The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 14, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Solicitor General Simon Sobeloff had argued, on behalf of the Administration, before the Supreme Court this date anent the implementing decision of Brown v. Board of Education, that the Court "suggest motion" toward ending segregation in public schools but not to fix any ironclad deadline for it, urging that the court "make it clear that there must be a bona fide advance toward the goal of desegregation," but that such did not mean that "people ought to be ridden over roughshod." Indications were that the oral arguments would end early this afternoon, after counsel for the black parents, who were the original petitioners in the case, made their final rebuttal arguments. Those attorneys, led by future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP, had argued for ending segregation by the beginning of the following school term, or no later than September, 1956. Southern states, both those directly involved in the case and those impacted which had filed friend of the court briefs, had argued for a gradual adjustment to the Brown decision of the prior May 17, proposing that Federal District Courts be given broad authority to use discretion in ending segregation based on local conditions. Mr. Sobeloff referred to the Administration's position as a middle course, with the District Courts deciding when a particular school district had to abolish segregation in its public schools, recommending that Federal judges should call for submission of a plan to end segregation within 90 days, but that upon "a good faith showing", more time could be granted. He argued that the Supreme Court should avoid any fixed, inflexible time limit or making it possible to have interminable delay.

Unfortunately, the language ultimately adopted by the Court at the end of May, that desegregation should be implemented by the states and school districts with "all deliberate speed", served, unwittingly, as an invitation to many Southern states to engage in just that form of interminable delay, taking, in some instances, another 17 years of interminable litigation finally to adopt a plan for desegregation acceptable to the Federal courts, including Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, and, in some exceptional instances primarily outside the South, for years after 1971-72, involving the controversy over use of busing to achieve racial balance.

In Henderson, Ky., a laborer confessed to killing six persons, three men and three women, and was charged with murder in the slaying of an Evansville, Ind., service station operator who had been bound and shot on December 23 in Evansville across the Ohio River from Henderson. A State Police detective said that the accused had given a complete account of the crimes, indicating that he had entered a home in search of valuables while he thought the occupants were away and was surprised by the presence of a man and his 21-year old son, then bound the father with his belt and ordered the son at gunpoint to drive to a nearby bottomland field, where he was then bound with his belt, and the accused then shot both father and son in the back of their heads. He had then gone to the son's home on the same farm, also intent on burglary, and was surprised by the presence of the wife of the father and the wife of another son, then bound them and shot both of them, killing the younger woman and injuring the wife of the slain father. A 2 1/2-year old daughter of the younger woman had been left unharmed. Other Indiana slayings involved a 47-year old woman and a 36-year old woman, both shot in December by the accused. Eight youths had copied the license number of an automobile which had been parked in a forest, which turned out to belong to the accused, who was quoted by police as saying that he did not know why he had done it, that he had only gotten a dollar out of it, which he said he had found in the slain father's pocket.

In Greensboro, N.C., in the Federal trial of admitted member of the Communist Party Junius Scales, accused of violating the Smith Act proscription against teaching or advocating the overthrow of the United States Government by force or violence, a former Communist, turned informant for the FBI, testified this date that Mr. Scales had taken him into the party and preached violent overthrow of the Government. The witness, a Charlotte attorney, added that Mr. Scales had told him that it would be nice "if revolutions happened automatically", but that unfortunately they did not and that force was the only answer, that ideas alone could never accomplish anything. His testimony was intended to support the Government's claim that Mr. Scales knew of the Communist Party's alleged goal of violent revolution and worked for it. The witness said that he had sent a postcard to Mr. Scales in 1948 identifying himself as a Duke University student who was interested in Communism, and that about two days later, he had received a large box of Communist Party literature from Mr. Scales, and in a subsequent letter, the latter had invited him to his home in Carrboro, where he visited in September, 1948, having dinner with Mr. Scales and his first wife. Later that evening, a UNC student from Wilmington had arrived and the witness said that the other student had spoken of the "feeling of exultation" experienced after announcing publicly that he was a Communist, a sentiment shared by Mr. Scales. He also quoted Mr. Scales as having stated that his father, a now deceased banker, had been a millionaire, and that his great uncle, A. M. Scales, had been a former Governor of the state. He said that Mr. Scales had told him that he was planning to start a publishing company and when the witness asked why not educate people to Communism, Mr. Scales had replied that it was entirely fallacious and would never work, as the Government "owned" all means of communications, such as newspapers and radio, and would not permit the masses to learn the truth, that first they would have "to destroy the government".

If some of that alleged dialogue sounds eerily familiar of those involved in the January 6 insurrection, including certain members of the United States House of Representatives, as well as the dialogue engaged by Fox News and its functional equivalent over the airwaves, merely substituting "Trump" for "Communism", the comparison is quite apt.

In Raleigh, the General Assembly's House Judiciary Committee No. 2 approved this date a bill redefining reckless driving and amending rules of the road, spelling out certain driving practices which were not in the law but were generally followed, such as that a nighttime driver had to dim headlights when within 200 feet of a car being overtaken and when meeting an approaching vehicle on the road. An amendment to the bill would make the penalty for a second conviction of reckless driving subject to discretion of the court, while a first offense conviction would continue to be limited to a maximum of a $100 fine or 60 days in jail. Reckless driving was defined under the bill as being anyone driving "heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard to the rights or safety of others" or anyone driving "without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner" so as to endanger person or property. Some courts had held that both methods of improper driving had to be evident before a person could be convicted of reckless driving. The bill also provided for other circumstances in which caution was required and that a person involved in an accident where there was property damage, would be required not only to stop, as current law required, but also to provide the name and address of the operator, driver's license information and registration of the vehicle. A section was deleted requiring the operator to report the accident within 24 hours to the Department of Motor Vehicles when there was more than $100 of property damage.

Also in Raleigh, the State House Committee on Elections and Elections Laws this date issued an unfavorable report to a bill which would have allowed voters in the state to hold a primary every four years in presidential elections. Opponents of the measure said it was unnecessary.

In Concord, N.C., the Cabarrus County Health Department announced this date that all children in the county would receive free Salk vaccine shots against polio, underwritten by Charles Cannon, president of Cannon Mills, for all children not receiving the shots free through the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was underwriting the costs nationwide for those in the first and second grades.

Julian Scheer of The News indicates that Mayor Philip Van Every, in a letter to State Senator F. J. Blythe and the State House delegation from Mecklenburg County, had urged a special election amendment to be added to the proposed city-county water authority bills presently before the Assembly, requiring a special referendum before municipalities and political subdivisions thereof could dispose, lend, lease or convey present water and sewer facilities.

Emery Wister of The News tells of a torrential rain having fallen in Charlotte this date, causing creeks and streams to overflow their banks in several sections of the city, although the problematic, polluted Sugaw Creek still had several feet to go before reaching its flood stage. At noon, the Weather Bureau announced that 2.55 inches of rain had fallen in Charlotte during the previous 24 hours, bringing the monthly rainfall total to 4.02 inches. Both the City and County Governments, as reported by Dick Young and Ann Sawyer, had denied this date any responsibility for dredging Briar Creek to prevent its overflow, as had occurred during the previous night and during the morning of this date. The City engineer stated that the city was not legally bound to dredge or carry on other operations to keep the water from rising out of the banks of the creek. The chairman of the Board of County Commissioners and the chairman of the Mecklenburg County Drainage Commission opined that property owners would have to bear the expense for any dredging or widening of the creek. Get your picks out and go to work… It's not their job. What do you think, you're paying property tax for services?

On the editorial page, "Legislative Salaries Are Too Low" indicates that some influential members of the current biennial General Assembly wanted to increase the salaries of the legislators, though most did not dare to do so, fearing taunts and jeers of the people back home.

It finds it a fact that the $15 per diem which legislators obtained as salary for a maximum of 90 days during any one regular session, totaling $1,350 every two years, was a disgrace. North Carolina was the only state in the country which paid its legislators no mileage or expense allowance, meaning that most people could not afford to represent their county or district in the General Assembly, as to be a member meant leaving one's home and business for several months and spending large sums in Raleigh for hotel accommodations and meals. If the legislator wanted to return home to see the family or have the family come to Raleigh, it would cost another substantial sum.

The result was that legislators had to find "sponsors" in the form of special interest pressure groups to provide under-the-table funding, an obviously undesirable situation.

Most states paid legislators inadequately but 19 paid more than did North Carolina, with the most generous being New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, California and Pennsylvania. In New York, legislators received $5,000 per year plus actual travel expenses for one round-trip to and from home each week. In Illinois, they received the same salary plus a dime per mile once per week, and $50 per session for other expenses. In Massachusetts, the salary was $4,500 per year plus a varying mileage rate based on the distance traveled, plus a subsistence allowance of $10 to $20 per week. In California, the salary was $3,600 per year, plus a nickel per mile and $12 per day for subsistence. In Pennsylvania, the salary was $3,000 per year plus a nickel per mile for one round-trip per week, plus $3,600 each biennium for additional expenses. Even Mississippi was more generous than North Carolina, paying its legislators $2,000 per session plus a dime per mile for one round-trip home.

It opines that it should not cost a lot of money to be a state legislator, endangering democracy, and that unless the situation were changed soon, North Carolina would find it increasingly difficult to enlist and retain able persons for the Legislature. It indicates that there was currently an amendment being proposed to the State Constitution which would remove the present 90-day limit on legislative sessions and add a $10 per day expense allowance to the pay of the legislators. It indicates that the proposal might not be perfect but it would serve as the basis for reasonable adjustment of the system and that the question should not be whether to increase the pay but how to do so.

"Footnote" indicates that Will Rogers in 1931 had stated: "Politics has got so expensive that it takes lots of money to even get beat with." It recommends the quote to North Carolinians who were less than wealthy and who wanted to run for the Legislature, but could not afford it.

"WBT: The Dial Is Set at Progress" indicates that those who had toured WBT and WBTV's new building on the western edge of the city had been impressed not only with the beautiful view it afforded of Charlotte but also by reflections of the great progress made by the radio and television stations, providing, in combination, "a happy augury for the future". Since the days of the "wireless" and crystal set, WBT had burgeoned forth, now putting pictures alongside words and music on the air.

It believes that the success of WBT and now its associated television station was due primarily to its policy or state of mind or force of circumstance which had impelled its management always to visualize the future as being highly promising. That policy deserved to be ranked as visionary and Charles Crutchfield and his associates of the Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Co. and the Jefferson Standard Insurance Co. deserved to be complimented and congratulated.

WBTV, channel 3, was always fuzzy in Winston-Salem during the Sixties, with WSOC, channel 9, coming in much more clearly, indicative of a stronger transmitter. Thus, we conclude that WSOC, though not established for two more years, was the more visionary.

"From Cow College to Country Club" indicates that it would hear no further cracks about the "country club" being run by UNC president Gordon Gray in Chapel Hill or of rowdy fraternity parties, gay weekends at the beach and the almost complete lack of book-work being handled by the "Carolina gentleman". For actually it appeared to be the males at N.C. State who were living high on the hog, "not the po' boys in white bucks on The Hill."

It finds that the index to success appeared to be the automobile, and from the visiting committee's report regarding the Consolidated University, it had culled the facts that there were 1,932 student-owned automobiles in Raleigh, 1,492 in Chapel Hill, while 42.8 percent of N.C. State freshmen and sophomores had automobiles, compared to only 17.8 percent at Chapel Hill. It thus concludes that after all those embarrassing years as a "Cow College", the men of N.C. State might yet inherit the "country club" name tag. "Reckon a romp in a roadster is about to take the place of the old fashioned hayride?"

"Just Name It" indicates that members of the City Council had gone on record the previous day as being for a clock for Independence Square so that passersby could tell the time in a glance, and for a nameplate at the airport large enough to impress the natives and enlighten travelers. It concludes that nothing was too good for the voters before an election.

A piece from the Chapel Hill Weekly, titled "Civil Defense", indicates that civil defense was either important or not so, and that if it was not important, then there was no sense in going on about it through solemn conferences, alarming speculation, and exhortations to show more concern about what might occur. If it was important, then all the talk was utterly inadequate for preparation. The people in the best positions to know whether it was important or not were the atomic scientists, the President and other high-level officers of the Government, members of the committees of Congress which dealt with defense, military leaders, and writers who had undertaken serious study of the topic, all of whom had declared that it was important, doing so with emphasis.

The Federal Civil Defense Administration had been established in the executive branch four years earlier to plan civil defense for the protection of life and property in the event of a nuclear emergency, with the principal responsibility vested in the states, coordinated and guided by the Federal Government.

It urges that civil defense ought be made a part of the Department of Defense, with a uniformed force of officers and enlisted men as there were in the major branches of the armed services, with training schools for that new force and an adequate appropriation of money for it.

The piece concludes that if civil defense was important, then it implores the President, members of Congress and other leaders in Washington not to continue trifling about it, but rather to afford it the serious attention it deserved, making it a direct responsibility and operation of the Government.

Drew Pearson indicates that with the U.S. sitting on the edge of potential war in the area of Formosa, there was one area close to home about which Americans could feel happy, that being their neighbors in the Western hemisphere. It had been only 65 years since the first Pan American conference had formed the Pan American Union, and since that time it had worked quietly with little fanfare to build a new code of behavior among its member states. Every so often, the Union got into the headlines when a crisis occurred, such as the threat of war between Costa Rica and Nicaragua in recent times, but most of the time, it worked behind the scenes to bring about good neighborliness. The Union was the oldest of all international organizations and the only one which operated on a true democratic basis. It had survived where the League of Nations had failed, had no votes which counted more than other members and no veto or permanent seats for powerful nations, as the U.N. The vote of Haiti, 300 times smaller than the U.S., counted just as much as the vote of the U.S. Mr. Pearson indicates that the Western hemisphere owed its decreasing wars to the patient good neighborliness of the Union.

Two young men, riding in a Capitol elevator recently, had been discussing Washington's favorite recent topic, squirrels, with one saying that the "squirrel thing" had really caught on, that it had done more harm to the Administration than anything else. A young woman, also on the elevator, asked whether they would like to come in and sample some of their nuts, as people from all over Oregon had been sending nuts to Senator Richard Neuberger to help him feed the squirrels banished from the White House lawn—because they had been chewing up the President's putting green. By the time the young man had begun to realize that he had said the wrong thing, he blushingly identified himself as a member of the Republican policy committee staff, and the young woman worked for Democratic Senator Neuberger.

William P. Helm, in the third and last of a series of articles, examines the proposed Constitutional amendment to limit income tax to 25 percent, indicating that, according to a Department of the Treasury estimate, individuals would receive a tax reduction of about 3.5 billion dollars per year under the proposal, based on 1953 receipts.

Treasury officials opposed the amendment on the ground that the Government should not lose revenue needed in the present period of national emergency, though the amendment would authorize a higher limit of taxation during an emergency, but would limit the spread between the high and low tax rates to 15 percentage points. If the latter were applied, the Treasury had estimated loss of revenue under the program of about 7 billion dollars per year, and if it were not, 13.3 billion, again based on 1953 receipts. Those numbers had been provided to a Senate committee a year earlier by Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey, who indicated that loss of revenue would be 8.5 billion in corporate income taxes and 3.5 billion in individual taxes, with an additional billion lost from estate and gift taxes. He had stated that it would be possible for Congress, by a three-fourths majority, to maintain the corporate tax at its present top rate of 52 percent, provided the rate on corporations with small income were raised from 30 percent to 37 percent. He said that if the current starting rate of 20 percent on individual taxes were maintained, the highest rates imposed on individuals and corporations would be 35 percent, and under those assumptions, there would be a 7 billion dollar reduction in revenues.

In the event of a national emergency, the reduction in revenue from a 35 percent top rate for both individuals and corporations would therefore be approximately the same amount as the tax cuts enacted by Congress over the previous two years.

There was great difference of opinion as to whether the Government could meet its needs, including those for national defense, were it to cut taxes by another 7 billion per year, with many members of Congress and some private organizations being convinced that it could not, while others thought otherwise. The president of the American Taxpayers Association, which had been a pioneer of the program in 1939, was one of the chief advocates for it, stating that the Government could meet its obligations under the limitation and that the national economy would be placed on a sound basis in the meantime, though it would require the Government to reduce spending for "non-essential purposes".

Opponents claimed that heavier taxes would be imposed on low incomes and that states would lose part of the present U.S. grants in aid, as well as undermining the Government and leaving its activities hamstrung. But the proponents of the plan denied those claims and asserted that the reverse would be the case, the present status of the dispute when the matter would be the subject of hearings the following month before a House Judiciary subcommittee.

Robert C. Ruark, in London, indicates that it had been ten years since the end of the European war and that he had enjoyed a social evening recently with "one of our very best fighting generals", whom he does not name. He says it had never occurred to him before that generals and admirals were people and not demigods. The general in question was, as Mr. Ruark, from North Carolina, and had been an active strike leader in both Europe and the Pacific in the air corps. He says that they discussed "Carolina talk" about small towns, fishing and quail-shooting and what London was like when they had been there in different jobs during the blitz, and what Saipan and Guam had been like before they had dressed them up with mattresses and officers' clubs. They had gotten up to dance "rather violently" with some pretty girls, but did not ask Princess Margaret to dance when she arrived.

They had talked of the type of luck which got one man through a war and killed another, and how the most violent livers usually got run down by small girls on bicycles. One would not have thought that there was a former Navy lieutenant talking to a general in a London saloon. He decided that all of the official talk about doom from professional warriors had to be tempered with the idea that generals were only people and were generally inclined selfishly to favor their branch of the service and their position in it.

The President had cracked down on the Joint Chiefs recently regarding public pronouncements of potential war in Asia in mid-April, and while the President might be wrong in his optimism, he had a pretty good point, though not expressly stated, knowing that the only justification of a military man's life was war and that even in a war, conflicting services tried to fight it three ways, one on the ground, one in the air, and one by sea.

He recalls from his service on Guam that when the B-29's had come out to bomb Japan, there had been a major dispute between Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Curtis LeMay, the Admiral wanting to keep on fighting by sea and General LeMay wanting to do so from the air, resulting in a period of coolness between the two services. By the end of the war, the Navy had set up a special task force to wreck Air Force prestige and the interservice rivalries became so grim that there were public reprimands and commands to desist. He recalls the "political assassination" of General MacArthur and all "the monkey business" in Korea, and it brought him back to his friend, the general, with whom he had been recently socializing. Despite the general having been one of the better fighting officers who had ever worn a uniform, when all was said and done, they had both hailed from the same "pig path" in North Carolina and at about the same time, which he regards as something to think about "when we hear the Cassandra shout of doom. In one way or another, all of us come from North Carolina, or its equivalent, and we're all subject to flaw."

Philip Wheelwright, in The Burning Fountain, indicates that man lives always on the verge of "something more", the only animal who had built restlessness into a metaphysical principle, with human desires, triggered by the imagination, going beyond the scope of natural instinct and mocking efforts to satisfy them, a favorite theme of moralists.

"Indeed, the intimation of a something more, a beyond the horizon, belongs to the very nature of consciousness… To be conscious is not just to be; it is to mean, to extend, to point beyond one's self, to testify that some kind of beyond exists, and to be ever on the verge of entering it."

A letter writer from Thomasboro, a former sergeant in the Army infantry, responds to two letters, one of which had been written by a person who declared himself as "Puzzled" and another regarding universal military training and the Methodist Student Movement. He indicates that he had been a member of various young people's groups of the Methodist Church from 1928 to 1940 and had served during that time faithfully as an officer in the Epsworth League, Young People's Council, the Boy Scouts and the Official Board. In 1940, the same controversy had developed, with there being distinct opposition to any form of military preparedness, especially universal military training. He opposed the resolution against UMT and so had withdrawn peacefully from the organizations. He says he was a strict believer in the power of prayer and had seen proof of it many times, and also was a firm believer in preparedness and considered UMT as part of that program, provided that each man and woman received training as an aid to self-preservation and that it did not interfere with schooling or career. He respected the views of those who sincerely opposed combat and believed there was a place for them in that program as well. He had been called to active duty in 1941 and had gone overseas in 1942, returning in late 1945, and had spent considerable time among Orientals. He believes that what might have occurred had the German armies smashed England and crossed the Atlantic and if the Japanese had followed the attack on Pearl Harbor with an attack on Alaska or the West Coast was unimaginable. Such had been prevented by thousands of "real Americans" helping to stop them. He does not want boys sent into combat unprepared and until there was no need for UMT, he thinks it was a valuable program for preparedness. He asks God to bless all of those who had gone to war, many of whom had not carried a gun.

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