomed these changes, with due caution for force bills from the Federal Government for their tendency in the past to produce reaction in the South. But his tone, we believe, would have inevitably been very different from that displayed in these more recent editorials, which appear very nearly, if not wholly, to lament such progress in race relations via the old rationalization that "we can take care of our own race problem". Plainly, given the post-war racial violence, inclusive of lynching or attempted lynching with ultimate impunity in North and South Carolina during the previous two years, the South was helpless to control the violence. Putting down and deploring lynching and the Klan was one thing. But there was a prominent disconnect after that point between polite tolerance of "benign", non-violent forms of institutionalized racism and true progress in race relations, meaning integration of society in every respect and finally acknowledging that which should have been recognized not only in principle but in practice from the Founding, that all human beings are entitled by inherent right of birth to equal human rights. Parsing it to suit economics and rationalizing limitations of rights on the times and quaint notions of chattel property, as in the antebellum era, and thereafter on the need for time to adjust slowly to assimilation of blacks into mainstream society, constituted the unwavering constant prevailing for the previous 160 years since the Founding.

Something had to change and the courts began to recognize that fact, made more visible by the war.

The best teacher is to ask one's self how one would feel if you were denied housing, not just once, but routinely in certain geographical areas, because of the color of your eyes or your hair or the sound of your last name. How would you feel if you were denied admission to a public school within your geographical district only because you have freckles or just look funny to someone whom you have never met and knows not a whit about you or your personal worth, and could care less?

"More Services? More Taxes" tells of taxes increasing with more government services, as being promised by the various candidates for public office at the Federal, state and local levels.

It quotes the Hartford (Conn.) Courant anent Lt. Governor Arthur Coolidge of Massachusetts regarding his contention, for which he had apologized, that the South was stealing Northern industry, saying that part of the reason for the exodus south was more favorable tax treatment.

The editorial suggests therefore being cautious in voting for candidates favoring more programs which would raise taxes.

"A Sample of Our Best Students" provides results of a test given at the University of South Carolina to 95 students of all levels, from freshmen to seniors, regarding their inability to name various members of the U.S. Government, from a single Supreme Court Justice, save 13 percent of those sampled, to both South Carolina Senators, only 71 percent, to a single Cabinet member, 24 percent, or three Republican candidates for President, 56 percent, etc.

The student newspaper, The Gamecock, had produced the poll. The poor results, suggests the piece, demonstrated the desperate plight of the educational system.

All college newspapers today across the country ought conduct among their readers this same poll, together with issue-specific questions to test substantive knowledge of politics, and publish the results. We would bet that the 1948 results would sound highly informed by comparison, but we may underrate the political acumen of the collective student population of the country. We hope so.

We have no vested interest, incidentally, not having been in college in 1948 and never having been a Gamecock.

A return to the threat of a good draft might correct the political insouciance of the indolent, ignorant educated whipper-snappers among us.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "'The World's Safest Drivers'", tells of the country's deaf mutes being the world's safest drivers, as described in Ford Times. It reported that in Pennsylvania, 3,000 deaf mutes out of three million drivers were licensed. None of the deaf mutes had ever been involved in a fatal accident and none had been involved in an accident for the previous nine years where there was an injury. For the same number of non-handicapped drivers, the average would have been 400 such accidents.

A special test, more exacting than for ordinary drivers, was devised for the deaf mutes to become licensed. Each driver was examined by a special board to determine that the person did not drink, that each time he got behind the wheel, he drove as if he were being tested, that he had high alertness with no noises or conversation to distract, and that he believed in and practiced the Golden Rule.

The piece suggests a moral in the story for every driver.

Drew Pearson tells of campaign advisers for Robert Taft telling him to become known as a liberal to improve his flagging stock by informing the people of his goals, that he believed in higher living standards and liberty. He was told that his poll results would be better against the President if he were the nominee, as he was at present only one of several Republicans vying for the nomination.

A feud, similar to that between the margarine and butter interests, was brewing regarding maple syrup, as Senator George Aiken of Vermont was preparing to crack down on restaurants which served corn syrup instead of the genuine article.

Avoid both. Use honey.

Legislation in the Senate was awaiting the end of the Ohio primary at the behest of Senator Taft, head of the Republican policy committee, especially the badly needed bill to expand the Air Force to 70 groups.

Mr. Pearson again looks at Standard Oil of California and Texaco as the prime movers in the oil lobby, intent on getting control of both tidelands oil and Arab oil, lobbying the Administration to change the policy to disfavor partition of Palestine, and the Congress for the legislation to turn the tidelands oil over to the states.

He provides a list of seven men employed by the Arab-American oil combine, Aramco, or, in one case, Standard of California, who had also worked for the Government.

Marquis Childs examines the hypothetical presidency of either Senator Taft, Governor Dewey, or former Governor Stassen, finding each alternative to be fairly certain in color, but not so when juxtaposed to a Republican Congress which might be elected with one of those candidates. It might be hopelessly reactionary, as with President William McKinley at the turn of the century.

Increasingly, the 80th Congress, especially Republicans favoring high tariffs, were trying to defer decisions until 1949 and the voters were entitled to know what that delay meant. It appeared that they were awaiting a Republican president that they might undo the New Deal completely.

For instance, they were deferring the Reciprocal Trade Act extension, a key part of the Marshall Plan's success. Not to renew it would signal a return to trade protectionism of the past, such as that prevailing after the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930, leading to disastrous consequences on the world stage.

The record of the 80th Congress was spotty and the voter had a right to be suspicious of deferring decisions until 1949. A few Republican leaders in Congress could manipulate things to undermine the best intentions of a Republican President.

The country would decide to defer that prospect, in its entirety, for another four years.

Samuel Grafton tells of there being a war boom during the war, a scarcity boom afterward, and presently a foreign policy boom. Prices, briefly coming down in February, were on the rise again. The previous year, the poor corn crop kept prices up. In 1948, it was the tax cut, the Marshall Plan, and, most prominently, prospects of rearmament.

Consumers could not afford the higher prices and the present boom was based on expectations. Labor was pressing for higher wages again to keep pace with higher food prices. The boom was dependent on world insecurity. The country was searching for security while leaning paradoxically on insecurity.

It pointed up again, he urges, the failings of not aggressively seeking peace but rather trying to effect peace through arms and aid.

A letter writer responds to the letter of A. W. Black of April 29 regarding his view that the United World Federalists were unrealistically striving for an Utopian model in seeking world government, instead favoring mutual disarmament and respect for boundaries as a recipe for peace.

The writer concludes that Mr. Black was the person seeking Utopia while the World Federalists were dealing with reality.

Two letter writers thank the newspaper on behalf of the Classroom Teachers of Mecklenburg County, of which they were officers, for cooperating in helping to improve education in the state's schools.

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