The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 4, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Walter George of Georgia, set to become chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, had predicted this date that Democrats would have no "basic disagreements" with the President regarding foreign, national defense and world trade policies in the first Congressional session of the new 84th Congress, starting the following day. He had spoken in response to Republican legislative leaders who had predicted that the President's State of the Union message on January 6 would be "well received" by the country, Senator George saying that he did not believe it contained anything new or startling. Senator William Knowland of California, to be the Republican floor leader in the new Senate, said that he believed the message would be well received by the Congress and the people. The President had provided Republican leaders a preview of his message at the White House the previous day, and was said to be stressing a new defense concept whereby there would be reductions in military manpower offset by the use of new weapons and closer links to U.S. allies. The already announced manpower cuts had prompted demands from Democrats for a review of the overall military policy. The President, in the message, was said to be taking an optimistic view of the nation's long-range economic prospects and emphasizing plans to advance the health and economic welfare of the country. Some Republican lawmakers said that the message was being redrafted into final form before its delivery at the joint session on Thursday, to be carried by radio and television networks nationwide. Senate and House Democrats and Republicans were planning separate meetings this date to determine their party floor leaders, with no upsets or contests in prospect. Democrats had unanimously chosen this date Representative Sam Rayburn, 73, to be Speaker of the House. He had first been elected Speaker in September, 1940, and had held the position in every session when the Democrats were in the majority, that being in every Congress save the one just ended and the 80th of 1947-48. Mr. Rayburn succeeded Representative Joe Martin of Massachusetts as Speaker. Democrats had 231 seats and Republicans 203 in the new House, and held a one-seat majority in the Senate, assuming independent Senator Wayne Morse would vote with the Democrats for organizational purposes as he had declared he would.

In Panama City, Panama, authorities were conducting a nationwide manhunt this date for a band of unidentified professional killers, accused of assassinating El Presidente José Antonio Remon at the instigation of his political enemies. El Presidente had been slain by machine gun fire at a racetrack on Sunday night. The Minister of Government announced the "guns-for-hire" charge during his funeral oration late the previous day, indicating that "mercenary hands armed by [El Presidente's] political enemies" had fired the shots. There was widespread speculation that the killers might have been imported. Thousands of persons had lined the streets of the capital to pay their final respects as the funeral cortège of El Presidente passed from the Roman Catholic cathedral to the cemetery. The National Assembly had declared a ten-day state of siege, a modified form of martial law, temporarily suppressing some constitutional guarantees to aid secret police in their hunt for the killers. At least a score of persons, including the predecessor President to El Presidente and two women, had been rounded up for questioning, with the deputy commander of Panama's national guard having stated that there was a strong weight of suspicion on followers of the former President, who had been ousted from his position in 1951 by a bloody national guard coup, with El Presidente Remon at the time having been head of the guard, Panama's chief military force.

In Raleigh, the 1955 General Assembly would convene the following day, hearing an address from Governor Luther Hodges on Thursday morning, the Governor having indicated this date that appropriations and revenue bills based on recommendations of the Advisory Budget Commission would be placed before the legislators immediately following his address, with observers not recalling when the important money bills had been introduced so early in a session, usually awaiting a week or so after the convening of the session.

In New York, 24-year old oleomargarine heir Mickey Jelke had flown in from Miami, Fla., early this date for consultation with his lawyers regarding his new trial on vice charges, after his original conviction had been overturned on appeal, his lawyers indicating that he looked forward to clearing his name in the second trial, Mr. Jelke seconding that statement. The latter had nothing else to say other than "good morning" to the reporters. One of his attorneys said that he would seek to get before the jury that the defendant had been victimized by café society and was not, in fact, the procurer of high-priced café society call girls, as the prosecution alleged—for which he had been convicted two years earlier prior to the recent reversal on appeal based on the restricted access of the press to the trial during the prosecution's case because of concern of public disclosure of its "sordid details", having effectively denied him the right to a public trial, the other side of the coin to that which would lead to the reversal by the Supreme Court of the conviction of Dr. Samuel Sheppard in 1966. Mr. Jelke had been married since his first trial after leaving his former wife, who had been with him in his apartment when he had been originally arrested on the charges. Thus far, the Manhattan District Attorney, Frank Hogan, had arrested five women as material witnesses in the case, two of whom had been involved in the two charges on which the defendant had been convicted in the first trial, that of inducing one of them into prostitution and attempting to do so with respect to the other.

Harry Shuford of The News reports that Superior Court Judge Francis O. Clarkson had strongly recommended this date that an inferior court be established in Mecklenburg County with jurisdiction over civil cases involving up to $2,500, that is, a small claims court, relieving the crowded civil docket of the Superior Court. The State Bar Association had also recommended that such a court be established. The proposed court would have authority to hold jury trials, with appeals being handled in the Superior Court.

Emery Wister of The News reports of a four-story doctors' office building being planned for the northwest corner of Hawthorne Lane and E. 5th Street in Charlotte, to cost $600,000 and containing approximately 40,000 square feet, a drawing of the proposed building being included.

In Williamsburg, Ky., two young brothers, ages 14 and 11, had been gathering wood 50 yards from their home when they had been attacked by an unknown assailant, who tried to club them to death, one of the two brothers indicating that it was the second time within two weeks that a man who walked with a limp had attacked them in the wooded area. The sheriff said that the younger of the two brothers had been beaten so badly that his head was swollen twice its normal size and that he could not see as his eyes were swollen shut. The other brother had suffered a gash from the center of his head to the top of his left ear, and the bodies of both boys were covered with blotches from head to feet, with large holes in their backs where the flesh had been torn away. A doctor said that the boys probably would not have survived the beating had it not been for the fact that they were "tough as pine knots". The doctor said that the boys told him that the assailant had warned them that they would be killed if they did not leave home. The sheriff said that their 22-year old stepmother had reported to him that she had bathed the wounds inflicted on the boys in the first beating with boric acid and salt. The father told the sheriff that he had not reported the first beating to authorities because he had planned to carry out on the assailants the same punishment when he caught them. Would that include the boric acid and salt?

In Los Angeles, a twin son of singer Bing Crosby had been acquitted on a public drunkeness charge the previous day by a Municipal Court judge who said that the defendant had never been in trouble before, in the instant case having been only a passenger in a car driven by a friend who had been arrested as the principal on a drunk driving charge the prior Sunday. Young Mr. Crosby then left 11 hours later for Fort Ord and Army induction, saying that he would serve his two years and hope that they would forget who his father was. He had originally been scheduled for induction on December 15, but received a regular Christmas deferment. His twin brother, Philip, was attending Washington State College with an educational deferment from military service.

In Tokyo, police reported that a speeding big taxi had hit a speeding little taxi, the latter careering off a curb and flipping end over end, winding up wheels down on top of a third car, resulting in passengers in the big taxi being hospitalized while passengers in the little taxi and all three drivers of the cars were uninjured but surprised.

They could also benefit from hiring actor James Dean as an adviser on traffic safety, to encourage all of the young people of Tokyo to drive more conservatively, as he was known to race cars and so got his need for speed out at the racetrack.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Weather Bureau said that Hurricane Alice had weakened further during the night and was placed at 270 miles south-southeast of San Juan, with its highest wind speeds being 35 mph, and further weakening expected during the day and this night.

On the editorial page, "General Assembly Faces Invisible Barriers of Timidity and Orthodoxy" indicates that the Pied Pipers of politics had whistled a fractured melody this date for 170 State legislators, as they had gone to Raleigh from every part of the state for that which one newsman had called "the most far-reaching decisions since Reconstruction." They would begin the 1955 General Assembly session the following day.

The challenges, almost everyone agreed, would be great, but the idea that the Assembly would issue a clear-cut, positive answer for each of those challenges was "politically naïve". Invisible barriers of "timidity, orthodoxy and backstairs influence" were too great and the sectional partisanship and inbred prejudices, too intense for such a result. The best for which the state could hope was that the compelling pressures of public opinion, economic necessity and kismet would produce a measure of progress. Action on some issues would be postponed while action on others would be unavoidable.

The latter would include the need to find revenue to match the 30 million dollars in deficit spending during the current biennium, with new taxation appearing inevitable, as it was unlikely that the Legislature would cut governmental services.

Segregation would be the subject of much talk but little real action, unless the Supreme Court were to speed up its timetable considerably and issue its implementing decision before the end of the legislative session. Senator Luther Barnhardt of Concord, who would probably preside over the Senate for the session, had said that it would be "leaping in the dark" to take any formal action on the issue of desegregation of public schools before the final decision would be handed down, expected in the spring.

It offers that the Legislature ought to do something about another problem, the state's highway deficiencies, which required immediate action, but realizes that the issue would be finding the money for it. Tax reforms or a bond issue appeared as the solution, as suggested by a New York firm of consulting engineers, the piece finding that a combination of the two appeared to be the best possibility. Separation of the prison system from the highway department would probably have to wait, though that was also badly needed. Governor Hodges, who favored the separation in principle, wanted to delay it until studies of its cost could be made.

It reviews several other areas in which the Legislature would possibly take action and concludes that the needs of the state were great, that if the Legislature were to meet those needs, it would have to consider them on the basis of their essential value and provide solutions which would sacrifice nothing to "the private whims of special interests".

"Switch Open on the Road to Progress" finds that the best Christmas present for Charlotte was the state's formal pledge of a half million dollars to be used in the program to eliminate the city's grade crossings. Southern Railway had agreed to put up $400,000 and the City would put up $700,000, to construct a crossline south of the city. When that was completed, through-trains would not have to traverse the city and 17 crossings on the east side of the business district would be freed from regular railroad traffic which presently blocked thousands of motorists each day. It provides further detail and indicates that the crossline program would open the switch on the road to real progress for the city, suggests that Atlanta should move over and make room for Charlotte.

Drew Pearson indicates that two series of backstage conferences had been taking place in Washington, which might determine whether the President would run again in 1956. The most important conference had been at the White House, with the President's closest friends and advisers present, while the other conferences had been held by Democrats regarding the question of whether they should make the President their main target for attack during the ensuing two years. Various reports had come from the White House regarding the stag dinner held recently, the diners having placed pressure on the President to run again. One report coming from the office of Vice-President Nixon stated that the President had agreed to run and that Mr. Nixon had been picked as his running mate again, but that report was wrong on both counts. The President had not agreed to run and no word had come that Mr. Nixon would be his running mate if he did. In fact, the Vice-President had sat on the sidelines during the dinner discussion and had hardly opened his mouth, the story which his office had carefully fed to the United Press afterward having been a carefully laid plant.

What actually had occurred, as pieced together from various reliable sources, was that the President's friends had exerted a great deal of pressure on him to run again, with the President listening and seemingly impressed, but making no promises. Those at the dinner included RNC chairman Leonard Hall, Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Ambassador to the U.N. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., William Robinson of the Robinson-Hannagan public relations firm, Tracy Voorhees, Undersecretary of the Army under President Truman and now a vigorous supporter of President Eisenhower, plus many of the original pre-convention supporters of General Eisenhower in 1952. Each of them had taken their turn in urging the President to run, indicating that no one else could win, appealing to his sense of duty. Attorney General Brownell had produced a clipping with a quote from Adlai Stevenson to the effect that he could not beat the President as of the present time, causing the President to perk up and ask to keep the clipping. The President agreed not to make an announcement regarding his intentions until after the new Congress would adjourn, responding to a suggestion that he could better control Congress, especially his Republican opposition, by keeping the members guessing as to whether or not he would run again. There had also been considerable discussion about broadening the appeal of the party, as they could not rely on the President's personal popularity indefinitely. The President had spoken at length about bringing into the party young blood and engendering party harmony, saying he wanted a "dynamic" party, working within the framework of the present Republican machinery so as to avoid a break with the Old Guard. He urged everyone to work toward party harmony and to steer a course down the middle-of-the-road, the best way to appeal to the most people. Generally, he favored being liberal with the people, conservative with the economy, and international in foreign policy. The Republican watchword would therefore continue to be, in the President's phrase, "progressive moderation". There was a decision made by the participants to continue placing pressure on the President to run again and that they would begin planning a draft-Eisenhower movement, starting in the spring.

Democratic strategy meetings concerning whether to attack the President had reached the general conclusion that if he were to become a candidate, it was time for the party to begin showing up his weak points. But Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson disagreed. One top Democrat said that in baseball, the pitcher was credited with loss of a game or a win, but that the Republicans had managed to create the impression that the President was a nice man surrounded by a "ball team" which did things he did not know about, for which he was therefore not responsible. That Democrat had said that such might be true, but that he was the "pitcher" and so was responsible for the loss or the win. He contended that the fact that the President had not known that Secretary of Health, Education & Welfare Oveta Culp Hobby had fired the black woman of the year, Jane Morrow Spaulding, was no excuse, as he should know those things as the chief executive, or appoint people he could trust. Mr. Pearson indicates that such thinking was definitely that of the new DNC chairman, Paul Butler, and the vice-chairman, Clayton Fritchey, as well as that of Adlai Stevenson, Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn and former President Truman. But they had run up against Senator Johnson's opposition, who had his ear to Texas "Republicrats", those Democrats who had followed Governor Allan Shivers in 1952 in bolting to support General Eisenhower, and so still believed in pulling punches. One Democrat had said that Senator Johnson wanted to be the party leader but did not want to lead.

Douglas Cater, writing in The Reporter, tells of the plaintiff in Bolling v. Sharpe, the case in which the Supreme Court had held the prior May 17, at the same time as the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, that the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause and its protected liberty interest prohibited continued segregation in the schools of the District of Columbia, requiring a separate holding because the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, on which Brown was based, applied only to the states. The 15-year old Spottswood Thomas Bolling, Jr., says Mr. Cater, had thus been cast in the role of a "modern Moses" as the plaintiff.

By accident of residence, he was, during the current school year, attending an all-black high school in the District, "[b]ut all about him, he can behold the promised land which, after a four-year journey through the Federal courts, his people have finally reached." Of the 11 public high schools in Washington, only that attended by young Mr. Bolling and two others had not been integrated by the start of classes the previous September, while 98 of the elementary and junior high schools in the District had been integrated, with more than 54,000 of the 106,000 students attending the public school system now attending integrated schools.

He indicates that desegregation had confounded some of the expert pet dogmas regarding race relations, for one, that the larger the proportion of the minority race involved, the greater the degree of difficulty there would be in effecting desegregation. But in Washington, black students constituted a majority, approximately 60 percent of those attending public schools. A second exploded dogma was that a gradual approach to desegregation created less friction than an abrupt one, the changeover in Washington having been accomplished swiftly in large steps, to be completed by the following September. What was most astounding about the transition, prompting one member of the Board of Education to call it a miracle, was that it was being accomplished without any serious hitch thus far. In early October, there had been a few days of trouble, but only four of the schools and a small portion of their students had been involved. Even then, the trouble had been concentrated mainly in a single school with small black enrollment, whereas schools with larger numbers of integrated black students had not been impacted.

Many explanations for the smooth transition had been advanced, such as being in the shadow of the Capitol, the President's leadership, "and all that", according to one educator. Washington, despite its Southern traditions, was a city apart. Because of its absence of self-government at the time, the District was able to make the formal act of abolishing a dual school system considerably easier than it might otherwise have been, as local resistance groups could not generate effective pressures on a centralized body.

As Mr. Cater had made the rounds of various schools, he had found not simply grudging acceptance of a ruling handed down from on high, but repeatedly had found a conviction that the new program was working, in some cases, that conviction having been expressed as a sense of relief that things were not as bad as had been expected, while in others, there was genuine elation over the progress toward fulfilling democratic ideals in public education. Yet, most of the press had been largely indifferent to the story, following a few initial stories appearing on the first day of school and quite a few subsequent sensational headlines surrounding the trouble in October. But outside Washington's own newspapers, the story of the remarkable transition had largely been ignored.

Ironically, even some of the participants, conditioned to traditional concepts of news, did not appear to realize how big the story actually was. A principal of one elementary school, with 390 black students and 140 white students, had insisted that there was no news and nothing to tell, that from the first day of school, they had been so busy with education that they did not have time to think of what had happened. She had said that the very young had adapted to the change easily, almost unaware of the racial differences. One teacher in the school had reported that a small black girl had been chosen by her classmates to be Goldilocks in a classroom play. The parents had also made adjustments.

The most widespread criticism of integration appeared to be that it had been operated with too little regard for particular conditions which were peculiar to certain neighborhoods, with the Board of Education, in their zeal to eliminate all racial barriers, having voted initially to keep no records of each student's race. That rule had been temporarily suspended so that there could be some record of the progress being made. The result of not keeping track of race had been that in one or two instances, white children had been placed in all-black schools, and vice-versa. A biracial review committee, set up by the superintendent of education to hear complaints, had been expressly instructed to refuse requests for transfers from one school to another if based simply on race. But some members of the Board had wondered whether that was not turning a sound principle into a fetish. The review committee, nevertheless, had heard more than 700 requests for transfer and had been able to comply with a majority of them.

The factors which had made the program a success, according to the sponsors, was primarily its foresight, that two years earlier, the superintendent, at the direction of the Board of Education, had requested interested citizens' groups to suggest ways and means to knock down racial barriers should the Supreme Court rule continued segregation unconstitutional. Seminars had been held, with outside experts speaking to guide teachers and administrators. A handbook, titled "Intergroup Education", had been prepared. Two days after the Court's decision, the Board had set up a special committee to draft guiding principles for the transition, and less than a week later, the commission had issued a sweeping mandate for merging students and teaching staffs, and the superintendent had outlined a plan of action. That latter plan established new school boundaries without regard to race, which would apply to successively broader categories of students until the program was completed the following September. In late June, the superintendent had announced the list of schools which would be affected in the fall. There had been none of the uncertainty and indecisiveness which had plagued the situation in Milford, Del. Families unwilling to face the prospect of integration had time to make arrangements for private schooling or to move elsewhere. A member of the Board of Education, who had been chairman of the special committee to draft the principles for desegregation, argued that speed and decisiveness had been essential to the success of the program.

Perhaps the most important factor, comments Mr. Cater, had been the unreserved cooperation of the teachers. There had been no reported instance in which a teacher's behavior had undermined student confidence. The commitment to the program by those in responsible positions applied all the way up to the President, who had expressed on the day of the Brown and Bolling decisions his hope that Washington would move swiftly in carrying out desegregation. Since that point, the President had publicly announced his pleasure at the way the program had succeeded.

Doris Fleeson tells of television proving to be not only an educational medium, but also one of reform, at least in the world of politics. The select committee on the censure of Senator McCarthy, chaired by Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah, had received kudos by the final censure of the Senator, but the opinion of professional politicians was that it had merely ratified what had been accomplished in disorderly televised hearings during the Army-McCarthy dispute the prior spring, that lesson now being reflected in the national committees of both parties.

Both national chairmen had been for the first time making an early and rational start on the arrangements for their 1956 conventions, and thus far, were acting separately, with the impression going around in both party headquarters that it would be economically sound and efficient to hold both conventions in the same city, to compel bipartisan cooperation in that regard.

Democrats had listened to their television experts at their recent New Orleans meeting and had begun formulating a set of rules for 1956. The outgoing chairman of the DNC, Stephen Mitchell, retained chairmanship of the rules committee.

RNC chairman Leonard Hall had similarly retained the chairmanship of a convention site committee named from the RNC ranks, and had called a meeting for January 8 to discuss preliminary issues and problems regarding the 1956 convention. Mr. Hall anticipated a call of the national committee a month or so hence to discuss the site committee's recommendations, which presented an opportunity for a "draft Eisenhower" effort. The politicians were converging on the President at a rapid rate, urging him to run again, as practically all of them except the extreme right regarded the President as the party's most negotiable asset.

Ms. Fleeson indicates that it would be interesting to see what effect the demands of television could produce on the presidential nominating conventions. Some of the experts viewed the conventions as practically the only national franchise which the present major parties had, insisting that except for the conventions, the parties were only loose coalitions expressing special and sectional interests. As the country had grown, the quadrennial conventions had grown larger and harder to handle, with no single city having enough comfortable accommodations for them. Democrats had admitted that in the first real televised conventions of 1952, they had taken a licking. For example, their battle over the loyalty oath had been an unedifying spectacle in which some of the most distinguished members of the party appeared like petulant children. She suggests that perhaps that spectacle could not have been avoided, but an absurd anticlimax could have, that being that the party nominee, Governor Adlai Stevenson, had been forced to deliver his acceptance speech at 2:00 a.m. In contrast, General Eisenhower and Senator Nixon had put on a fine show at the supper hour at the Republican affair. In various other respects, the Republicans had handled their show better than had the Democrats.

As pointed out at the time herein when news coverage of the 1952 conventions occurred, the point made by Ms. Fleeson in comparing the two conventions would precisely repeat 20 years afterward, in 1972, at both party conventions, with Democratic Senator George McGovern also forced to deliver his acceptance speech in the wee hours while the Miami convention of President Nixon and Vice-President Spiro Agnew had gone as smooth as a boatload of bathing beauties out for an evening cruise, though eventuating, in 1973 and 1974, in quite a bit different final result, in the Final Days, for the overwhelming victor whom the CREEP managed to re-elect through a combination of slick sales techniques, dirty tricks and sundry crimes against democracy itself.

Ms. Fleeson concludes that politics was not an efficient business, that it was emotional and often accidental, but that at least in 1956, an effort would be made to improve the technical arrangements for playing the "great game".

A letter from "A Teacher" indicates that it had been in 1890 when North Carolina Senator Zebulon Vance had appealed for Federal aid to fund work for blacks in the North, replying to a vicious attack by a Kansas Senator, the same year that President Eisenhower had been born in Abilene, Kansas, the teacher questioning what the President had done to aid Senator Vance's ideal. The teacher says that in the South, one teacher in five was black, twice the national population proportion, that in the non-South, only one teacher in 73 was black, "shamefully below the population rights of the Negro." The South employed one black teacher for every 131 black citizens, whereas the non-South employed one black teacher for every 500 black citizens. Massachusetts had perhaps the poorest record, with only one black teacher for every 665 blacks, and yet that latter state had been held up by the NAACP as a "racial Utopia". California, home of Chief Justice Earl Warren, had done only slightly better, with only one black teacher for every 500 blacks. Ohio had one black teacher for every 490 blacks and New Jersey, one for every 420. The South as a region had one black teacher for every five black citizens while New England had only one for every 65. The teacher says that both "Evans and [Gunnar] Myrdal, the two great foreign authorities on the American Negro", had found that non-Southerners' antagonism and failure to provide work for blacks was one, if not the paramount tragedy, of the whole situation, and that Mr. Evans, presumably referring to Maurice Evans, had "especially left our shores sympathetic with the group against which he arrived with marked prejudice."

We take it that "A Teacher" does not like the direction of the Supreme Court and its decision to end segregation in the public schools, thinks that everything was hunky-dory—or, perhaps, we miss the letter's point because it is not spelled out with great clarity. Is it not saying that the real problem with race relations was not segregated schools in the South but joblessness in the North? when both problems were indivisible as to their impact in debasing people discriminated against in education and jobs, not a question of North versus South or even, per se, white versus black, but rather equality of rights and privileges under the Constitution versus inequality and systematic denial of those rights and privileges based on immutable characteristics, with the bitter, unspoken communication of inferiority transmitted passively but ruthlessly by the institution of segregation, especially by its anachronistic vestiges continuing into the mid-Twentieth Century, as if nothing had changed since April 9, 1865.

Eleventh Day of Christmas: Eleven Pied Pipers laying pipe.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.