The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 12, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Columbia, S.C., outgoing Governor James Byrnes of South Carolina told the General Assembly this date that regardless of what the Supreme Court might do in its implementing decision later in the year in Brown v. Board of Education, he was confident that the people of the state would see to it that the children received an education. The previous day, a 15-member legislative committee studying the problem of school desegregation had recommended action to ensure more local control over schools. The Governor had made no recommendation on the subject of public schools because he did not see how one could "intelligently legislate on that subject" until the Supreme Court decided the manner of implementation. He stated his belief that the Court should return the South Carolina segregation case out of Clarendon County, subsumed under Brown, to the Federal District Court, with instructions to draft a decree in accordance with its decision of May 17, which held segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional. He also said that if black students deserted their black teachers and sought to attend white schools, "and as a result our public school system be endangered, the responsibility for that tragedy will rest upon them and not upon" the Legislature.

Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina spent ten minutes at the White House this date discussing military reserve problems with the President, telling reporters afterward that the President gave him a special message to be made public at a meeting ofthe Reserve Officers Association, of which Senator Thurmond was president.

In San Jose, Costa Rica, an air raider described as a Venezuelan pursuit plane which had come from Nicaragua had machine-gunned San Jose this date and then was shot down by anti-aircraft fire, according to the civil guard. The plane had buzzed the downtown area and fired machine-gun bursts into a residential sector, with three bursts aimed at the section surrounding the home of the President of Costa Rica, Jose Figueres. Meanwhile, Costa Rican troops had launched an attack on an armed band which had seized the Villa Quesada area the previous day. President Figueres and El Presidente Anatasio Somoza of neighboring Nicaragua had developed an ongoing dispute since a failed assassination attempt on the latter the prior April, which El Presidente blamed on Costa Rica, followed by an alleged overthrow attempt of President Figueres some three months later, which the latter attributed to Nicaragua and had sought two days earlier from the Organization of American States a meeting to consider the matter because of military transport planes arriving near the border from Venezuela, believed to contain an invasion force, a complaint met with mockish response by Nicaraguan officials, claiming the planes were only part of a good will training exercise.

The President went to Burning Tree Club in Maryland for lunch this date and perhaps a round of golf.

That suspicious "Bulletins" column appears for the second time, along with the "Street Final" designation for the edition, very troublesome and again causing suspicion of a Commie takeover at the News. The column indicates that in Los Angeles, a jury this date had found George Hormel II, heir to the meatpacking fortune, not guilty of charges of marijuana possession, resulting in a burst of applause erupting in the courtroom, prompting the judge to order the bailiff to hold the demonstrators in the room; that in Rome, French Premier Pierre Mendes-France and Italian Premier Mario Scelba were reported this night to have reached full agreement on the principle of the French plan for a European arms pool, with an informant reporting that a group of experts would meet in Paris on January 17 to work out the details; that John Vaught would remain as head coach of the football team at the University of Mississippi, having been mentioned as a possible successor to Clyde Lee at the University of Houston; that the director of the National Park Service this date had promised that North Carolinians would be able to travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mount Mitchell without charge, even though the Parkway had become a toll road; that in San Rafael, Calif., actor Robert Mitchum had been released as the star of the motion picture "Blood Alley", being filmed in the Bay Area of San Francisco, with the publicity agent for Warner Brothers having stated that the co-producer of the film, Robert Fellows, had fired Mr. Mitchum because he had pushed a man from a gangplank into the bay; that in Beeville, Tex., the Undersecretary of the Navy, Thomas Gates, and several high Naval officers had escaped injury in a crash landing at Chase Field this date when the nose-wheel of their transport plane collapsed on landing, with no one hurt. Whether Mr. Mitchum or any controlled substance was also involved in that one is not stated.

Near Burlington, Ky., two airplanes had collided in mid-air several miles southwest of the Greater Cincinnati Airport this date, killing 15 persons, ten passengers and three crew members of a TWA plane and two persons in a Douglas DC-3 plane. It had not been determined what caused the two planes to collide, the TWA plane having cleared the field only a few minutes earlier and the other plane not having been recorded as being in the vicinity.

In Allendale, S.C., the police chief had been critically wounded early this date while attempting to arrest a man, an escapee from a county jail who shot the chief six times. Several hours later, an officer arriving with the State Law Enforcement Division men to join in the hunt for the man in the swamp lands along the Savannah River, had fallen dead of a heart attack.

Near Labelle, Fla., a fugitive staged a shooting attack on a state prison camp this date "to surprise the guard, take over the prison and free his buddies", according to the camp supervisor. The prisoner had been shot through the stomach by a guard and was in the hospital in serious condition. The guard had been shot through the foot when the prisoner had opened fire without warning in the wee hours of the morning. He had escaped from the prison with three of his buddies the previous Tuesday and the following day turned up in Largo, Fla., seeking to get his wife to accompany him, firing a shot at his mother-in-law when she intervened, and then fleeing in an automobile. The prisoner, after being shot by the guard, had turned up at a hospital 30 miles away, claiming to have been wounded by a bandit, but nurses had called the sheriff's office. It was probably bad karma to shoot at his mother-in-law.

In Charlotte, a man convicted the previous summer in Superior Court of airplane theft, had his four to eight-year suspended sentence put into effect after he pleaded guilty to six other offenses. A police officer testified that he had led four police cars on a 40-minute, 70 mph chase through the city during the morning of December 21, with those charges having resulted in violations of his probation and activation of the suspended sentences received the previous June, plus an additional one to two-year suspended sentence imposed on the December 21 charges, which included reckless driving, speeding, driving on a revoked license, resisting arrest, and two charges of assault with a deadly weapon by means of an automobile. A doctor testified that a portion of the defendant's stomach had been removed and that he was in need of psychiatric care. Well, who would not be if they did not have all of their stomach? There is something missing in the coverage by the compleat reporter.

Dick Young of The News tells of the nine-year old son of a local resident having been located just two hours after the home edition of the newspaper had been delivered, carrying a story of the search for the youngster who had been one of the two percent chosen for blood tests in the polio vaccine demonstration while a student at a school in Nassau County, New York. Efforts to locate him through the local schools had been unsuccessful and the City-County health officer had asked for help from the newspaper. The family had not been living in Charlotte long, but their name was recognized by a member of the congregation of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, who immediately telephoned the health officer. After being located, he was transported to the municipal laboratory where the blood sample was obtained, all within two hours after the story had appeared.

In Tel Aviv, the Israeli Government allocated full quotas of rationed rice to two Parisian chimpanzees, listing them as diplomats. The Tel Aviv zoo demanded the scarce rice to feed the two hungry chimpanzees, arriving recently as gifts from the Paris zoo. The ministry of trade and industry had said, however, that the regulations provided only for allocations of rice to humans, and so the matter was referred to higher levels, with the regulations still found to restrict the allocation of rice, until someone suggested diplomatic status for the monkeys as ambassadors of good will.

On the editorial page, "When Civic Haste May Make Waste" indicates that the Park & Recreation Commission had nearly reached a decision this date on a proposal to rebuild the fire-destroyed Armory-Auditorium, with indications being that a showdown vote would occur immediately after settlement of the insurance claims. It indicates that there was a grave danger that haste would make waste, that if the order were given immediately by the commissioners to rebuild before the need for a new auditorium had been fully documented, a structure would be rebuilt for which there would be insufficient demand to justify its expenditure.

There was a new community center, the David Ovens Auditorium and Charlotte Coliseum, almost complete, with finishing touches requiring the issuance of additional bonds in the amount of $750,000, to be voted on later in the year. It was very likely that those facilities would adequately meet the needs of the city. But some Park & Recreation commissioners disagreed, believing that there was a demand for a small auditorium which could be rented at comparatively low prices for such events as professional wrestling, high school basketball, religious meetings and other functions with limited attendance. But that belief was based on assumptions that the new Auditorium-Coliseum would charge higher rates for such events, while a sliding fee scale was being considered.

So it urges proceeding deliberately and slowly in the matter, waiting until the new Auditorium-Coliseum was completed and given the opportunity to demonstrate how it would meet the city's needs.

"A Test of N.C. Senate's Integrity" finds that the highest priority should be accorded the resolution of Mecklenburg County's State Senator Jack Blythe, which would initiate redistricting of the State Senate per the 1950 census. The resolution would have the Senate president appoint a committee of nine State Senators to propose altered district lines to reflect the population changes. It suggests that the speed and nature of the Senate's action on the resolution would be a test of its integrity, that the Senators were aware that there was gross inequity under the present system, that the State Constitution required the General Assembly to redistrict after every decennial census, the 1951 and 1953 biennial sessions having failed to do so. They were also aware that the voters of the state had decisively rejected at the previous election an amendment to the State Constitution which would have written into it the presently extant inequity.

In conclusion, it asks whether the legislators were fair-minded or wanting of principle, suggesting that the ensuing few weeks would tell.

"Mature Sex Education in Charlotte" indicates that writers always referred to children as being "reared" while livestock was "raised", but that it used to be the case that children were also raised, by a technique not dissimilar to that of stock-raising. It reprints on the editorial page an 1854 piece from the Prairie Farmer which illustrated the concept.

It indicates that people in those times had been ignorant of the facts of life and good health, one reason having been prudishness, the repetition of old wives' tales instead of frank discussion, with the result of high infant mortality.

It had only been about 20 years earlier that Surgeon General Thomas Parran and public health officials had broken down the taboos against discussion of venereal disease, with the words "syphilis" and "gonorrhea" finally entering the respectable vocabulary. It had not only been wonder drugs such as penicillin which had helped virtually to stamp out those diseases, but also a campaign by health educators to instruct the public regarding the facts.

It finds that sex education had suffered from similar restrictions, that only a few years earlier, the University of Oregon's film, titled "Human Growth", a sex education film for fifth and sixth graders, had stirred bitter controversy. But now, in several communities, parents and teachers had recognized the worth of sex education and similar visual presentations. Charlotte had become one of those communities, with the Family Life Education program ongoing in the Charlotte schools, directed by Dr. George Douglas, who was aided by health educators, teachers and many parents, affording many children a healthy understanding of a subject on which they might otherwise become either misinformed or continue to be uninformed, with resulting anxiety and anguish. Dr. Douglas was to present to the public a series on trends in sex education, sponsored by the Unitarian Forum, to be conducted at the Unitarian Church the following Friday evening and on two successive Fridays, to include the University of Oregon films and similar films by Walt Disney and McGraw-Hill. It commends the series to parents and teachers interested in the program.

"A New Dimension, with No Bother" tells of Superior Court Judge Francis O. Clarkson having the previous day allowed News photographer Jeep Hunter to take photographs during a session of criminal court, probably the first time it had ever occurred in Mecklenburg County. It congratulates the judge for becoming one of a number of judges who had opened their courtrooms to photographers, reflecting a growing understanding between the judiciary and the press, recognizing that indoor photography could now take place without distracting flashbulbs and from a distance.

Recently, in Guilford County, a photographer in a courtroom had been so unobtrusive that the judge did not realize the pictures had been taken. Sometimes the press, through editorials, had been too quick to condemn the judiciary for barring new communications media, while some judges had set forth capricious rules. It suggests that the right to inform the public while maintaining the obligations of the judiciary could be achieved through friendly cooperation between the press and judges, as shown in Charlotte the previous day.

But, as the Supreme Court would find in 1966, in reversing the conviction for second-degree murder of Dr. Samuel Sheppard the prior December 21, that level of cooperation could degenerate to the point of depriving an individual defendant of a basically fair trial guaranteed by due process. As previously pointed out, in one instance the press had even gone to the home of a juror, even if the juror was out shopping at the time, and photographed her husband and children in their home, among other forms of outrageously irresponsible conduct on the part of the press, with the court in each such instance shrugging its shoulders and indicating it did not know what it could do to control the matter. Meanwhile, the non-sequestered jury during the course of the ten-week trial was inevitably exposed to all manner of media judgment of the case, the end result having been a "carnival atmosphere" found by the Supreme Court.

A piece from the Kingsport (Tenn.) News, titled "It's Okay To Whistle", asks whether it was proper to whistle at a pretty girl, suggesting that it all depended, that at the University of Kansas, about 1,200 male students had been gathering on campus to whistle and wolf-call at a shapely blonde coed as she walked to classes, while she did not care for the attention, saying it was a "shattering experience". But a young brunette at a Chattanooga girls' school disagreed, saying that wolf-calls and whistles made a girl feel as if she had "accomplished a purpose". She said that girls thought the practice silly but they liked it.

The piece imparts that there was a limit, that wolf calls and whistles from seedy-looking characters were not welcome, suggesting that perhaps the males at Kansas were seedier than those in Tennessee.

Girls, it advises, should never whistle back to boys when they whistled, but rather should keep moving, as that produced the whistles, pretending to ignore them. After the object of attention had walked a discreet distance, she was permitted to look back.

It concludes that the boys could whistle away, at least in Chattanooga.

In Money, Mississippi, the following August 28, 14-year old Emmett Till would learn how deadly serious a couple of Neanderthal brothers would regard an innocent wolf-whistle, with the penalty inflicted with complete impunity of a vicious, fatal beating, one which would wind up igniting the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott in December, 1955, bringing not only Rosa Parks but also the Reverend Martin Luther King to the forefront of American conscience, making, in the end, young Mr. Till's innocent wolf-whistle the most significant such gesture in the history of the country, a wolf-whistle literally heard eventually around the world, the boycott leading inexorably to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, institutionalizing the slow but steady integration of society, by fits and starts, but nevertheless with progress through time. But we shall get there next August. In the meantime, the fact should not be lost in the process that the implementing decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which would be decided in May, would precede the murder of Emmett Till by only three months.

Drew Pearson tells of the White House preparing to cut some of its political liabilities by getting rid of ambitious Charles Willis, a political fixer who made some of the fixers in the Truman White House look like pikers. He had pulled wires to hand out patronage jobs, sidestepping Civil Service rules in the process, had gone to two friendly FCC commissioners, John Doerfer and Robert E. Lee, to intervene on behalf of supporters of the President to obtain television licenses, Mr. Pearson citing one instance of a television license in St. Petersburg, Florida, which was to go to the St. Petersburg Times, instead winding up, on the intervention of Mr. Willis, going to the friendly Richmond News-Leader and Times-Dispatch for their support of the President. He had angered Republicans for his zeal in placing Republicans in career jobs, circumventing the civil service laws. Each time he did so, he had to consult with three or four Senators and Congressmen, obtain the endorsement of local politicians, and check with the RNC and the White House. Republicans in Congress had complained that they were not consulted and then he had worked out a system for clearing Federal jobs quietly with members, but his plan had leaked to the newspapers and resulted in a public protest.

J. Edgar Hoover, who had deserted his usual nonpolitical stance to support Senator McCarthy, had made another interesting backstage move, with two FBI agents having gone to the Senate recently and advised Senator Harley Kilgore of West Virginia, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to retain Richard Arends as counsel of the Committee, unusual for the fact that members of the executive branch did not normally advise the legislative branch on such matters, especially when the inference was given that the FBI would not cooperate if Mr. Arends were removed. He had been an appointee of the late Senator Pat McCarran and had run afoul of Senators Tom Hennings of Missouri and Arthur Watkins of Utah, both of whom wanted him off the staff of the Committee. Mr. Pearson indicates that it would be interesting to see whether they prevailed or whether the chairman would listen to the advice of Mr. Hoover.

Joseph Alsop, in Bangkok, tells of the current joke going around in the more literate circles being the cover of an American news magazine showing a portrait of Secretary of State Dulles, beneath which read, "He strengthened the outposts."

Thailand was the richest prize in the vast, rich Southeast Asian area, presently the primary target of world Communist infiltration and aggression. But the outposts in the region had not been noticeably strengthened. Northern Indo-China had already been surrendered and the enemy had been virtually handed the keys to two more outposts, Southern Indo-China and the offshore islands of Formosa. The sacrifice of Northern Indo-China had placed the two weak but strategically vital border states of Laos and Cambodia in deadly danger. If both were to fall, no one believed that Thailand, a "charming, feckless, oddly governed country", would be able to withstand the increased Communist pressure along its borders. Thus, a chain reaction would take place with mounting force.

Mr. Alsop suggests that at home, the prospect of such an upheaval in the world balance of power perhaps still seemed comfortably remote, but in Thailand it was not so, for several different reasons. The first was simple geography. During the imperialist days, when the French had seized Thailand's border provinces to form Laos and enlarge Cambodia, they had drawn the new frontier with the purpose of preparing their next planned move, which was to have been a grab of Bangkok. Any force concentrated at Sisophon on the Cambodian border directly threatened any government in Bangkok, only 168 miles away and within easy walking or driving distance, with no natural defense barriers intervening. At a time of more acute danger, a couple of years hence, the army of the Vietminh would comprise somewhere between 15 and 20 tough regular divisions, while the present Thai forces, unlikely to increase in the interim, consisted of about 50,000 combat troops and approximately 15,000 paramilitary police, thus grossly outmanned.

In consequence, neither SEATO nor any other force could arrive in time to save Bangkok from a determined Vietminh attack staged from Sisophon. A relieving force would only liberate Thailand after it had been subjugated, pillaged and purged. Thus the mere threat of an enemy force at Sisophon could cause Thailand to fall and Secretary Dulles's "massive retaliation" would be complicated to deploy under such circumstances, with it much wiser to cease talking about such retaliation and to face the hard fact that if Cambodia were to fall, Thailand would almost surely follow.

The loss of Laos might not be fatal. At present, there were Vietminh stooges strongly established in two Laotian provinces, while Cambodia remained virtually free of Vietminh infiltration. Laos had been disorganized by Indochinese fighting and the non-Communist Laotian Government was just as disorganized as the country. The border between Laos and Thailand was very long and not effectively patrolled. Mr. Alsop tells of having gone from Nongkhay up the Mekong River to Vietiane in Laos in a border patrol launch. On the Thai side of the border with Laos was the northeastern Thai region, already somewhat disaffected because of it being drought stricken and poorer than the rest of the country, and containing two fifth columns, one of which was a group of about 45,000 Vietminh refugees from the French, admitted to Thailand eight years earlier by then Prime Minister Pridi Phanamayong, who since had become a Communist stooge in Peiping.

Mr. Alsop had seen those Vietnamese when he was in North Vietnam, and the vast majority of them were controlled by an underground Vietminh government with its own Communist headman, its own police force and Communist courts. The Vietminh grip was such that even the Catholic Vietnamese around Nongkhay were politically ruled by the Communists, and their priests could do nothing about it. The Thai Government was trying vaguely to repatriate the Vietminh fifth column to their own country, but in northeast Thailand, there were admirers of a magnetic local chieftain who was believed to have as many as 300,000 or 400,000 followers in the provinces. After being rumored dead, the chieftain had turned up with Ho Chi Minh and was now seeking to recruit followers throughout northeast Thailand for training with the Vietminh as future infiltrators.

Mr. Alsop concludes that for the reason provided in a previous column, that the mass of Thais hated the Chinese and Vietnamese and regarded Communism as an enemy export, the situation might still be rescued were Laos to fall to the Communists, but it would not be so if facts were not faced and if wordy boasts continued to be substituted for policy-making, and if the U.S. failed to show the kind of preparatory foresight demonstrated by the chieftain, his masters having already instructed him to lay the groundwork for the push in Thailand, which he knew was some years ahead.

Doris Fleeson indicates that the major political parties had begun to compete with one another in the effort to obtain maximum advantage from their "new look" presidential nominating conventions and campaigns. Democrats had tentatively announced the previous Friday that they would open their 1956 convention on August 27, about five weeks later than usual, while still on a Monday.

A Republican subcommittee had met the following day and tentatively approved a September convention, to meet the week following Labor Day, which would be the first time since 1888 that the Republicans would hold their convention after the Democrats.

Democrats were skeptical of the Republican calendar because it would run into the period of Rosh Hashanah, to begin on September 5 and conclude on September 16 with Yom Kippur. It was said that the majority of American Jews were orthodox or conservative and observed those holidays. That would relegate the Republicans to between Labor Day on Monday, September 3 and sundown on Wednesday, September 6 to avoid conflict with the Jewish holidays. The next available dates would be the week of September 17.

The fact that Republicans proposed to renominate President Eisenhower made it possible for them to run a very short campaign, and they were creating conditions which would make it virtually impossible for the President to refuse a draft. The 1956 election would occur on November 6 and a September Republican convention would mean a very short campaign period, such that a new Republican candidate would be unable to be built up in such a short time. It was questionable whether the President understood that fact when he approved of the September nominating convention. If he did understand it, it was a virtual admission that he was running again.

Democrats were counting on facing the President in 1956, but there was always room for prudence and a second line of defense. When the RNC would meet, the tentative proposal on the convention schedule would be scrutinized.

The Prairie Farmer, in an issue from 1854, discusses infant and early childhood mortality occurring at the time in alarmingly high proportions, suggesting that if the loss were as high in any other branch of stock raising, it would have been inquired into and certain general principles of management ascertained, but because children were endowed with incipient reasoning faculties, adults seemed to forget that children were animals and as such amenable to physiological laws. It posits that the worst problem during the first six months after birth was undue officiousness, the desire to do something for the baby, recommending that if Providence had sent the parents such a stranger, they should not kill it with kindness.

It says that they should not feed the baby, not even a teaspoonful of cold water, that they should let it alone and it would nestle about and cry when it got hungry, that it would not starve. Healthy children were always good-natured. Parents should not keep a little dish of crackers and water on the stove for it if a wet nurse could not be obtained should the infant be deficient in nutriment, the best practical substitute prior to the appearance of the first teeth being new cow's milk with from half to two-thirds water and sweetened with "load" sugar.

The diet of the mother was very important, with meat not to be eaten more than once per day, not much exercise taken in the open air, and a dinner of beefsteak probably to be followed by a "cross fit" with the baby. Entertaining those principles, "it will not be expected that we should stop here to bestow any remark on those women that delegate this kind care to a wet nurse, or even resort to artificial feeding in order to bestow their time on balls and routs."

The editors refer the reader to the above editorial on mature sex education in Charlotte.

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