The Charlotte News

Tuesday, September 14, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the six-Senator select committee studying the resolution of censure against Senator McCarthy, having completed its hearings the previous day, began working in secret on its report this date, with its chairman, Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah, indicating that there was "a possibility" that the report would be complete prior to October 1. Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas, a member of the committee, said that there had never been any other thought except to keep the committee's present legal staff, despite attacks by Senator McCarthy on the fairness of the two lawyers. Both Senators talked briefly with reporters following a two-hour closed session of the committee. Senator Watkins said it would be "very improper, unethical" for him to discuss the possible findings to be adduced by the committee for the full Senate to consider later. He declined to discuss the request by Senator McCarthy and his attorney, Edward Bennett Williams, that the committee hire new, independent counsel to assist in writing the report. Senator McCarthy said that he was still disturbed by the statement of Senator Watkins that the jury did not have to be impartial. Mr. Williams called for appointment of independent counsel to study the facts and the law as developed by the ten witnesses during nine days of public hearings before the committee. Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina, a member of the committee, said that he agreed with the views of Senator Carlson, that while the suggestion of Mr. Williams had "some merit", a search for new counsel at this juncture would only delay a report for weeks and that he wanted the report out at the earliest possible moment.

In Maine the previous day, voters had elected a Democratic Governor, Edmund Muskie, for the first time in 20 years, defeating incumbent Governor Burton Cross in voting which Vice-President Nixon had described in advance as "the first statewide test of the Eisenhower Administration program." The Vice-President had campaigned for Governor Cross during a brief vacation in Maine, urging "an even greater majority than ever before" to herald Republican victories in the other 47 states in the midterm elections in November. Congressman Muskie had received 135,400 votes to 113,000 for Governor Cross, with most of the state's precincts reporting. Governor Muskie would go on to become Senator in 1959, running with Vice-President Hubert Humphrey as the vice-presidential nominee on the Democratic ticket in 1968 against former Vice-President Nixon and Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew, and then, after becoming the front-runner for the nomination for the presidency in 1972, having his campaign derailed by Nixon dirty tricksters, subsequently serving in the latter half of 1980 as Secretary of State under President Carter. Maine's elections preceded the rest of the nation by two months, and Senator Margaret Chase Smith and the state's three Republican House members all had won re-election, with only one member of the House delegation narrowly winning, the others having substantial margins of victory. Nine other state primaries for Senate and House seats would take place this date.

In New York, a Government witness testified in Federal District Court this date that Puerto Rican Nationalists in Chicago had been ordered to go underground after other members of the organization had shot up the House of Representatives, wounding five members of Congress, the previous March 1, and that records of the party's Chicago junta had been destroyed after the shooting. The witness was one of 17 Puerto Rican Nationalists indicted in New York on charges of seditious conspiracy against the Government. He and three others had pleaded guilty and had become Government witnesses against the 13 other defendants. He testified that he headed the Nationalist group in Chicago and had come to New York after the House shootings to meet with one of the alleged leaders in a plot to attack the "Presidency" as well as others, had been told return to Chicago and tell the other members of the situation and that they should be cautious to avoid arrest and, if necessary, return to Puerto Rico or elsewhere. The witness was the brother of Lolita Lebron, who had been convicted, along with three other defendants, in the March 1 House shooting, each having been sentenced to terms varying between 16 and 50 years in prison. Ms. Lebron was one of the 13 defendants in the New York conspiracy trial, and another of the defendants was the person who had told the witness in December, 1953 of the plans for attacks on Congress, the Presidency and the resident commissioner for Puerto Rico. The witness had pleaded guilty to the charge of seditious conspiracy and was being held under a $25,000 bail pending his sentencing, implicitly to be based, in part, on his testimony.

At White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., following five days of integration of the Greenbrier County schools, a return to segregation was ordered by school officials after being confronted with angry parents and striking white students, with the high school closed for a half day to allow the 25 black students, under police protection, to secure their books and return to their segregated all-black school. About 600 parents had protested the previous integration order, threatening a mass meeting the previous night to remove bodily any black students who attempted to attend the previously all-white high school this date. The previous day, about 300 of the high school's 440 students had marched in demonstration through the streets of the mountain resort town, protesting the integration order, some carrying placards reading, "no Negroes wanted in our schools". Another demonstration had occurred in Rupert, about 33 miles away, where about 100 students protested in the streets against 14 black students attending their formerly all-white school.

Stupid hicks, you don't want to go to school, go back to the coal mines where you belong, in black face.

In Stanley, N.C., a truant officer said this date that half of the 150 striking black pupils in the town had told him that they were afraid to return to school, and that most of the other pupils had vowed that they would never return if they were forced to attend schools in other towns. He said that he did not know of whom they were afraid, but quoted one girl as saying, "They would pull me off the bus and beat me up if I went back." The strike was in its 11th school day and the truant officer said that he would take no court action for the time being, preferring instead persuasion. The students had refused to board buses for the schools in other communities, but two or three of the male students had hitchhiked 15 miles to Lincoln Academy in Kings Mountain. Fifty pupils were striking against being transferred to that academy from Highland High School in nearby Gastonia, which officials said was overcrowded. One hundred elementary school pupils were protesting against attending a new school in Dallas, six miles from Stanley, after their school had been closed following condemnation by the State, with their parents seeking replacement with a new school in Dallas.

Associated Press reporter Bem Price tells of the Southern Regional Council, whose executive director, George Mitchell, believed that segregation in the public schools would be ended within 12 years. Dr. Mitchell had stated from Atlanta: "When the tree has done been cut and it is falling over at you, that ain't no time to holler 'hold it back!' It's time to git." He said that an old black man had told him that when he had been talking to him about segregation, that the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education had cut the tree and that it was time for the South to do some "gittin'". Dr. Mitchell, who was an economist and sociologist, was one of the South's foremost authorities on race relations, believed that its problems would have to be worked out at the community level, where "the church women will make it work." The Council was the only regional organization with an ongoing program for racial tolerance, and had recently been granted $240,000 by the Ford Foundation's Fund for the Republic, to help prepare the South for calm acceptance of Brown. The Council was composed entirely of Southerners, both white and black, and operated on the basis that all men were entitled to equal opportunity, a principle often arousing bitter resentment among Southerners long nurtured on the idea of white supremacy. Governor Herman Talmadge of Georgia, who had charged in his personal political newspaper that the Council was "pink" in its orientation, believed in that principle of white supremacy, and had challenged the State Legislature to abolish the public school system. Monsignor T. J. McNamara of the Catholic Church's Atlanta-Savannah Diocese, called the charge by the Governor regarding the Council's supposed pink orientation "absurd and ridiculous". Dr. Mitchell believed that segregation could be ended in the South with only some trouble and some violence, that the "sweet voice of facts and reason" had to be raised, that Southern towns were imitative, such that if something had been done before, they figured they could do it too. The mission of the Council, he said, was to find the "frontiers of progress and make them known honestly and temperately", to give the facts and persuade, that he expected segregation to be over within a dozen years at the outside. He said that the conscience of the South on racial matters was borne by women, and he liked to remember the work of Jesse Daniel Ames in Texas, who had now retired and lived in Tryon, N.C., having indicated in the wake of lynchings and the excuse being given that somebody had to protect the honor of Southern white women, that someone had to go into the county where the lynching had occurred and talk to fellow church women to start a petition to be taken to the sheriff stating that, as white women, they did not want anybody protecting their honor other than the sheriff, who would then get the hint that the women wanted the law enforced and so would not give up many prisoners to lynch mobs afterward. Dr. Mitchell thus concluded that the matter would be worked out by the church women at the local level. He believed that segregation would first end in the regions with sparse black populations of less than ten percent and would end last in the Deep South plantation regions, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and parts of Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and the Carolinas. The problem would be most acute, he ventured, where there were not only racial differences but also class distinction, where blacks had always been the servants, the sharecroppers and tenant farmers. The Council had come into existence during World War II after a group of black citizens had met in Durham, N.C., and said, in substance, that if the U.S. were fighting for democracy, it ought to practice what it preached, offering an invitation to Southern leaders to get together and talk over the situation, with a meeting thereafter having been attended by 97 white Southerners, ultimately leading to a second meeting in Richmond, Va., where the Council was formed, chartered by Methodist Bishop Arthur Moore of Atlanta, Atlanta Constitution editor Ralph McGill, UNC sociologists Dr. Charles Johnson and Dr. Howard Odum, and Atlanta University professor, Dr. Rufus Clement. Virginius Dabney, editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, had said of the Council that it was "the sanest and best informed organization dealing with race relations."

In April, 1941, incidentally, Ms. Ames had written to W. J. Cash, in the wake of publication the prior February of The Mind of the South, inviting him to speak before the Council's predecessor organization, the Commission on Interracial Cooperation in Atlanta, an invitation which he had to decline because of limited means, after he had already been to Atlanta in March pursuant to an invitation from Rich's Department Store to attend a book-signing after the book had become a best-seller in Atlanta.

Harry Shuford of The News indicates that television actor and producer Ralph Serrano of New York had brought a petition into Charlotte's Recorder's Court this date, through his attorneys, seeking issuance of a writ of error coram nobis to set aside a conviction for larceny occurring in Charlotte in 1935. The writ, if issued, would admit that there had been an error in the first trial and grant a new trial on the original charge. Mr. Serrano was facing deportation to his native Dominican Republic as a result of having two court convictions on his record as an alien, the other having occurred in Los Angeles, a conviction for petty theft in 1942, which he stated in an affidavit had occurred regarding an outstanding hotel bill for $11. (His attorney should have had the charge reduced to defrauding an innkeeper as an infaction, or, better, simply obtained a dismissal through agreement with the hotel owner to pay the bill, explaining that it was not deliberate, that he was not following the story line of one of O. Henry's offerings.) He contended that at the time the conviction in Charlotte had been entered and he was sentenced to four months on the roads, he understood little English and did not know what the word "larceny" or a plea of "guilty" meant. The three police officers who had testified in the case had since died and there was no legal record of it maintained other than the daily minutes of the court. Before entering the television acting and producing business, he had sold Good Humor ice cream, cars, and been a secretary to a New York firm. He had been in the country since 1933, having been invited by his uncle who was forced into political exile.

On the editorial page, "Charlotte Needs Human Relations Group" indicates that, according to Southern School News, Raleigh, Greensboro and Rocky Mount each had interracial citizens' committees meeting regularly to work in the field of human relations and study ways to accommodate the Supreme Court's holding of the prior May 17 in Brown v. Board of Education. In Rock Hill, S.C., a Council on Human Relations had also been formed, and in Chicago, citizens were profiting from unpleasant experiences in racial friction by initiating information and education campaigns, while in Florida, a state group was studying problems related to Brown. The latter group had concluded that there was great misunderstanding between the races regarding segregation, with white leaders believing blacks to be more satisfied with the condition than they actually were, and black leaders believing that whites were more willing to accept desegregation gracefully than they actually were, with the solution being to take cooperative steps to bridge the gap and establish better understanding between the races through interracial meetings and cooperative activities already undertaken by teachers and school administrators in many counties of that state.

The previous spring, it points out, it had appeared that Charlotte was going to form such a human relations committee, the idea for which had been approved by the City Council the prior May, and Mayor Philip Van Every having announced on May 26 that he hoped to appoint within two weeks such a 25-member committee. At the time, the newspaper had complimented him on his leadership and said that such a committee should have been appointed sometime earlier, but taking responsibility for the lateness by not having "needled" the mayor to establish such a committee. Yet, nearly four months later, there was still no appointment of the committee.

A hospital study group would soon make its report on providing better hospital facilities for the black population of the community. The Supreme Court would soon hear oral arguments on the implementing decision in Brown, and the need for a human relations committee, which could solve the small problems before they became big ones, was now more urgent than ever. It urges, therefore, that the Mayor appoint such a committee so that it could begin its work.

"A Free-Wheeling Musical Renaissance" indicates that the growth and popular success of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra was not an isolated phenomenon but part of a "free-wheeling musical renaissance" which was occurring throughout the nation. Approximately 150 other symphonies across the nation were doing as Charlotte's community orchestra, planning their 1954-55 season. Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York were no longer the only venues for hearing fine music.

It finds that Charlotte had more ground to boast of its musical heritage than most Southern cities, with its orchestra having been in place for 22 years. Its director, James Christian Pfohl, would conduct during its most ambitious season, with six pairs of subscription concerts and a string of internationally known soloists slated to perform.

Across the country, there were no sizable cities where classical music was not performed on a fairly regular basis, and even in the smallest communities, there were one-night performances by the world's top touring talent. For the first time in history, America was becoming a musical mecca, with Europe's greatest composers moving to the country to work and live, including Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, Paul Hindemith and Bohuslav Martinu. And there were native-born composers, such as Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, David Diamond and Roger Sessions.

At the Metropolitan Opera, of 16 new singers added at the beginning of the previous season, eight were Americans, indicative of the new level of talent in the country, winning approval in the European operatic meccas as well.

It urges fostering and nurturing of this new surge in fine music appreciation in the country and suggests that it could start in Charlotte by support of the community symphony and all other cultural activities.

"For Inventors" indicates its desire for a double mirror for the automobile, with one mirror mounted on the right side of the car and another on the left, with perhaps also a periscope added to enable the driver to see what was going on ahead in a traffic jam. When finally invented, it suggests opening a sales office for it on the three-lane E. 7th St., over which lane-jumpers regularly proliferated.

A piece from the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, titled "A Dog's Life—1954 Edition", relates of an experiment having recently been initiated in Texas to determine the effect, if any, of living in completely air-conditioned homes, with doctors, psychologists, sociologists and other such professionals participating in the experiment.

It suggests that it had left out veterinarians to determine the effect on pets, and so wishes to pass along a case history of a Montgomery dog-owner who had bought a window air conditioner during the summer, finding that the long-haired dog which hated summer, its ancestors being retrievers accustomed to icy waters and near-arctic weather, having immensely welcomed and enjoyed the new apparatus, soon refusing to eat unless his bowl had been placed in line with the blowing air, refusing to go outside during the daytime, except to accommodate nature.

A couple of days earlier, the writer had taken the dog with him to the grocery store and left him in the car, returning within a couple of minutes to find the dog gone, eventually discovering him in a drugstore a half block away, parked in front of the air conditioner with "an ecstatic look on his woolly face."

The Democratic Digest tells of the origins of certain traditions and phrases in American politics, that for the previous 109 years, Congressional elections had been held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, the determination of that date having been based on weather conditions, religious scruples and harvesting of crops in earlier times. In 1792, the first Wednesday in December had been fixed by law as the day when presidential electors would meet every quadrennial to cast their ballots for the presidency and vice-presidency, the same law having permitted the states to name their electors any time within 34 days prior to that date. Until 1845, there had been no uniform nationwide election day, with most states having held November elections, but varying state to state as to the precise day. Results in one state were used to influence the results in another, and unscrupulous partisans could vote for presidential electors several times. In 1840 and again in 1844, both major parties, the Whigs and Democrats, had been accused of sending gangs of voters across state lines for that purpose. In January, 1845, outgoing Whig President John Tyler signed an act fixing the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November as the national day for electing presidential electors.

At that time, public opinion disfavored holding of elections on the Sabbath, and holding them on a Monday would have caused many voters to have to begin their travel on Sunday to reach the polling places. November was ideal because the crops had been harvested in most sections of the country, but winter had not yet made the dirt roads impassable.

The major political parties did not regularly adopt political platforms until after the Civil War. The Anti-Masonic Party had developed the first one in 1831, while the Whigs and Democrats, for the ensuing 30 years, adopted them whimsically. Permanent national committees were not established by the Democrats until 1848 and by the new Republican Party at its inception in 1856.

George Stimpson, in A Book about American Politics, had traced the origin of several political words and phrases, such as "fence-mending", which all politicians did when they returned to their home districts or states. That phrase had been established by Republican Secretary of State John Sherman, brother of General William Tecumseh Sherman, in 1879, when, returning home to Ohio, having been cornered by reporters who wanted to know if he had come back to run for governor, to which he had replied that he had rather come home to mend fences and look after his neglected property. The press then seized on the phrase as being a diversion from his political ambitions. Instead of running for governor, he had actually run for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1880, 1884 and 1888.

Mr. Stimpson traced "smoke-filled room" to an Associated Press reporter in June, 1920, at the time of the Republican nomination of Warren G. Harding for the presidency, as the locale where the nomination was decided. He believed that such terms as "race", "favorite", "runner-up", "henchman", "bolt the ticket", "scratched ticket", "dark horse", and "stalking horse" had been borrowed from racetrack language popular in England, when most politicians had been horse-racing fans and bettors. "Stand pat", "New Deal", "Fair Deal", etc., had been borrowed from the poker table. Prior to 1800, the colonists had followed the English practice of calling pre-election contests "canvasses", but as elections had become more militant, they came to be known as "campaigns", with associated terms such as "camp", "high command", "war chest", "spoils", etc., coming into use. "On the hustings" had come from two Anglo-Saxon words meaning house and assembly, respectively, originally a council of a royal household, later a court held in English towns before royal magistrates. It notes that some local courts in Virginia were still known as "husting courts". A hustings court in 18th Century London was held on a platform, which came to be called the husting.

"Lame duck" derived from stock market slang, whereby in the 18th Century, a member of the London Stock Exchange who was absolutely bankrupt was called a "dead duck", while one whose finances were only crippled, was a "lame duck". President Lincoln had apparently been the first occupant of the White House to make frequent use of that term in a political sense. (If true, that becomes especially poignant, as the origin of the term "break a leg", with regard to actors entering on a play, undoubtedly derives from John Wilkes Booth's unanticipated, sudden entrance to "Our American Cousin" on April 14, 1865. "Knock 'em dead" may have had the same origin.)

Courts had held that a bet by a participant on the outcome of an election was against public policy and void as tending toward corruption, with several states disqualifying someone who bet on the result in a challenged election. Nevertheless, election bets were an old American custom. In 1856, a Washington columnist had declared publicly that if former President Millard Fillmore did not carry Massachusetts in the election, he would wheel a barrel of apples from Newburyport to Boston, and it had taken him two days to accomplish that feat after losing the bet, but securing his place in the history books in so doing.

Drew Pearson indicates that shortly before the President had called the National Security Council meeting the previous day, Pentagon advisers had begun to obtain appreciation for what cessation of military aid to France would mean under the pending "agonizing reappraisal" of aid to France in the wake of its refusal to ratify the European Defense Community treaty providing for a unified Western European army. A billion dollars worth of U.S.-built air bases, docks, warehouses, pipelines, highways, auxiliary fuel depots, and supply dumps were extant in France, all designed to prevent an invasion of Western Europe by the Communists, and to remove the facilities would cost another billion, in addition to the problem of where otherwise to place the facilities. To place them in West Germany would be problematic, as nearly anything could occur with the aging Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, and with the apparent inevitability of unification of West and East Germany, there would come the question as to who would be in control, Western allies or Communists.

Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith had been saying that the U.S. had "oversold" EDC as being more important than it actually was. But the experts who planned defense did not agree. Nor did the realistic diplomats. The killing of EDC had been the greatest triumph the Soviets had yet accomplished in the cold war, greater than the Kremlin had ever anticipated. Regardless of the peace established with Egypt in the Suez Canal Zone and a new oil agreement with Iran, those facts were merely incidental compared to the diplomatic defeat in Western Europe regarding EDC.

Mr. Pearson indicates that one of the mistakes of Secretary of State Dulles was viewing Premier Pierre Mendes-France as a great man after only a one-day conference with him, now believing him to have sold out EDC to the Soviets in return for a deal with Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov for the truce in Indo-China, on which the Premier had staked his Government formed shortly before the promised truce by July 20. Another mistake, he indicates, might have been talking publicly about an "agonizing reappraisal" of foreign aid, instead of applying pressure privately through diplomatic channels. Secretary Dulles had made that statement in the spring, largely in appeasement of Republican isolationists in Congress, and when foreign policy was based on appeasing Congress, it was not always good for the country.

Governor Thomas Dewey, who had indicated his determination not to run for a fourth term in the fall, had made a deal with the President to act as a foreign affairs troubleshooter, keeping him in the newspapers and with the ability to make a later comeback politically. His wife had been insistent that he retire from politics and his sons did not relish the thought of continuing their schooling with bodyguards around.

One argument against Congressman Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., being the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in New York rather than Averell Harriman was that the latter, while no great speaker, was a good vote-getter, as was Senator and former Governor Herbert Lehman. Another argument was that Mr. Harriman had a large amount of executive experience, having been Secretary of Commerce, head of the Union Pacific Railroad, and head of the foreign aid program, a more impressive resume than that of Senator Irving Ives, the Republican opponent.

The best bet for the Republican nominee for State Attorney General in New York would be Congressman Jacob Javits.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the National Security Council meeting called the previous day by the President concerned the fate of Formosa and all of the Far East, not, as most thought, only the fate of Quemoy, about which most people were unconcerned. The choice was between letting Quemoy fall to the Communists or supporting it with the air and naval power of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, with the consequences of failing to support the Nationalist forces on the outpost island being that within two or three years, those forces would be an army of old men by oriental standards, of doubtful value to the non-Communist world, and that the position of Formosa, at present politically precarious, might become worse, to the point of falling from within to the Communists. The tendency of Chiang Kai-shek in times of difficulty was to surround himself with his favorites with whom he felt comfortable, having demonstrated that characteristic late the previous June, following the May 7 fall in Indo-China of the French fortress at Dien Bien Phu, when he dismissed his army commander and replaced him with a political favorite, Huang Chieh, having a demoralizing effect on the Nationalist army.

U.S. failure to support the Nationalists on Quemoy would accelerate that political decay, as the Nationalist raison d'etre on Formosa was the hope of return to the mainland, already diminished because of the defeat of the West in Indo-China and the stalemate truce reached in Korea. The Communist capture of Quemoy would end all hopes on Formosa, as it was an essential stepping stone to the mainland. With Quemoy, Amoy harbor, a base for the Communists, would provide a staging area for subsequent attack on Formosa, itself, provided the political disintegration on Formosa which would likely follow the loss of Quemoy would not render such a direct attack unnecessary, as Formosa would possibly fall thereafter from within.

They conclude that the Quemoy crisis did not end with Formosa, that the U.S. appeared, after the Communist triumph in Indo-China, to be something like a "paper tiger" to many non-Communist Asians, that if the U.S. followed that defeat by not making an attempt to prevent the loss of Quemoy, it would be perceived as a final demonstration of Communist power and U.S. weakness and irresolution. At that point, non-Communists all over Asia would run for cover. Thus, the stakes were very high regarding what to do about the threat to Quemoy.

A letter writer from Rock Hill, S.C., praises the newspaper's editorial on Charlotte's need for better air service, relating that he had recently boarded a plane at the new terminal in the city and wondered why it was not served by the larger airlines such as American and National. He says that the editorial contained an error, that, according to the 1953 World Almanac, Charlotte was the 69th largest city in the country in population as of the 1950 census, not 97th. He says that despite having been a native of Raleigh and having lived there all of his life, he was a booster of Charlotte from the time he first had seen it a couple of years earlier, that he was now living in Rock Hill with his parents who had recently moved there, and would shortly start his sophomore year at Duke University.

The editors remark that the letter writer was correct on Charlotte's rank in the 1950 census.

A letter from Congressman Abraham Multer thanks the newspaper for its editorial credit of his and Congressman Usher Burdick's votes against outlawing the Communist Party, and indicates that he had taken the liberty of adding the editorial to the Congressional Record of August 20.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for its editorial about the "Pogo" comic strip, finding it to be the very best one and urges not leaving it out anymore from the Saturday comics, which appeared in color, making her hate the advertiser who had pushed it off the Saturday page.

A letter writer from Greensboro congratulates the newspaper for its editorial on the need for better air service, indicating that many times, he had experienced tiresome layovers waiting for planes in Charlotte, the same being true of the Greensboro-High Point Airport, urges improved service in both places.

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