The Charlotte News
Saturday, May 29, 1954
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Geneva, Britain's Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov had been reported to have agreed this date regarding a three-point formula which they hoped would break the procedural stalemate in the Indo-China peace talks. Diplomatic sources reported that the proposal would call for direct talks between military representatives of the Vietminh and the French Union forces, the opposing sides in the war, and that it had eliminated some of the controversial points contained in the other proposals presented to the nine-party conference, such as the unacceptable points proposed by the Vietminh recently. The three points were to have a cease-fire, set out zones of assembly for regrouping of the rival forces, and to develop a plan to report back to the conference. Informed sources said that the plan was taken up by the conference immediately, and that there would be no further meeting of experts, who had met the previous day and run into various conflicts from the overlapping proposals by the different delegations, until the full conference directed them to take up a specific problem.
From Hanoi it was reported that 5,000 French troops had broken through to relieve Yen Phu this date and the Vietminh besiegers of the outpost had run for the hills. The French command said that the relief force, under heavy air cover and using tanks and armored vehicles, had broken through with reinforcements and supplies for the outpost 30 miles south of Hanoi, after it had been under siege for 18 days while being manned by only a single company of 160 men. The French described the relief operation as "the biggest offensive move" they had made since the fall of the French fortress at Dien Bien Phu on May 7. The Vietminh were estimated to have 12 battalions in the Phu Ly sector, an anchor for the Red River Delta defense line, where the French Union troops had about one division. The fall of those two outposts would provide the Vietminh with good bases from which to increase their attempts to destroy the highway and parallel railway between Hanoi and the Port of Haiphong, the routes over which most of the U.S. war equipment for the French forces in the Delta moved. Prior to the French offensive, the Vietminh had been having an easy time getting closer to the Yen Phu post, burrowing to within 100 yards of the barbed wire barriers while holding it under constant mortar fire.
A constitutional confrontation was shaping up between Senator McCarthy and the Eisenhower Administration after the Senator had declared that "no power on earth" would stop him from seeking information from executive department employees regarding "corruption, graft or treason". He had also stated again his familiar refrain of "20 years of treason" in reference to the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations, saying that he would protect those who "gave us the evidence" of that treason, adding that another year of it had been occurring during the Eisenhower Administration. The Senator had made the statement in response to a statement the previous day by Attorney General Herbert Brownell, with the approval of the President, that the executive branch of the Government had "sole responsibility" for protecting the nation's security, made in response to the Senator's insistence that the two million Federal workers in the executive department had to provide the Senator with secret information despite a Presidential order to the contrary. The Senator had said during the hearings the previous day that he believed the President, who was "an extremely busy man", was "getting bad advice". He said that he was not suggesting that the Attorney General resign but that he hoped to persuade the Attorney General that, whereas he had the duty to enforce the law, the Senate Investigations subcommittee had the duty to expose any failure to enforce the law.
In Guatemala, Communist Party headquarters announced this date that José Manuel Fortuny, a close adviser to President Jacobo Arbenz, had been relieved because of ill health, prompting speculation that he had actually been ousted because of a split in the party, while other rumors had it that the President had forced the party to take the action to remove the stigma of Communism from the Guatemalan Government. Sr. Fortuny's removal from the position automatically removed him from his position as a member of the important national Democratic Front, which some believed helped to shape Government policy. An independent newspaper in Guatemala, La Hora, said that he had been ousted after a heated party meeting. Another announcement this date said that Defense Minister José Angel Sanchez had decided not to visit the U.S. as planned, until the situation in Guatemala would ease. Tension had arisen between the State Department and Guatemala regarding a large shipment of arms from Communist Poland to the country, prompting the U.S. to consider recalling its air and military missions from Guatemala. The Guatemalan Government the previous night had issued two emergency regulations, requiring that all private planes be grounded under an order banning cross-country flights and that any passages written in code or in a language other than Spanish had to be accompanied by a translation filed at the cable office, meaning that all press messages in English had to have a Spanish translation attached to them. Senator George Smathers of Florida stated the previous night that the shipment of arms from Poland had constituted "Russian intervention in Latin America" and emphasized the challenge which the nation had to meet, that it represented a violation of the Monroe Doctrine.
The Government this date announced the arrests, in New York City and West Hartford and New Haven, Conn., of seven additional Communist Party leaders on charges of conspiring to advocate the overthrow of the Government by force and violence, pursuant to the Smith Act. Three of those arrested were said by the FBI to have been members of the Connecticut Communist Party holding secret meetings for several months in New York to avoid detection, and that their whereabouts had been unknown even to their close friends. The FBI said it had permitted the secret party meeting to get underway in a location in New York City, in a third-floor rented art studio, before interrupting the meeting to make the arrests. The Bureau said that the three arrested persons had gone to the meeting separately, and used elusive tactics to avoid detection, employing a circuitous route, shifting between subways and cars, and on occasion walking aimlessly for periods of time in an effort to determine whether they were being watched.
From Raleigh it was a reported that early voting in the Democratic primary election this date ranged from light to heavy across the state. The weather was overcast and mild in most areas, with a few locations reporting sunny skies, but with a forecast for scattered thunderstorms during the afternoon. Political observers predicted a voter turnout of about half a million. Asheville had reported light early voting, while Burlington and Durham reported heavy voting in the early morning hours. Heavy voting was reported in some Raleigh precincts while light voting was reported in others. Winston-Salem reported a brief flurry of voting during the early hours, which had then slowed. Voting in Greensboro was moderate to heavy, with many of the larger city precincts reporting heavy turnout during the morning. In Charlotte, voting was heavy during the morning hours as skies were clear, while showers and thunderstorms were predicted for the afternoon, which could inhibit a record turnout in a primary, as typically, Saturday voting was heaviest in the afternoon hours. Local radio and television stations would provide the results of the tally as they came in, during regular breaks in program broadcasting.
The chief interest was focused on how the segregation issue would impact the Senate race between incumbent interim Senator Alton Lennon and former Governor Kerr Scott. Mr. Scott said the previous day that he believed he would receive 51.5 percent of the votes. It indicates that Senator Lennon and Mr. Scott both had called for maintenance of segregated public schools, but that in the final hours of the campaign, a flood of reprints of a newspaper advertisement, appearing originally in the Winston-Salem Journal at the initiation of Mayor Marshall Kurfees, a Lennon supporter, had been distributed primarily in the eastern part of the state. The ad, which ostensibly appeared to support the former Governor, had said that he had appointed a black college president to the State Board of Education, implying therefore that he was for blacks, and was signed by the head of a Winston-Salem black organization, who was a friend of Mayor Kurfees and urged voting for Governor Scott. The manager of the Scott campaign, future Governor and Senator Terry Sanford, had responded to the ad by calling it a "falsehood" and a "phony", which had sought to use racial politics for the purpose of division.
In Wellesley, Mass., a Charlotte resident was killed when the tractor-trailer truck he was driving went out of control and struck a guardrail on the Boston-Worcester Turnpike, and the passenger in the truck, also from Charlotte, was injured. The truck, owned by Akers Motor Lines of Gastonia, had been loaded with cotton bales and both men had been thrown from the cab by the impact.
The National Safety Council urged motorists to drive carefully during the Memorial Day weekend, estimating that there would be 35 million vehicles on the roads during the extended weekend through midnight Monday and that 340 persons would be killed until that time, following the start of the weekend at 6:00 p.m. the prior evening. The early traffic toll had been nine, including five in the Chicago area, plus one drowning in Utah. During the two-day Memorial Day weekend of the previous year, 385 had died in accidents, including 241 in traffic mishaps, 98 drownings and 46 in miscellaneous occurrences. The record for the Memorial Day death toll had been 571, established in a four-day period in 1950.
In Hollywood, an engineering student and his girlfriend had dinner at a restaurant, after which he discovered that he was short of money to pay the bill, apologizing to the manager and stating that if he would trust him until the following day, he would leave his Geiger counter as security.
On the editorial page, "School Problems Won't Wait" indicates that in its preoccupation with Brown v. Board of Education, North Carolina should not forget that there were other grave problems with the schools which had to be solved, regardless of what happened with respect to the segregated school systems. Two of those other issues were stressed in the May issue of the North Carolina Public School Bulletin, indicating that despite more than 20 years of a statewide equalization program, the citizens of the state were not well educated. The 1950 census had shown that the median educational level of North Carolinians over the age of 25 was only 7.9 years, compared to the national median of 9.3 years.
It had found that the census showed large discrepancies between urban and rural residents, with urban residents having a median educational level of 9.2 years, versus a rural non-farm group with a median of 7.9, and a rural farm group, with seven years—translated from Latin, meaning that the latter group had a seventh-grade educational level. Among the adult population of the state, 20.5 percent had completed four years of high school, half of whom had gone no further—a bit confusing as to whether that meant through the 10th grade or the 12th grade, whether it regards "high school" as embracing the middle school years as well as the traditional high school years, that is whether it was regarding high school as comprising all of the secondary school years. (Does that primary-secondary classification, incidentally, suggest that people who attend college are tertiary schoolers and therefore third-class citizens, while those who go on to graduate-level training are quatenary? Sometimes, some days, we certainly think so.)
Another problem in the schools was supplying an adequate number of trained white elementary school teachers, as the system in the state needed 1,707 such teachers while the colleges were producing only 663 graduates who planned to teach in white elementary schools. (In light of Brown, you had better amend that last statement to make it more sensible, that none of the white teachers should plan to teach in white elementary schools henceforth.) The reasons, it posits, for the teacher shortage were the postwar baby boom, low salaries, hard work, extracurricular duties, a semi-restricted life in the community and a rigid certification system in the state.
North Carolina was a poor state and the relative expenditure of local and state revenues for education compared with the ability to pay, caused the state to rank seventh among the 48 states; but even if it ranked first, it would not be enough. It finds that the state owed its children something more than 7.9 years of education and something better than the continuing shortage of trained teachers, problems which were not going to wait on the final resolution of the "dilemma" posed by Brown regarding segregated schools.
"When the People Speak, We Listen" indicates that this date marked the end of the second week since the Supreme Court had issued its historic ruling on May 17, declaring public school segregation to be violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It also marked the date of the initial Democratic primary. It finds that there had been a flood tide of good letters to the newspaper during the previous two weeks on those two issues, while there had preceded a good flow of such letters for several months. It finds that it meant the readers of the newspaper were thinking for themselves and that one of the basic objectives of the editorial page was to encourage that very thing. It meant that their interests on public issues ran deeper than merely scanning the headlines and that the democratic processes were at work. It indicates that it valued those letters and sought to edit them with care, that if space limitations made it necessary to trim some of the longer ones, it made an effort to preserve the line of thought and the flavor of the letter.
It discloses that a few of the letters on segregation had been quite bitter and the newspaper, in consequence, had been forced to eliminate or soften some of the more "inflammatory language". But, it finds, by and large, the newspaper wanted its readers to have their say without talking back to them, and that the letters column was meant to be used, that there was a standing invitation to any reader who wanted to get a beef off his or her chest or who merely wanted to advance an idea which others might find interesting or challenging.
"In Passing" provides a
copy of a letter received by the newspaper, which, the piece
suggests, should be placed against the backdrop of the decision in
Brown v. Board of Education.
The reprinted letter was from the president of the Central
High School Key Club, writing for all its members, regarding the
Club's presentation of a check for $100 to the Charlotte Variety Club for the
Children's Clinic, and indicating that the membership of the Key Club
wanted 1,000 votes provided to "Genial" Gene Potts,
announcer for radio station WGIV
The piece indicates, stating at the outset it needed no further comment, that Mr. Potts was black.
They called it the Key Club Follies
at our school, an obvious sign of progress. The service clubs were
also at least a little bit integrated, another sign of progress. One
of them even allowed in three female students our senior year. They,
both the few black students and the three female students, were among
the ground-breaking brave, though it was considered quite natural at the time, nothing to get hung
"Now If Women Drivers Would Do This…" indicates that in 205 B.C., the Romans had prohibited women from driving chariots, at which point the women got together and after about 20 years of lobbying and badgering of their husbands, followed by a speech for women's rights by Marcus Cato, the right to drive a chariot was restored.
Now that women were organized, no one would dare suggest any such restrictions on women drivers, but it indicates its daring in suggesting an idea, which, if accepted, would not reduce a woman's right to drive, but might calm the ulcers of the male driver in the car following her. It points out that two similar experiences on the streets of East Charlotte had recently prompted the suggestion, that in both cases, the woman driver ahead was languishing along at "tractor speed", riding astride the center line, then extended her left hand straight out, normally indicative of a left turn, whereupon she veered off to the right and finally came to a stop along the curb. It finds that men did not do such things, that typically they would not signal at all, while women drivers usually gave signals, but ones which might be crossed.
It finds that it would be simpler if the female drivers simply waved an arm violently when they were altering their course, which would not commit them to anything and would at least provide an opportunity to make last-second changes in their plans, while the male drivers in the cars following could then make an informed preparation for whatever might happen.
A piece from the Sanford Herald, titled "A New Line for Dixie Politicians", indicates that some of the persons advocating resistance to the Brown decision had cited the adoption and later repeal of the 18th Amendment, regarding Prohibition, as a precedent for their agenda. They believed that just as that latter Amendment had been repealed after 15 years of the experiment, such would be the case with the new interpretation of civil rights, that a breakdown in enforcement would lead either to a new decision by the Supreme Court based on later occurring conditions or even to a Constitutional amendment incorporating the "separate but equal" doctrine.
The piece indicates that the comparison had some merit but overlooked a controlling factor, that in the case of Prohibition, the whole country had been involved, whereas only about a fourth of the states were impacted by Brown. It finds it impossible to conceive of any of the 31 states which had not enforced segregation by law siding with any of the 17 states impacted, to escape enforcement of Brown.
It finds a better parallel in the secession movement of the South in 1860-1861, based on the issue of slavery and the perception that the Lincoln Administration would abolish the institution. No one was silly enough to predict a new secession movement, and the truth was that there was no escape from the Supreme Court decision, that the states which practiced segregation of the public schools by law would now have no choice but to plan for a unified school system.
It concludes that it was more than a little ironic that the South, and particularly North Carolina, would seek any comfort in the nation's experience during Prohibition and its eventual repeal, as it was the first time it had ever heard of Dixie politicians admitting that the 18th Amendment was "stupid and unworkable".
It should be noted parenthetically that in the 1928 election of Herbert Hoover over Governor Al Smith of New York, two issues led the majority of the Southern states, including North Carolina, to vote for Mr. Hoover, the only time since the Civil War that any of the Solid South had so voted for a Republican presidential candidate, those issues having been primarily the perception that Governor Smith would favor repeal of Prohibition and the fact that he was Catholic.
Drew Pearson indicates that the Atomic Energy Commission had taken an unusual step in the case of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, having voted to rebuff the unpopular and dictatorial chairman of the AEC, Admiral Lewis Strauss, by having decided to have the Oppenheimer case referred directly to the Commission rather than to a review board. Ordinarily, the case, if he were found guilty of disloyalty, would go to the AEC Loyalty Review Board, which later would refer it to the full Commission, comprised of five members. But three of the members were fed up with the long delay in passing on the loyalty of Dr. Oppenheimer, generally regarded as the father of the atomic bomb, and were upset with the methods of Admiral Strauss, voting three to two to have the case referred directly to them, skipping the Review Board. The three members voting to do so were Thomas Murray, Henry Smyth, and Eugene Zuckert. Meanwhile, testimony in the matter before the Presidential commission chaired by Gordon Gray had become about as voluminous as that of the McCarthy-Army hearings, running to more than 20 volumes of testimony. Mr. Pearson indicates that unlike the "McCarthy circus", it represented closely reasoned thought by some of the best brains in the country, such as Hans Bethe, who had first calculated that the sun's energy came from a hydrogen-helium reaction. Much of that testimony might never be made public because it could give away hydrogen bomb secrets, but on both sides people were arguing that some statement should be made to the public, regardless of the ultimate decision rendered, providing a thorough rationale for the decision.
He indicates that there was an ironic twist in the case of Val Lorwin, the State Department official indicted as a result of charges brought by Senator McCarthy, an indictment which had since been dismissed. Mr. Lorwin had been accused by the Senator of being a Communist, but had been on leave from the State Department and in France writing a book on the Communist penetration of French labor unions at the time the accusation arose. He had been an OSS expert on labor during World War II and had been picked by Harvard to go to France to make the study, his book on the subject of Communist penetration to the French labor movement to be published during the ensuing month. He had been on the list of 81 alleged State Department Communists who had been indicted pursuant to the charges originally brought by Senator McCarthy. The Senator had originally alleged in February, 1950 in Wheeling, W.Va., that there were 205 "card-carrying Communists" known to the Secretary of State, Dean Acheson. The following day, he had changed the figure to 57, and two days later again changed it to 81. Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith, a Republican, had recently testified before Congress that no Communists had been found within the State Department. Warren Olney III, the Assistant Attorney General who made the motion to drop the indictment of Mr. Lorwin, was a close friend of Chief Justice Earl Warren, having served under him when he had been Governor of California. The Justice Department attorney, William Gallagher, whom Mr. Olney had suspended for bringing the false indictment, based on statements made to the grand jury which were not true, was a Republican appointed to the Justice Department during the Truman Administration. After the motion to dismiss the indictment, the attorney for Mr. Lorwin had indicated that the Justice Department ought to apologize to him as nothing could ever restore the money he had lost or compensate him for the headaches he had suffered, that wherever he went, he would have to explain having once been under indictment. Mr. Olney had replied that he was not able to provide an apology, which Mr. Pearson adds probably derived from the fact that he did not have clearance from his superiors.
Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that there there was apologetic yet serious talk about a "preventive showdown" with the Soviet bloc in high official quarters within the U.S. Government. Those who favored such an approach were in a small minority and did not positively advocate such a policy, which had the potential to lead to a major war. Their view, however, was that it could no longer be ruled out. The change was the clearest symptom of a deep uneasiness which reigned among those who knew the true nature of the situation.
The first cause of that situation was the crisis in Indo-China, which was regarded as the strategic balance between the free world and the Soviet empire, a balance carefully maintained for the previous eight years, the reason for the Korean War. But the balance was in even greater danger should Indo-China be lost to the Communists, as it was then believed that all of Southeast Asia would fall in turn, including ultimately Japan. A second cause of the uneasiness in Washington was the basic change in the relative strengths of the Soviet world and the Western world, with the new weaponry having produced that change. Previously, the supremacy of U.S. air-atomic striking power had been the basis for confidence in U.S. strength versus the supremacy of the Soviet Union in almost every other facet of warfare, producing a type of crude balance of power. But the Soviets had now upset that balance by producing long-range jet bombers two years earlier than estimated, such that within 18 months to two years, the Soviets would have decisive air-atomic striking power, plus the freedom, in a totalitarian state, to use that power at will and by surprise. In addition, the hydrogen bomb, in combination with estimates of production of long-range guided missiles, in development of which the Soviets were ahead of the U.S., could produce for the Soviets an intercontinental missile capable of carrying an hydrogen warhead between continents, prior to the time when the U.S. could develop the same technology.
Thus, the weapons balance was turning against the U.S., as was the strategic balance, each tendency making the other more dangerous and alarming. Since the Administration had steadfastly refused to take the country into its confidence regarding the weapons supremacy, the Alsops caution that it might sound like the stuff of a nightmare. Nevertheless, they were hard facts, even if not publicly admitted. False optimism, they further warn, was not a cure for upsets in the world balance of power, explaining why the previously unmentionable concept of preventive war was now at least being contemplated by some among those who were in possession of the hard facts.
The Congressional Quarterly examines the impact of the Brown v. Board of Education decision of May 17 on the upcoming midterm elections. Political professionals believed that the decision could have a far-reaching impact on the vote, as there might be a tendency to blame the Republican Administration for the decision, even though seven of the nine Justices were Democrats, except for Justice Harold Burton, appointed by President Truman in 1945, and Chief Justice Earl Warren, appointed the prior October by President Eisenhower. It was believed that the Republicans might benefit in the Northern and border states from black votes, who had predominantly voted Democratic since 1944, while it was believed that the impact on the Southern black vote would be negligible. But the decision would not be the only factor influencing the black vote 1954, as the economy would be an overriding issue, with a slump in the economy likely to affect black citizens first, usually the last hired and first fired.
In terms of the Southern white vote, the decision could cause some to turn away from moderation on race issues to favor candidates who openly opposed the desegregation ruling. Republican Congressmen from three of Virginia's districts and one in North Carolina could lose some white votes, but might also in the process pick up some black votes. It suggests that the generally noninflammatory comments uttered by Southern political leaders in the wake of Brown had been the result of the growing black vote in the South, not wishing to alienate black voters. It was estimated that of 16 million blacks in the country, about three million were registered to vote, about a third of whom were in the South. Following the Civil War through 1940, the predominant tendency among black voters was to vote Republican, after which large numbers of black voters switched to the Democrats. In the 1952 presidential race, according to an NAACP survey, the black vote was 73 percent Democratic and 27 percent Republican in black wards and precincts in 47 cities. According to the survey, the black vote was more than 90 percent Democratic in Detroit, Gainesville, Ga., Wilmington, N.C., Columbia and Darlington, S.C., and Corpus Christi and Houston, Tex. Many politicians believed that South Carolina and Louisiana remained in the Democratic column in 1952 only because of the black vote.
Because of that tendency for the prior 10 to 14 years, blacks were somewhat apprehensive about the Eisenhower Administration, as it did not have any reason to provide political reward to blacks for any significant support in 1952. Yet, color barriers, which had begun to fade during the Democratic Administrations, had continued to fade, with the Republican Administration having made a large number of black appointments, including J. Ernest Wilkins, a Chicago lawyer, appointed Assistant Secretary of Labor. Segregation was on the way out in restaurants, hotels, theaters, playgrounds and schools in the District of Columbia, and the Brown decision was the most important of recent civil rights milestones.
Immediately after the decision was rendered, Republicans made a survey among 416 black districts in D.C., with all of the respondents indicating that they favored the decision, and 304 of them saying that the President, the Republicans or Chief Justice Warren had been responsible for it. Seventy of the respondents said they did not know who was responsible and 42 said that the Democrats were responsible. The survey had been comprised of 240 Democrats and 144 Republicans, with the remainder unwilling to state their party affiliation.
One of the aims of the RNC was to try to obtain from the black population more voters, as the black vote could be of vital importance in marginal Congressional districts, particularly those where the black constituency was more than five percent of the total vote. According to Republicans, it could also become important in Senate races in California, New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio, Delaware, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and to a lesser extent in Michigan and West Virginia. It was not likely to produce any significant swing toward the Republicans in most Southern states, because Southern blacks, like Southern whites, felt constrained to vote Democratic if their ballots were to have any impact, with only small, disorganized Republican parties within the South.
It brings to mind again the moronic notion which is bandied about online on occasion, that it was the "Democrats" who were responsible for Jim Crow segregation after the Civil War. People who say that are either consciously dissembling or they know nothing about the history of politics in the United States. Southern Democrats aligned themselves against the harsh Reconstruction policies which sought to punish the South for starting the Civil War, and thereby gained power against the resurgent Republican Party which had formed in the South after the Civil War, that Republican Party generally believed to be at the time comprised of "carpetbaggers" and former slaves. Thus, there was reaction, and while that reaction took the form of the Democratic Party in name, it might as well have been called the Southern Party, and had nothing, or very little, to do with the subsequent Democratic Party on the national stage which grew up from roughly 1912 forward, when Woodrow Wilson won the Presidency over a split Republican Party, between incumbent President William Howard Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt, with the black vote in 1912 having helped President Wilson win. Then, after the Wilson years, came the Depression as the culmination of 12 years of Republican rule in which laissez-faire was the predominating economic policy, isolationism and the two-ocean protection theory, the predominating foreign policy, after which, of course, came the 20 years of the New Deal and Fair Deal which raised the economic boats of everyone, from top to bottom, even if the country did not finally emerge completely from the Depression until the start of World War II and the consequent war industries which provided relatively good, high-paying jobs to workers willing to migrate to the West and North from the South. In short, there were many other factors than mere party affiliation at work in producing what is known as Jim Crow segregation in the South, which also extended, in the form of de facto segregation, resulting in quite as much, sometimes more, actual discrimination in the North, the West, the Midwest, and other sections of the country, albeit the black population having been obviously greater in the South, for obvious reasons, with the Southern migration to the North during and after the war having led to large blocs of black workers competing for jobs with white workers, that chafing having contributed to white discrimination and racial prejudice.
To try to view that long and complex history completely through the lenses of either party politics or racial politics, excluding the socio-economic factors at work in various time periods, is a bad mistake which people with little grounding in U.S. history routinely make. Assiduously study those times, from a complete perspective of the society, first, before opening your mouth with embarrassingly uninformed statements based entirely on dichotomous labels, which translate to dust in more modern times. Economic and social factors of the time, after the Civil War, led to segregation, not whether someone was affiliated as a Democrat or a Republican, not, after all, an immutable affiliation but fluid through time.
The seven-Justice majority of the Supreme Court which decided Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, for instance, responsible for institutionalization of segregation with the official imprimatur of the Federal Government, was comprised of Justice Henry Brown, who delivered the opinion, an appointee of Republican President Benjamin Harrison, grandson of Whig President William Henry Harrison, Chief Justice Melville Fuller, an appointee of Democratic President Grover Cleveland, and Justices Stephen Field of California, an appointee in 1863 of President Lincoln, Horace Gray, an appointee of Republican President Chester A. Arthur, George Shiras, an appointee of President Harrison, Rufus Peckham and Edward White, appointees of President Cleveland, the latter to be subsequently elevated by Republican President Taft to Chief Justice in 1910. Justice David Brewer, an appointee of President Harrison, while a member of the Court, did not participate in the decision.
Thus, the Court's majority in the infamous case was comprised of four Republican appointees, including appointees of Presidents Lincoln, Arthur and Harrison, plus three Democratic appointees, all of President Cleveland. The Republicans, alone, therefore, would have been sufficient to constitute a majority. Only one of their number was a Southerner, Justice White, from Louisiana. Justice Brown was from Michigan, studied law, albeit without receiving a degree, at Harvard and Yale.
The question is thus presented: Was it not the Republican Party, even more so than Southern Democrats, who were responsible for institutionalization of Jim Crow, at least in terms of Federal recognition and permission of it to exist within the contours of the Constitution?
Justice John Harlan, grandfather to Justice John Harlan II, to be appointed to the Court by President Eisenhower in 1955, was the only dissent on the Plessy Court. He had been appointed in 1877 by Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes. And despite disagreeing with the majority that "separate but equal" railway car facilities passed Constitutional muster under the Equal Protection Clause, finding instead that the law in Louisiana under consideration was "inconsistent with the personal liberty of citizens, white and black, in that state, and hostile to both the spirit and letter of the constitution of the United States", that "[t]he arbitrary separation of citizens, on the basis of race, while they are on a public highway, is a badge of servitude wholly inconsistent with the civil freedom and the equality before the law established by the constitution", he also stated his personal view earlier in the opinion, sounding in the vein of white supremacy: "The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. And so it is, in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth, and in power. So, I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time, if it remains true to its great heritage, and holds fast to the principles of constitutional liberty. But in view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind..." He was stating facts within the world around him in 1896, and it has to be viewed as modern and progressive from within that limited perspective, given his ultimate conclusion regarding the impermissibility of institutionalized segregation and its tendency to degrade and imply inferiority, a view which had been expressly rejected by the majority. Justice Harlan's limited view of white supremacy was constrained by his time of socialization, having been born in 1833 and raised in Kentucky, fighting, however, in the Civil War on the side of the Union, thus an amalgam of influences, on the one hand from his environment, on the other from his steadfast patriotism to the concept of the Union, much as had been Abraham Lincoln, also raised through age 7 in Kentucky, and whose views on both race and the Constitution Justice Harlan largely mirrored—just as we all are constrained by our times to a view of our immediate and past world, without benefit of having an accurate view of the future which has not yet made itself apparent, apt to be influenced by unforeseeable events and inventions. One can argue, of course, also, that Justice Harlan, in those retrograde-sounding remarks, was only speaking to the white lawyers and other opinion-influencers within the various communities whom he knew might read the opinion, especially in the South, employing a level of psychology as it were, or folk wisdom, to reach them where they lived, to suggest, in effect, that he understood their feelings only too well from his personal observations and past, but that the supreme law of the land, as expressed in the Fourteenth Amendment, trumped those feelings and that the country, to survive as a land of laws and not men, had to remain steadfast to those overriding principles, or perish in the dust with other civilizations which had not held fast to their founding principles and tenets, winding up thereby historical jokes
So, online hip-shooters who express what you got from reading the functional equivalent of a comic book in high school or listening, more recently, on the radio or tv, to one of the jabberwokkkers who, themselves, never went much beyond high school, try to
keep the facts somewhere in the road, lest you go through the
guardrails and plummet down to earth, with due recognition to the notion that there are
people abounding with a political agenda, both in and outside the
media, who will throw you curves along the way to make it harder to
stay within the lines of reality. It helps to read serious books of
political science, sociology and history, rather than spending so much time
trying to fill in gaps in one's
education through gleaning some superficial view of history or politics from
news programming or "history" programming or any other form
of television programming or movies, all of which is most likely to enter the simultaneously overburdened eyes and ears so casually as to be misunderstood in any event without much grounding had from prior study of books on the matter. A movie is only as strong as its writers and director, and
a television program is only as strong in providing the facts as its
sponsorship and time limits permit. They are not constrained, as are academic works,
to peer review and tenure tracking, to ensure accuracy and
elimination, to the extent possible, of political viewpoints which might
color the academic discourse, sometimes to the point of being little more than an individual manifesto bearing little relation to any reality which ever took place in this country. Thus, reading a book by one of the
notorious on-air pundits is a worthless waste of time, just obtaining
more of the same which is spewed on the air each night, a memoir to on-air vanity, half the time in the writing, no doubt, spent on makeup and hair, as it is on air. Academic
works, which are not as sensational and involving, perhaps, to the
casual student as the other tripe, are far more informing than the
run of the mine
A letter writer from Chapel Hill
finds that the letters of late on the segregation issue, in the wake
of Brown, had been both virulent and incisive, but that the
ultimate descent into absurdity had been reached the prior Monday
when one letter writer had written that it was all right for
"grown-up people" to associate with blacks while
unthinkable and profane for little children to do so. He suggests to
the previous writer that she become acquainted with modern
psychology, which showed that small children had no prejudices which
were not taught to them by their "enlightened" elders. He
suggests that non-segregation should be started as a gradual process,
with younger children being integrated first and then the process
continued through to the higher grades in school, making the
transition easy. That would be true, he indicates, provided adults
did not interfere. He reminds that it took the Emancipation
Proclamation to "free" blacks from slavery and, in his
opinion, took the Supreme Court decision to begin the process of
integration of the races in education. He finds the "wounded
words" of the previous writer to be similar to other speeches by
those whom T. S. Eliot had called the "hollow men", who, he
adds, loved to whistle "Dixie"
A letter writer thanks the newspaper for printing "Southern Churchgoers Aren't Real Christians", referring to a previous letter. He finds that people were on the outside in present times, taking religion so lightly that it was seldom that Christians had the opportunity to enjoy one of the teachings of Christ: "Men shall say all manner of evil against you, rejoice and be exceedingly glad." Jesus had also said: "Who hath appointed you a judge?" and "Judge not, that ye be not judged." He feels certain that if the days of Christ could be recalled, the previous writer would find a seat of honor with his contemporaries, the Pharisees, that the attack on the "anointed of God shall bring upon him the same swift condemnation that it brought the Pharisees of old", as the Bible said: "Who shall bring any charge against God's elect?" He concludes that since God had been the only one who was able to discern the heart, it automatically disqualified all others from doing so.
Thus, in your view, no one can seek to discern, vis-à-vis the words of the Bible, the true nature of those who profess to be Christians, of the heart, and their consequent hypocrisy, as distinguished from those who profess to be Christians by virtue of mind over emotion and seek to eliminate, therefore, all manner, to the extent humanly possible, of such hypocritical deviation from Christian principle, just as the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1868, finally sought to address the hypocritical nature of the nation which, on the one hand, professed "liberty and justice for all" and equal creation, while keeping a race of individuals in chains, physically, educationally and psychologically, rationalized on the basis of dehumanization of that population, equating them with stock animals. We interpret the previous writer as having had that form of hypocrisy in mind when he wrote his letter. This writer fails to reckon with the Biblical injunction against wearing one's religion on one's sleeve, that such people are the true Pharisees and scribes, the Philistines.
A letter writer starts by indicating that it was strange that in the midst of the question of segregation, Thomas Jefferson's words from the Declaration of Independence seemed to ring in the ears: "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal." She suggests that everyone acknowledged that as a fact and yet hesitated when the question actually arose, as to how it might impact future generations. With the decision in Brown down in "black and white", it could no longer be resisted. The people had to try to understand the decision, three of the Justices having been Southerners. She quotes James Madison as having asked rhetorically: "But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?" She indicates that if men were angels, no government would be necessary, and that no government could survive without the confidence of the people, and thus to be a strong nation, arrangements to uphold Brown had to be made. She endorses the idea, as Charlotte Mayor Philip Van Every had suggested, of establishing a Human Relations Council to make the adjustment process easier in the community.
A letter writer from Spartanburg, S.C., says that he is "just a plain, ordinary 'Son of the South', born and reared under southern customs and a Supreme Court ruling of 60 years prevalence, that 'separate, but equal' is not a violation of civil rights." He says that he was therefore confused and quite bitter, and perhaps awed by the recent decision handed down by the "'Holy-Nine'". He indicates that he was bitter because he loved the South and its traditions and abhorred the attempts of some "despicable persons to shatter them". He was confused as to what legal action could be taken by the states affected by the ruling to combat the "chaos and civil strife that is inevitable", should the enforcement of the decision be attempted. He was awed because he did not realize that the Supreme Court was made up of the "most intelligent, wisest men that have ever lived" in the country. He finds that their own estimate of themselves must have been so to overrule a decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, which had stood for 58 years. He also says that he was afraid that the South would not have enough intestinal fortitude to stand up for its rights, would be misled by the "fictitious reasons" given for Brown, and "fail to realize that it was not brought about by any compassionate feeling that the North held for the colored people".
A letter from the director of Charlotte College, the two-year community college which would ultimately become a four-year institution, UNC-Charlotte, thanks the newspaper for its continuing support and cooperation throughout the year, and particularly for acquainting the people of the area with the need and work of the local community colleges during the weeks leading up to the special two-cent property tax referendum to help support those colleges.
She does not address the issue, however, that both colleges, Carver and Charlotte, were segregated institutions, the former for black students and the latter for white students only. Now, that would have to be addressed. Whether that meant that the two pennies could be combined into only a single penny, bearing President Lincoln's likeness, remained to be seen.
One of our grandfathers, born a mere
seven years after the Civil War, used to call them "coppers"
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