The Charlotte News

Monday, January 3, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the State Department this date had declared 27 percent of the United States off limits to Russians, amounting to retaliation against restrictions placed on U.S. citizens traveling in the Soviet Union. It was the first time that areas of the country were so restricted for travel by Soviet citizens, while the Soviet Union had maintained such restrictions in place for several years. The notice indicated that if Russia would drop its limitations on travel, the U.S. would reciprocate. The restrictions included parts of 39 states, most of the border with Mexico, and the Great Lakes region along the Canadian border. The areas had been chosen, according to officials, based on "reciprocity and security", reciprocity presumably referring to areas similar to those restricted in Russia. The restrictions did not apply to the 50 or so Soviet citizens working for the U.N. State Department officials said that about 30 percent of the land area in the Soviet Union was closed to access by U.S. citizens or other foreigners. Rules which had been put in place three years earlier by the State Department had required Soviet embassy personnel and members of Amtorg, the Russian trade agency, as well as representatives of Tass and other Soviet press agencies, to remain within 25 miles of the centers of Washington and New York City, able to travel elsewhere only by providing advance notice. But no cities or areas had been placed strictly off limits under those earlier restrictions. The Soviet Union had reduced its restricted areas on June 22, 1953, but had recently reversed that trend, adding more cities and areas where foreigners could not travel.

The Administration reported this date that the number of persons it had dropped from the Federal payroll and classed as "security risks" had reached 8,008 by the prior September 30, of whom 2,096 had "subversive data" in their files. In a March report, the latter figure had been only 383, and in an October report, had stood at 1,743, the latter report having covered data available through July 1, 1954. In none of the reports had there been a breakdown to indicate how many of the cases listed as containing "subversive data" had been outright firings and how many had been resignations while under investigation. In the two earlier reports, the number of persons either fired or resigned who had been classified as "security risks" were 2,486 and 6,926, respectively. The figures, however, were not strictly comparable because, unlike the two earlier reports, the one issued this date did not include figures for the CIA. Of the total presented this date, 3,002 had been listed as being fired outright while 5,006 had resigned before final determination of their cases. The total represented about a third of a percent of the approximately 2.3 million Federal workers. The Democrats, shortly to be in control of both houses of Congress, had promised to investigate the Administration regarding its claims of having cleaned out "thousands" of subversives from the Government, with the implication that they had been allowed to remain during the Truman Administration, that claim having been primarily voiced by Vice-President Nixon during the midterm election campaigns. Many Democrats had challenged the figures, calling them a "hoax" and a "numbers game". Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina, who would head the Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee in the new Congress, had said that his Committee would conduct a full inquiry into the matter. He had sought a full report on the program from the Civil Service Commission. The report issued this date covered the period between May 28, 1953, when the Eisenhower security program had taken effect, through September 30, 1954. The program was aimed at weeding out drunks, gossips and people with records as law violators, as well as Communists, fellow travelers and persons of questionable loyalty. Unlike the program under the Truman Administration, the new program made no distinction between the disloyal and the security risks.

In New York, General Motors stock gained around nine dollars per share at times during the trading day, while the rest of the market made only moderate gains, running between one dollar and three dollars per share. The G.M. increase came in the wake of rumors on Wall Street that the company might declare either a stock dividend, a split or that it faced the possibility of antitrust action. DuPont, which owned 20 million shares of G.M. common stock, had a similar rise in stock prices. A spokesman for G.M. had no comment. Brokers indicated that either a higher dividend, whether in cash or stock, or a stock split, would provide the stock with more value. The stock had been selling at $99.87 per share in 1950 when the stock had split two shares for one, and the previous year it had hit a high of $98.75, this date hitting $100 per share, the equivalent of $200 for the stock prior to the 1950 split. On Friday, the Associated Press average of 60 stocks had gained 60 cents, to $155.20, the third highest level in history and only $2.50 away from the all-time high, established on September 3, 1929, just before the October Crash.

Several "Bulletins" are presented, a feature not previously on the front page, indicating various and sundry things of which you will definitely wish to read, from the Davis Cup in tennis to an Archie Moore versus Rocky Marciano boxing match, to the House Campaign Expenditures Committee recommending that North Carolina absentee voting and registration laws be revised and administered fairly, following in the wake of its investigation into irregularities reported in the 9th Congressional District election, won by Representative Hugh Alexander by 5,000 votes, to the escape of six Indian prisoners from the Robeson County prison camp near Lumberton early during the morning, having escaped by picking the lock of their cell block door, to an update from Cleveland, O., on the motion for a new trial for Dr. Samuel Sheppard, convicted on December 21 of the second-degree murder of his wife, Marilyn, the prior July 4, with the judge having indicated that he would rule on the motion later this date or the following day, at least as to the first part of the motion, regarding 41 alleged legal errors during the ten-week trial. A hearing had been set for Saturday on the other part of the new trial motion, regarding newly discovered evidence, consisting of alleged bias expressed by certain members of the jury, not disclosed during original voir dire, other alleged juror misconduct, and regarding press pictures having been taken of jurors while dining and certain other alleged interference by the press with the basic fairness of the trial.

In Charlotte, the man who, the previous spring, had been accused of defrauding his new bride of about $250,000, eventually convicted in July and sentenced to eight years in prison, would have his appeal heard at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Charlotte on Wednesday. During their honeymoon, he had suddenly disappeared in his cream-colored Cadillac with tangerine interior, telling his new bride that he was going out to get the electric windows repaired, or to buy new windshield wipers, depending on the version, leaving her at a Fredericksburg, Virginia, motel, with the large sums of her money and her jewelry in the trunk of the car, after he had convinced her to liquidate her property so that they could enjoy life together. He then claimed to have been followed by another car and had to take evasive action to protect the money and jewelry, eventually leaving the car in Paterson, N.J., and proceeding on to New York by train, later awakening in a New York City hotel after sleeping for 48 hours straight, claiming not to remember anything about his new wife until he read in the newspaper that he was wanted for absconding with her property. He had then turned himself in to police. After his arrest, another woman, to whom the man had been married in 1948, told of having turned $55,000 in cash and $30,000 in bonds over to her new husband, at which point he had also disappeared. He was convicted of transporting in interstate commerce, from Virginia to New York, properties obtained by fraud from his bride. The Government's appellate brief indicated that the evidence presented at trial had shown that he had represented himself to her as a big dealer in gold in Mexico and induced her to sell her real estate holdings in Florida for $250,000, which she had then turned over to him for safe-keeping. El Dorado...

Evangelist Billy Graham was planning to return home to Charlotte on January 15, to speak at a dinner meeting of the Charlotte Executives Club, with attendance limited to 600 because of seating capacity of the dining room.

In New York, the childless wife of a Navy fighter pilot said she was "thrilled to death" over her delayed Christmas present, an adopted foundling whom her husband was bringing home from Greece, a 17-month old girl. The couple had been married for five years, and the husband had stated in Athens that they had been trying for more than seven months to adopt a child within the United States, but had found that there were ten families waiting in line for every child available. He said that diaper supply was his greatest concern during the return trip, but his wife believed he would be able to handle things well, as they had done some babysitting for friends, and her husband loved children. The husband had arranged for a leave to go to Greece, giving up Christmas at home, to complete the adoption.

In Columbia, S.C., Sarah Withers, the author of the "Baby Ray" primers, from which many of an earlier generation had learned to read, had died at 82 the previous day after being ill and hospitalized for the prior two months. She was a native of Chester and had lived in Columbia for the previous decade, after retiring 15 years earlier from her position as editor of the Johnson Publishing Co. in Richmond, Va. Familiar to an earlier class of primary school reading initiates was her: "Baby Ray has a chick. Baby Ray loves his chick." Like, daddy, we never heard of that stuff. Alice and Jerry and their friends, Dick and Jane, maybe Bob, Carol and Ted, too, are the hep cats in town, nowadays.

In Charlotte, police said that Bob Crosby had stolen a trumpet from Johnny Ray and was caught trying to pawn it this date, neither of the men being related to the famous musician and singer bearing the same names.

The front page, incidentally, bears a notation, "Street Final", which we have never seen previously. Whether it suggests that some Commie has infiltrated The News, we do not pretend to know, but it is highly disturbing, especially the presence of that "Bulletin" box. Something is going on here. Something is going down, which will not stand the light of day! Let the heavens fall…

On the editorial page, "State Withholding Tax Law Needed" indicates that the state should junk its antiquated system of collecting State income taxes and adopt a sensible withholding tax law, which would benefit wage earners and State Government, the latter in need of revenue. It provides details and urges the 1955 General Assembly, which had rejected the idea in 1949, to pass it.

"Population: North Carolina Lags" indicates that fresh evidence of the swift postwar expansion of the state's industry had been provided by the Kiplinger Washington Agency, publisher of the Kiplinger Letter, indicating that during the previous five years, the number of North Carolina businesses had increased by 16 percent, with only Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada and New Mexico having established larger gains among all of the states. The national average for business growth had been only four percent.

Yet, the state lagged behind the national average in population growth, as during the previous five years, the population of the state had increased by only four percent while the national average was six percent. Meanwhile, among the Southern states, Florida had a 26 percent increase in population, Texas, 13 percent, Maryland and Louisiana, nine percent, Virginia, six percent and Georgia, five percent, with South Carolina also registering four percent growth.

It indicates that expanding population meant expanding markets and that if the state continued to lag in population behind the national average, that statistic could produce problems for economic progress. A rapidly increasing population cultivated the boom psychology, with the feeling that the state was youthful, expanding and a good place in which to invest money. It opines that if the state was to hold its own economically, it would need large population growth during the late 1950's.

"Lightning over the Dark Abysses" tells of creative artists in the country having lamented the terrible state of American letters, complaining that there was no "great American novel". One writer, Frederick Prokosch of Wisconsin, a poet and novelist, had said that the nation had no great fiction which exposed the heart of America to the world, that the "great American novel" would "go beneath humdrum reality to shed light on America's true character" and that no other country had needed a great novel as much as the United States now did, "to help us understand ourselves."

The piece agrees to an extent, that Americans were newcomers to the arts, that as North Carolina's Kermit Hunter had pointed out, when Americans were fighting the Revolution, Mozart was composing his best music, and Haydn had been born the same year as George Washington, that while the U.S. struggled in the War of 1812, Beethoven had been creating his great symphonies. Only during the previous 75 years or so had the nation seen any substantial turn toward the use of native materials in the creation of art. But during that time, sensibility had played "like lightning over America's dark abysses."

In 1955, the American scene could hardly be seen as an unknown land, as it had been examined with clarity, beauty and artistry of presentation in music, painting and literature. There had not been only one "great American novel" but many, each, in its own way, shedding light on the American national character. It finds that it would be ridiculous to believe that the land could be summarized in one piece of fiction. John Steinbeck had spoken accurately when he said that anyone who presumed to speak for all of America was a fool, a demagogue or a liar. He said: "Our writers do not say, 'This is America.' They say—'This is a part I know and love and criticize and understand, and also it is only my attitude toward that part.'"

Each primary novelist on the American landscape had communicated about their particular part of the country. For instance, James Fenimore Cooper had glorified the American landscape as early as 1823. Nathaniel Hawthorne had looked at New England closely and revealed it for the world. Herman Melville, from New York, had written primarily of the sea and the complexities of the human soul, but certain parts of the American character had always entered into his works. Following the Civil War, when the old literary dominance of the East had declined, a broader national literature had emerged, out of which had come such great writers as Mark Twain, who had added humor to the mix. Stephen Crane, Frank Norris and Theodore Dreiser had explained parts of America further, and even the works of Henry James, despite spending much of his life abroad, had done likewise. The "muck-raking" novels, such as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, and a series of tracts on political, social and economic problems had followed in the early Twentieth Century. Ernest Hemingway, in The Sun Also Rises, had examined the disillusionment of America's "lost generation" after World War I, while the trilogy of John Dos Passos, U.S.A., provided a panoramic view of American life from 1900 to 1930. William Faulkner had exposed the decadence of the old Mississippi families and the depravity of poor whites who had risen to power in the South, and other views into Southern culture had been provided by Carson McCullers, Thomas Wolfe, Erskine Caldwell, Robert Penn Warren and Ellen Glasgow. James T. Farrell, John Steinbeck, Richard Wright, John P. Marquand, John O'Hara, William Saroyan, James M. Cain, Irwin Shaw and Saul Bellow had turned out significant and sometimes disturbing novels about other regions of the country and other traditions and tensions.

It concludes that in all of those varied ways, through realism, romanticism, primitivism, naturalism and the classic traditions of sparseness and objectivity, scores of "great American novels" had been written to provide the world a mature view of every part of America's national character, exploring thoroughly the American soul.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Fried Chicken Mittens, Ugh!" tells of a restaurant in Montréal having supplied its customers with plastic mittens with which to eat fried chicken, eliminating greasy fingers. The Minneapolis Tribune thought well of the idea and recommended that it be extended to the eating of corn on the cob, suggesting that such a device would "spread across the land with the speed of Hurricane Hazel."

The editorial does not think much of the idea of eating fried chicken with mittens, as it tended to separate the eater from the food, almost as much as the knife and fork did. It recalls when there was a custom in eastern North Carolina of eating barbecue with one's fingers, which was "messy but marvelous, unhygienic but heavenly." It posits that the truth was that the closer one got to one's food, whether with hands or mouth, and the less intermediation there was, the better it tasted. Cigar and cigarette holders had a numbing effect on the taste of tobacco, and hand to mouth was the best way to eat food. "Besides, if you had plastic mittens where would be the fun of licking your fingers?"

Drew Pearson indicates that new Senator Kerr Scott of North Carolina believed in using what his state produced, tobacco, and doing so in the old fashioned way, by chewing it. The days when Speaker Uncle Joe Cannon had been able to expectorate from the Speaker's rostrum into a brass cuspidor 20 feet away, in the opinion of the new Senator, ought still be a part of the Capitol's ambiance, and so was looking around for brass spittoons. He wanted some, not only for his own use, but to send back to North Carolina as Christmas presents. But times had changed in the modern age, with cigarettes and ashtrays having replaced the cut-plug and the cuspidor. The Public Health Service, some time earlier, had banished spittoons from all Government buildings. Nevertheless, Senator Scott persisted in trying to find the banished cuspidors, assuming they must be stored some place around Washington, eventually discovering that the General Services Administration had sent them to a Baltimore warehouse, which Senator Scott contacted, only to find that it was too late, as the cuspidors had been sold as scrap metal. It remained to be seen what he would do about his tobacco chewing habit on the Senate floor.

Almost every member of the Immigration & Naturalization Service above the rank of stenographer was being forced to move to another city. Army Lt. General Joseph Swing, a field artillery officer who had been an aide to General Peyton March, an instructor at Fort Sill, a commander of the Army War College, and a participant in various battles of the Pacific war, had been placed in charge of INS. Mr. Pearson wonders how his honorable military record qualified him as an expert in immigration and naturalization, but imparts that he had been graduated from West Point in the class of 1915 along with Dwight Eisenhower. One of his new policies was to make the Immigration Service mobile, like the Army. He had also created more jobs for other people, resulting in the great transfer of personnel. He cites one such example of a transfer of a man who had been with the Service for 40 years, was 62 years old and had two years before retirement, now being transferred from Saint Albans, Vt., to San Antonio, Tex., the transfer being ordered on the belief that he would not accept it and instead retire. But the man had accepted the transfer and, before departure for the new post, dropped in to see General Swing to pay his respects, at which point the General was blunt, asking him why he did not retire as he had outlived his usefulness, suggesting that he immediately see the Immigration administration officer, who was ready to process his retirement papers. Almost in tears, the speechless man took the General's advice, despite being younger than either President Eisenhower or General Swing. Encouraged by that success, the General tried the same pressure tactic on others, including the director of the Buffalo office for 26 years, who also retired under pressure from the General. Mr. Pearson notes that the General was supposedly decentralizing Immigration by transferring officials out of Washington, but it would cost the taxpayers more in the long run. While the Washington force would be reduced from 900 to 400 employees, the four new regional offices would have 300 employees, increasing the total headquarters staff to 1,600, an increase of about 700 jobs. In addition, four new jobs for regional directors had been created, for the RNC to fill.

Doris Fleeson tells of new Senator-elect Richard Neuberger, a professional writer, understanding therefore the value of attention he was receiving from the press and wishing to oblige his fellow scribes, many of whom he had known for years. He was also no stranger to politics or to Washington and realized that it would be easy to stumble before he learned the routine for a young Senator, the established etiquette being to remain quiet and take cues from senior members of the august body. The senior Senators entered the chamber first and it would be a bad mistake for a freshman to be perceived as brash. One way of being so perceived would be to sound off quickly on all manner of subjects in public.

At the time of the midterm elections in November, the question of control of the Senate hung in the balance for a day during the counting of the ballots, and Mr. Neuberger had gone to bed on election night thinking that he had lost to incumbent Senator Guy Cordon. But he won and the Democrats had won control by only one seat, including that of Senator-elect Neuberger, who was the first Democratic Senator from Oregon since 1912. He had thus become the symbol of the Democratic victory, even though the victory of Patrick McNamara in Michigan, over incumbent Senator Homer Ferguson, was an even greater surprise.

The new Senator was young, articulate and had a charming wife who had served in the Oregon Legislature with him. By the time he had begun his train journey from Portland to Washington on the day after Christmas, he had received 168 requests for speeches or radio and television appearances, including programs which attracted a nationwide audience. It was not only physically impossible for him to fulfill all of the requests, but caution had prompted his decision to turn them down, save for a few selected groups to whom he believed he owed a special obligation. He was well aware of his stands on the issues, and would have plenty to say when relevant legislation to the Pacific Northwest reached the Senate on issues regarding public power and conservation.

He would be junior to his Senate colleague, Wayne Morse, an independent who had originally been elected as a Republican from Oregon but had left the Republican Party in the fall of 1952 on the basis of disgust with General Eisenhower's campaign. Senator Morse had campaigned vigorously for Senator-elect Neuberger, a former law student of Senator Morse, and Mr. Neuberger provided him credit for helping him achieve victory. Senator Morse would switch to the Democratic Party in the spring.

Robert C. Ruark tells of an elderly woman he had known in the past who had to live with her distant relatives and so was probably a burden, especially as they were poor. It was decided that they would send her to a retirement home, where there were facilities for "worn-out old people like the old lady who sat at the corner of my garden and listened to the carpenters sing and the kids playing Sinatra and Crosby records on the machine", as Mr. Ruark built his new white house.

One day, as he drove off to the village, she nodded and smiled through her toothless gums as usual as he waved to her, but the next day, there was a commotion at his home, with the police present in his yard. The old woman had climbed into a fir tree and died in the last place she loved, hanging herself with her hands clasped in prayer.

He indicates that he was proud that the old woman had come to die in his garden, "for one last look at the new, bright thing she loved, while the record player blared and the carpenters clamored. In a way it was a compliment to us."

A letter from a member of the State Advisory Board for Electronic Training offers rebuttal to an editorial appearing on December 28 regarding the need for trained labor in the state, indicating that a well-established apprenticeship program was already available for those seeking training in electronics, as a machinist, electrician, carpenter, brick mason or similar trades. He explains the program.

A letter from the director of the Charlotte Technical Institute applauds the same editorial, indicating that since he had been involved in technical education during the course of several years and had spent time in industry, he could affirm the need for technically trained people in the state. The city of Charlotte was attempting to meet the need by the establishment of the Charlotte Technical Institute in the fall of 1954, but that was only one step toward meeting the need, there being also need for young people, their parents, and returning servicemen to become aware that such training was being offered and to learn what was to be gained from it.

A letter writer seeks to enlist the interest of the newspaper in the problem of traffic safety confronting the state and nation, noticing that the newspaper had supported the recent drive for highway safety, after the President had designated December 15 as "Safe Driving Day". But, he finds, the day had rendered little result in reduction of fatalities and highway accidents, suggesting that more needed to be done. He says that while he had been commissioner of the police force of Pennsylvania in 1937-38, he believed they had determined that the principal cause of traffic accidents was the absence of driver training schools, the only remedy for their prevalence. He had submitted the results they had developed to three governors of North Carolina, with the recommendation that driver training schools be established in the state, but they had turned the matter over to the commissioner of Motor Vehicles, who had done nothing. He hopes the newspaper could do something about the problem when the 1955 Legislature convened.

Write to actor James Dean in Hollywood and see what you can scare up from him, because all the young people seem to be watching him nowadays on the tv, and soon, we hear, he'll have some movies coming out, and so he might be a good role model to follow on the issue of traffic safety.

Tenth Day of Christmas: Ten fired subversives plumbing.

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