The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 13, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that State Assistant Attorney General I. Beverly Lake of North Carolina, future unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in 1960 and future State Supreme Court Justice, had orally argued as a friend of the court this date before the Supreme Court regarding the implementing decision in Brown v. Board of Education, that ending segregation in the public schools would "in all probability" be a "death blow" to the state's public schools. He urged the Court to take no action which would "seriously impair or destroy" the schools. Mr. Lake had begun his argument the previous day, shortly before the Court had recessed. He asked for time to work out problems locally and win public acceptance of integrated schools before being forced to end segregation, as had the representatives of Virginia and South Carolina who had earlier argued their positions. He said that integration at present would bring "turmoil and confusion from which only our enemies could derive any satisfaction." In the state's amicus brief, filed earlier, there was an expression of fear that "bloody race riots" might follow the end of public school segregation.

Representatives of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Maryland and Texas, also acting as friends of the court, were set to argue later this date their positions, with U.S. Solicitor General Simon Sobeloff set to conclude the arguments, probably the following day. The four principal states before the Court in Brown were Kansas, Virginia, South Carolina and Delaware, in addition to the District of Columbia.

Julian Scheer of The News reports that the possibility of providing free Salk polio immunization shots to all of North Carolina's schoolchildren and to indigent families was being investigated this date, with a Mecklenburg State Representative indicating that he might introduce a bill in the General Assembly the following week which would call for the county or the state to provide free vaccine shots for all schoolchildren and/or to provide for free shots for the needy. Present plans were for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis to offer free vaccine shots to all first and second grade children in the state, paid for by the Foundation, while county officials would pay for supplies, labor, etc. There were approximately 250,000 first and second grade children in the state who would receive the free shots, with an additional 750,000 pupils still in need of immunization thereafter. It was estimated that the wholesale cost of the vaccine in large quantities could run in excess of two million dollars for the state's schoolchildren. In addition, there was discussion underway in Charlotte and Mecklenburg among local doctors regarding the extent and need of inoculations for indigent children and plans for meeting the need, with a United Community Services committee, comprised of several doctors, set to meet the following day to discuss the matter.

A spring blizzard extended from Wyoming to Nebraska and south into the Texas Panhandle this date, with snow piled up to eight feet deep by winds in Clayton, N.M., isolating that town and stranding hundreds of motorists.

In Raleigh, the State Supreme Court this date decided a contest over custody of 16-year old twins in favor of their mother, but agreed that the twins could live with their stepmother to finish the current school year in Wilmington. The mother of the twins had filed a petition for their custody following the death of their father in an automobile accident the previous August. The twins had expressed equal affection and love for their mother and their stepmother. All parties had agreed that the children could live in their father's home for the entirety of the current school year, which the children had said they wished to do. The Superior Court had found that the best interests of the children would be served by leaving them with their stepmother at least for the remainder of the school year. The State Supreme Court had noted that only a few months remained in the school year and thus affirmed that part of the lower court's judgment, but struck down that part which had awarded custody to the stepmother beyond the current school year, indicating that a surviving parent had a natural and legal right to custody which courts ought disturb "only when the interest and welfare of the child clearly requires it."

Also in Raleigh, a hearing on the issue of the statewide liquor referendum, which in the past had brought large crowds, had only drawn 100 persons this date before the State House committee on local government. Witnesses for the measure had testified this date. The proposal was to hold a referendum the following November 8 on the issue of whether to abolish legal sale of liquor statewide rather than leaving it, as at present, to local option.

In Greensboro, in Federal District Court, Government attorneys read at length from Communist Party literature this date, seeking to bolster their charge that the party was dedicated to violence and that admitted member Junius Scales had agreed with the principle of violence. A former Communist, who had appeared for the Government in many other trials based on alleged violations of the Smith Act, had testified further about his party positions and his teachings of Marxism and Leninism in various party schools. The Government had introduced 18 articles of Communist Party literature in support of the charge that Mr. Scales had participated in a conspiracy to advocate and teach the violent overthrow of the U.S. Government by his membership in the party. The defense attorney had sought unsuccessfully to have all of the Government's witness testimony excluded regarding party documents along with his expressions of opinion about the theories contained within them, arguing that the witness's opinions had never been brought to the attention of the defendant. Included among the material from which the Government attorneys had read were some of Joseph Stalin's books on Leninism. The defense attorney sought to counter by reading from other copies of the same books.

Ann Sawyer of The News reports that Mecklenburg's 1955-56 tentative county budget was expected to hit 8.5 million dollars and necessitate a one dollar county-wide tax rate, which she proceeds to explain in detail.

On the editorial page, "Polio: Remembrance of Things Past" recalls, in the wake of the report the previous day showing high effectiveness of the Salk vaccine, the epidemic of polio which had hit the state in 1948, with some areas, such as Greensboro, having the worst outbreak in their history. In some counties there had been so many victims of the crippling disease that there was no longer any place to put them. Guilford County had raised $311,000 in two months to erect an emergency hospital to serve the Piedmont's polio patients.

But North Carolinians had weathered the storm in 1948 and had weathered less serious outbreaks of the disease since that time. No one who had gone through that outbreak, however, would forget it. Thus, the announcement of the success of the Salk vaccine the previous day had special significance for North Carolinians, holding out the promise finally of victory over polio.

To people all over the world, it was an announcement of historic proportions, amounting to another modern medical miracle, perhaps one day to be considered on par with the development of the diphtheria antitoxin in 1894, the discovery of radium in 1898, insulin in 1922, cortisone in 1936, cortisone synthesis in 1946, and penicillin in 1929 and 1945.

Work would continue on the Salk vaccine to try to make it even more effective than the 80 to 90 percent effectiveness which the experimental study of the prior summer had found. Dr. Salk, himself, believed that the vaccine was potentially 100 percent effective. Even some of the well-established vaccines, such as that against smallpox, were not considered 100 percent effective.

Immunization shots would be provided in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County schools for first and second graders on April 25, and drug distributors indicated that there would be plenty of vaccine available to take care of other children within the ensuing 6 to 8 weeks. With the success of the study, it urges that administration of the vaccination should become general among children.

The vaccine offered new hope and confidence that scientists could soon conquer other terrible diseases as well, and it suggests that with the help of God, they would.

"Anguished Cries from the Wings" indicates that despite the state experiencing tremendous growth and wealth in productive power, lobbyists in Raleigh were resorting to the same old arguments first heard around Washington in 1937 against establishing a Federal minimum wage and hours law, passed in 1938. The cry then from business had been that it meant bankruptcy, rising prices, unemployment and shutdowns, which never occurred. The same claims were now being made in North Carolina, opposing a state minimum wage.

The proposed 55-cent minimum wage was modest and would amount to only $22 per week in additional income for workers not covered by the Federal minimum wage. As the vast majority of North Carolina workers and their bosses were covered by the Federal law, the principle of the minimum wage had become well established and was not "socialism", as some critics in the state were calling it. The human needs of the state's lowest income families, it suggests, ought spur the General Assembly to act on the matter and pass it.

"A Double-Action Cure Is Needed" indicates that the Charlotte Merchants Association had rejected the Charlotte traffic engineer's plan for peak-hour parking bans on Trade and Tryon Streets, voting unanimously the previous day to oppose the proposal. With no support from that powerful segment of the business community, there was little chance that the plan would get beyond the planning stage, at least for awhile.

It indicates that a parking ban would speed up traffic, but in easing that problem, would likely cause another, resulting in the city's parking problems being worse than ever. It posits that traffic and parking were companion problems which needed to be approached at the same time. The first chore was to create additional off-street parking facilities in midtown, and when that was done, the city could begin talking about curtailing on-street parking.

A piece from the Raleigh News & Observer, titled "An Old Question Raised", indicates that the enlistment of the Legislature by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in their efforts to get Stonewall Jackson into the Hall of Fame of NYU had raised the old question of what was fame. Robert E. Lee and U. S. Grant had both been included in the first group of famous Americans selected for that Hall of Fame in 1900. General Sherman had been admitted in 1905 and since that time, Stonewall Jackson's supporters had been seeking unsuccessfully to get him in.

Among the 83 persons who were in the NYU Hall of Fame were those not very well known nationally, including William Ellery Channing, Peter Cooper, Asa Gray, James Kent, George Peabody, etc. Matthew Fontaine Maury was another Confederate leader who was in the Hall of Fame. Other Southerners included Sidney Lanier and Booker T. Washington, the latter admitted in 1945. Harriet Beecher Stowe had also been admitted in 1910. Only 11 Presidents had been admitted, with Andrew Jackson, James Polk and Andrew Johnson, all claimed by North Carolina as native-born, left out—President Jackson, however, actually having been inducted in 1910. The UDC managed to get ol' Stone'all into it in 1955.

These days, to attract a new generation of visitors, they should change the name to The Hall of the Iconics.

Drew Pearson indicates that the firing of Ed Corsi as Assistant Secretary of State on immigration showed two significant straws in the wind in Washington, that former New York Governor Thomas Dewey, who had been the closest man to the President for the first two years of the Administration, was no longer close, as Mr. Corsi had been in Governor Dewey's Cabinet as industrial commissioner for ten years. The other thing which it demonstrated was that Secretary of State Dulles was still letting members of Congress dictate his foreign policy, rather than calling the shots himself. He had listened to the threats of Senator McCarthy for the first two years of the Administration and had acquiesced to whatever the Senator wanted. Now, no one much listened anymore to Senator McCarthy, but Mr. Dulles was still bowing to other members of Congress. In the case of the firing of Mr. Corsi, Congressman Francis Walter Pennsylvania had been the source of the problem, claiming that Mr. Corsi had Communist ties, criticism stimulated by the fact that Mr. Corsi had heavily criticized the McCarran-Walter Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952, calling it "un-American" because it imposed quotas on immigration based on national origin. A leak had come from Senator McCarthy's friend Scott McLeod, the security chief within the State Department, which smeared Mr. Corsi, who had been appointed over Mr. McLeod's head.

Mr. Corsi had served as commissioner of immigration under President Hoover, had run as a Republican candidate in the mayoral race in New York and was one of New York's leading citizens. Mr. Pearson indicates that he did not deserve to be sacrificed.

The Dulles policy of bowing to members of Congress was the more important issue, and beyond that, peace in the world, but Mr. Dulles was allowing members of Congress to dominate foreign policy in such a way as to upset the peace. When new British Prime Minister Anthony Eden had proposed, while still Foreign Secretary, that England would guarantee support of the U.S. in Formosa provided the U.S. would not guarantee defense of the islands of Quemoy and Matsu, and provided that a plebiscite were held on Formosa, Mr. Dulles had gone to Senator William Knowland of California to determine whether he had any objections. Secretary Dulles had not decided the matter on the basis of what was good for the country and peace, but rather on the basis of whether Senator Knowland would have objections. The latter had threatened trouble, telling Mr. Dulles that if the British-proposed plebiscite were adopted, the Senator would make a speech on the floor denouncing it, Mr. Knowland understanding that Formosans hated Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek, as his executives had shot 60,000 Formosans in one of the most bloody massacres since the end of World War II, and that any plebiscite therefore would go overwhelmingly against him. Thus, the plan of Mr. Eden, aimed at getting the U.S. off a hot spot which might precipitate a new world war, was vetoed because the Administration had bowed to members of Congress who threatened trouble.

William D. Helm, in the second of series of articles on the proposed amendment to the Constitution to provide for a limit on Federal taxation at 25 percent, tells further of the proposal. Twenty-seven state legislatures, exclusive of North Carolina, had petitioned Congress to act on the amendment since 1939. Three-fourths of the states would have to ratify it if each house of Congress approved it by two-thirds majorities and sent it out to the states, before it would effect repeal of the 16th Amendment and become part of the Constitution. A Judiciary subcommittee would begin hearings the following month.

Congressman Emanuel Celler, presently chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee about to hold the hearings, had introduced a resolution to submit the matter to the states in 1939. That resolution and others of the type had been pigeonholed through the years.

If two-thirds of the states petitioned Congress for an amendment, it had to propose it. That had not yet occurred.

Opponents of the amendment, following the war, became concerned and acted to have some state legislatures rescind their petitions, being successful in some states.

Nationwide Gallup polls in 1950, 1951 and 1952 showed rising approval of the proposal, from 59 percent to 71 percent.

That, says Mr. Helm, was where the matter stood as the hearings were about to start.

George Santayana, in My Host the World, indicates that he had always been a realist about the facts and suspicious of all desiderata and utopias. The individual seeking an El Dorado nursed a secret passion for a happy home, while the born traveler was not pining for a better home, merely seeking expansive boundaries. The free spirit in a person knew that whatsoever might be offered was but a reversible accident, and though compelled to be absorbed ignominiously in such accidents, the interesting side of them for the intellect was only their character and their reversibility. "The precision and variety of alien things fascinate the traveler. He is aware that however much he may have seen, more and greater things remain to be explored, at least ideally, and he need never cease traveling, if he has a critical mind."

A letter writer finds that Charlotte school administrators were slipping a "Russian type" ballot over on the parents regarding the report card controversy, as the ballot he had received regarding his child a couple of weeks earlier offered only the option of accepting or not the compromise report card, not offering options or return to standard letter grades.

The editors note that at a meeting the previous day, a citywide committee of parents and teachers had adopted the compromise report card, after school officials had announced that parents had voted 7,731 for the compromise card and 1,065 against it.

A letter from an anonymous writer from Huntersville indicates that post office employees would welcome a 7.5 percent raise but not tied to reclassification, as Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield had proposed. The person indicates that the President had signed a raise for members of Congress which amounted to twice the amount of the top annual salary for postal workers, and Congress did not provide revenue for its own support. He had served in World War II and Korea, and indicates that the armed forces had obtained a raise in 1952, while postal employees had last received a raise in 1951. Among the armed forces, fringe benefits eliminated during the latter part of the Truman Administration and the early part of the Eisenhower Administration had caused more drops in re-enlistments than issues related to pay. Postal clerks received no fringe benefits and should be entitled to enough pay to live without having to work part time at other jobs or having their spouses work. He urges the newspaper to be more impartial in reporting on the issue of the raise for postal employees.

A letter writer indicates that he was aware of only one instance in which the leader of one of the houses of Congress had disagreed with the President of the same party, that having been Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley regarding FDR. Thus, he finds it a strange quirk that Senate Minority Leader William Knowland was disagreeing at present with Administration foreign policy in the Formosan crisis, putting forth a policy of his own. The Senator was reputed to have Chinese constituents in California who were in sympathy with Chiang Kai-shek. He wonders if the President was aware of the confusion among the people and the division which was building up in the Republican Party after it appeared that the Administration did not have a consistent foreign policy, with the only definite policy coming from the Democrats.

A letter writer asks why anyone should worry about integration as a result of Brown v. Board of Education, that a law or a court order was only as good as its enforcement, and he believes that the Justices realized that and that enforcement of the end of public school segregation could only be completed when the white and black people as a majority wanted it that way. He believes that the "intelligent and respectful people of either race" did not want full integration at present or ever, and that those who were advocating for an end to segregation were the "so-called social reformers, crackpots and the class that once was known to the South as 'carpetbaggers'". He urges calm and that the 14th Amendment could always be repealed, just as the 18th Amendment had been with regard to prohibition, if the majority of the people found that they did not want it enforced. He says that if the people did not want it, then either Congress would have to do something about it or answer to the voters for not doing so.

Something will need to be done about your head, a repeal of your atavistic thought processes. Read the Preamble of the Constitution sometime and realize that it was not just about the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868 by majorities in three-fourths of the states including, by 1870, all of the former Confederate states, that having merely clarified the issue of liberty and equality for all, embodied in the principles of the instrument from the Founding, in the wake of a bloody civil war instigated by fools who could not read.

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.