The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 5, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from London that Prime Minister Winston Churchill had driven to Buckingham Palace this date and resigned his post, after serving a total of nine years in the position, over five years of which had been during World War II, from May, 1940 until the defeat of the coalition Conservative Government in mid-July 1945. Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, 57, would succeed him as the new Prime Minister, with an announcement to that effect expected later this date or the following day. Mr. Churchill had spent 41 minutes with Queen Elizabeth in tendering his resignation, and was greeted by shouts of "Good old Winnie" from some 2,000 persons who had gathered on the streets as he was driven from his address at 10 Downing Street to the Palace and back, the crowds understanding what was taking place because of an announcement by the BBC earlier in the day, even though London newspapers were on strike. He was accompanied only by his son-in-law and private secretary. Mr. Eden had remained in his suite at the Foreign Office. The previous night, Mr. Churchill had held a farewell dinner at his residence for the Queen and for political leaders, including Mr. Eden and the opposition Labor leader, Clement Attlee, and this date had met with his Cabinet, apparently for the last time. Mr. Churchill had been in office the second time continuously since October, 1951, when the Conservatives regained power after six years out of the Parliamentary majority, defeating Mr. Attlee and Labor which had formed the governing majority in the interim. Mr. Churchill would live until January, 1965.

Jack Smith of the Associated Press indicates that Mr. Churchill had given up this date, "beaten in the end by the weight of years", the passage of time doing what "dictators' armies and warplanes" had failed to do, causing him to surrender. He had bowed to the pleas of his doctor and the urging of his wife, Clementine, who believed he had to preserve his waning strength, and also had surrendered to the tactful, but urgent, suggestions of some of the Conservative Party leaders who wanted a younger, more vigorous person at the helm for the impending general election campaign. But according to friends, he primarily had yielded to his own self-awareness that his time and strength might be running out. Lately, he had been nodding off into sudden sleep midway during Cabinet meetings and sometimes momentarily forgot the names of world-famous men whom he had wined and dined and matched wits with across the table. The prior November, on the occasion of his 80th birthday, he had stated, "I am now nearing the end of my journey." But he had also continued to stir the nation with ringing speeches during his waning years, which had revealed again the sweep of his mind and had rallied Britain behind his policies. The previous month, he had urged, "Never flinch, never weary, never despair," in relation to his urging of support for his policy of building British hydrogen bombs to hold Russia at bay. He had continued to match wits in Commons with Labor opponents to the very end, in witty exchanges, delighting his political enemies as well as his friends. In 1951, he had suffered a sudden stroke, with the news having been maintained in secret, while doctors hovered over him, ordering him to be quiet and rest. Instead, he had insisted on helping to phrase a misleading communiqué for reporters who were gathered outside the house of his friend Lord Beaverbrook, the newspaper publisher, on the French Riviera, and as a friend had left his side to deliver the statement to newsmen, Mr. Churchill emerged from bed, only a few hours after the stroke, chasing his associate down a hallway to make another change in the communiqué, which he did. Two years earlier, he had suffered a second stroke, but had also recovered from that one as well.

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, visiting Charlotte this date, said that it was unlikely that Mr. Churchill would remain silent after his retirement, indicating that she would miss his figure on the public scene but that he would continue to be active in Commons. She said that she would always remember his visits to the White House during the war, that they had been "most pleasant", though had meant hard work for President Roosevelt. (She did not mention her disdain for seeing Mr. Churchill in his kimono at a wee hour of the morning, smoking his cigar, wandering in a hallway at the White House, as once recounted by Drew Pearson on D-Day.) She had spoken the previous night at the Amity Club, in commemoration of the seventh anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, having just arrived in the U.S. from an overseas tour, with Charlotte being the first stop on a brief lecture circuit. She had been in England just before the Yalta papers from the conference of February, 1945 had been released the prior week and stated that the feeling there was that the record should not have come out. Elsewhere on her journeys, she recounted, the feeling was "more or less indifference" regarding the release. She said that she had no personal opinion of her own on the matter. She indicated that her plans called for additional talks, a great deal of writing and continued work with the U.N., that she would make some talks for the United Jewish Appeal and for Bonds for Israel drives. She said she been asked to write some articles and that the overseas trip had been for the purpose of gathering material for those articles.

In New York, the medical director for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis said this date that pharmaceutical companies had raised production goals for the Salk polio vaccine above the 18 million immunizations originally planned and that the additional production ought satisfy the demand for the vaccine and keep shortages from developing. The official report on whether the vaccine was effective was to be released on April 12, the tenth anniversary of the death of President Roosevelt, based on the previous year's test inoculations of nearly two million children. The Foundation had ordered enough vaccine for nine million persons and would use it to inoculate mostly first and second-grade children throughout the country, with remaining supplies to be distributed through drugstores to doctors for private use. Special consideration would be given to children in age groups most likely to be stricken. There were 61 million Americans under 21 years of age, the group considered to be in the danger zone for contracting polio, with the most susceptible years being between ages five and eight.

In Atlanta, the Southern Bell Telephone Co. this date advertised for workers to fill "many good regular full-time jobs", as the strike of workers entered its 23rd day, the company indicating that the recruiting program was not designed to replace strikers but might have that effect. Spokesmen for the union, the Communications Workers of America, immediately announced that any settlement of the strike would be conditioned on return of all workers to their jobs, including 19 who had been fired for alleged participation in strike violence. They characterized the advertisement as typical intimidation and coercion tactics, leading to loss of pension rights for workers. Union leaders had claimed that all except supervisory personnel among the 50,000 workers in nine Southeastern states had participated in the strike, which had begun on March 14 when negotiators could not agree on a new contract. Daily cable cuttings had disrupted service on dial telephones in the Atlanta area, but most of the damage had been quickly repaired and the company claimed that normal service was continuing for the most part.

Hundreds of motorists were marooned in Wyoming and Montana this date as one of the worst blizzards in the history of the Rockies had produced 16-foot snowdrifts, with Sheridan, Wyo., in the heart of the storm area, reporting 36 inches of snowfall since the previous Saturday night, 24 inches of which had fallen during a 24-hour period, establishing a record for that community. Virtually all highways in the two states had been closed, and air and bus schedules had been canceled. Highway department crews struggled through the snowdrifts to rescue a number of stranded motorists the previous day, while other motorists had been able to reach nearby homes or ranch houses. All motorists had been accounted for, and 53 of them whose cars had bogged down in a 15-foot drift had been picked up by a school bus and brought into Lusk the previous night. Those who had been stranded since Sunday afternoon were reported to be in good condition. Winds up to 70 mph had whipped the snow the previous day and strong winds were expected again this date, with the Weather Bureau stating that the snowfall was tapering off early this date and probably would end within a few hours. Elsewhere in the nation, fair to partly cloudy weather prevailed over the East Coast, the Southwest and most of the area west of the Continental Divide, with a warming trend evident over most of the nation east of the Mississippi River, along the Pacific Coast and in most of the Great Basin area within the West.

In Swan Quarter, N.C., it was reported that firefighters this date had pressed their efforts to bring under control a giant forest fire which had burned over a quarter million acres of timberland, scrub growth and grassland in swampy coastal areas. The Hyde County forest fire warden said early this date that he believed they had the fire cornered and that if wind conditions were not too severe this date, it might be brought under control. (You can't trust those schizoids; they'll turn on you in an instant, as soon as they partake of the magic elixir contained in the underbrush and rekindle their power.) A road had formed a firebreak and two previously threatened villages, Ponzer and Scranton, were now out of danger, with no occupied dwellings presently threatened by the fire. The only dwelling reported to be lost to the fire had been an unoccupied house near Ponzer the previous day. A forester said that large parts of the burned area contained little commercially valuable timber. A representative of the State Forestry Department said that wildlife, however, had suffered heavily from flame and loss of feeding grounds. Governor Luther Hodges had dispatched a National Guard unit of two officers and 45 men to join the firefighting efforts the previous day, and Camp Lejeune Marine authorities had sent a large pumping outfit and 50 men to the scene, while four pumpers had been sent from Fort Bragg and three from the Coast Guard installations in the area. It was now hoped that the fire would be contained along N.C. Highway 94 and not leap the road into Dare County and possibly reach Pamlico Sound, as once feared it might do.

Julian Scheer of The News indicates that a bill creating a city-county water authority might become the hottest local issue of the remaining 1955 legislative session. The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners had approved the proposed measure the previous day.

On the editorial page, "Charlotte College: Crisis in Education" quotes from a 1955 report of the Commission on Higher Education, that it was apparent that "something is wrong with higher education" in the state. The Commission, headed by Victor Bryant of Durham, painted a dreary picture of how the state was "plowing under" much of its college-age population which could profit from higher education. It raised serious questions, one of which had been answered in Charlotte the previous day, by a proposal to establish a State-supported college in the Piedmont section of the state, with the City School Board endorsing the proposal and including an offer to transfer to the proposed State college, if located in Mecklenburg County, the assets and organization of Charlotte College.

It indicates that the need for a State-supported college in the rapidly expanding metropolitan area around Charlotte was great and increasing daily. Charlotte College presently had an enrollment of only 381 students and its financial support was limited and its growth restricted. But if it were to become part of the State system, its growth would increase and its service to the community would likewise increase.

It indicates that a political straitjacket had prevented territorial expansion of higher education facilities in the state for a long time, and it was time to remove the straitjacket to avoid having the state ranked even lower than its current 47th among the 48 states in terms of its college-educated portion of the population. Only 15.3 percent of the state's college-age citizens were enrolled in college, while the national average was 28.4 percent, according to the U.S. Office of Education, with only South Carolina being lower. The 1950 census had indicated that 6 percent of the nation's population over 25 years old had completed four years or more of college, while in North Carolina, only 5 percent had done so. For the nation as a whole, 7.2 percent had one to three years of college, while in North Carolina, it was only 6 percent.

Many North Carolinians tended to say that the statistics did not relate the picture accurately because blacks "pull us down". It finds there were several answers to that racial snobbery, but that the most significant was contained in the statistics of the Commission's report, indicating that the state was tied for last place in 1951-52 among 14 Southern states regarding its percentage of white college-age population enrolled in college, and only two of the 14 states had ranked higher than North Carolina in percentage of black college-age population enrolled in college. It concludes, therefore, that it was actually the whites who were being "plowed under".

It indicates that the state was spending a great deal of money on higher education and the question was whether there might be more suitable ways to divide the available funding across the state, that higher education would be better served if some of the cash were to be diverted to institutions like Charlotte College, proximal to the state's largest center of college-age population.

"It Takes Just Three Seconds...." tells of fire still being the primary menace to the South's timberlands, as brought into terrifying focus by the destruction of runaway forest fires sweeping eastern North Carolina counties at present.

It stresses that virtually all forest fires were caused by man and were thus preventable, while more than half of the region's timber losses were caused by either malicious, ignorant or thoughtless people.

The South's commercial forest land represented only one-third of the national total, but the region produced about half of the country's lumber and more than half of its wood pulp. Yet, forest fires destroyed one out of every 16 acres of woodland in the South each year. In 1950, a particularly bad year for forest fires, approximately 77 percent of the acreage burned in the country had occurred in the South. The people of the state and the South had to be taught that fire was a saboteur. More than 6,000 different items, from the decks of aircraft carriers to railroad crossties, were made from wood, and thus when a forest was consumed in flame, the nation lost products which it urgently needed in both war and peace.

It stresses that it only took three seconds to crush out a cigarette, and yet careless smokers alone started approximately 18,000 fires per year. Prevention of forest fires was primarily a matter of organization and education at the local level, taking individual care every day, being cautious with campfires, brush burning and matches, and imposing severe punishment for arson.

"Modern Poetry: A Belletristic Rhubarb" indicates that as was North Carolina-born Gerald W. Johnson, Ireland's Lord Dunsany was a bitter foe of modern poetry, with Mr. Johnson comparing it to "the bleating of sheep" and Lord Dunsany maintaining that most contemporary verse was based on the belief that "nonsense is truth, truth nonsense." In Washington recently, the latter had touched off another belletristic free-for-all when he called the works of T. S. Eliot "gibberish", stating that the plain man or perplexed common reader now sought clarity and simplicity in literature.

It posits that perhaps Lord Dunsany had exposed a crisis threatening all of the arts, particularly poetry, during the 20th Century, that the search for simplicity had produced an age of distilled wisdom, capsulized culture, digested classics and impatient rejection of complex art forms. Poetry, with its ambiguity and personal fantasy, was faced with a shrinking audience among common men, with practically no readers. Despite the major achievements of Mr. Eliot, Wallace Stevens and Dylan Thomas, they remained virtually unknown and unappreciated, and their work was dismissed as unintelligible gibberish, incomprehensible to ordinary readers.

It finds that probably the worst thing which could have happened to poetry was the Dada movement, one of the initiators of which had been Tristan Tzara, who had once sought to explain how to compose a Dada poem: "Take a newspaper. Take shears. Select in the newspaper an article of the length which is your intention the poem should be. Clip the article. Then cut out carefully each of the words which compose this article and put them in a bag. Shake gently. Then lay each clipping down in the order in which it comes out of the bag. Copy conscientiously. The poem will be like you. And there you are a highly original and sensitive writer, not yet appreciated by the mob."

The modern reader had therefore decided that modern poetry was not worth the trouble, and the gap between the artist and the public consequently had widened, despite the fact that Dada disappeared very quickly from the scene and that poetry was probably healthier at present than it had been in centuries, having recovered much of the virtue and vigor of the 17th Century master poets, even if more complex in a more complex age. It asserts that modern poetry was not unintelligible, that its forms and language might be highly personal, but that meaning was present if one were willing to look for it. It was still an interpretation of man's relation to the world around him, even if couched in language which was often impressionistic and full of exotic mannerisms and grotesqueries, which were only manifestations of the age.

It points out that the poetry of earlier times had also been bitterly attacked as "too complex" when it first appeared, as much the case with John Keats as was presently the case with Mr. Eliot and some of the younger poets. It finds that the figure of Mr. Eliot still towered over the poetry scene of the present time, as a sort of elder statesman, that "The Waste Land", which had provided "symbolic documentation to the spiritual sterility" of the 1920's, was probably the most important single poem of the 20th Century, and yet was one of the most difficult to master fully, while its "erudite allusions and muted cadences" gave it "a magnificence seldom if ever reached in modern literature."

It posits that others also had produced notable modern poetry, such as e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, Robinson Jeffers, W. B. Yates, Archibald MacLeish, W. H. Auden, Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, in addition to Messrs. Stevens and Thomas. It adds that the prose of James Joyce, William Faulkner, D. H. Lawrence, Djuna Barnes and even Ernest Hemingway had risen to the heights of great poetry and could be so classified. (Don't forget Mr. Wolfe and Mrs. Woolf.)

"Something has weakened cultural America by alienating poetry and the people." It suggests that it might be decadence or, as Herbert P. Woodward had stated on the editorial page on March 9, the result of a system of education which produced "men of competence" rather than men of learning. "But by rejecting modern poetry, the common reader is depriving himself of the nourishment of high art."

We thought you wanted us to go over down 'ere to de baseball game, and now you got us readin' all this poetry stuff. Make up your mind. Poetry may be made in the spring and summer, but it is written down and read only within the confinements of the fall and winter, the rainy interludes of the former only offering labor-respite mimic of the latter.

Drew Pearson indicates that the business-like atmosphere of the recent luncheon between House leaders and the President had been broken when White House waiters brought in the main course, quail hash on toast, at which point Secretary of State Dulles politely but firmly declined to have a portion, explaining that he was trying to keep his weight down after eating more than he should have during his travels abroad, extending diplomatic courtesy in having done so. The Secretary instead opted for a little cottage cheese from the refrigerator, and the President called the waiter and told him to try to find some in the kitchen. At that point, House Majority Leader John McCormack of Massachusetts stated that he also would like some cottage cheese, not stating the reason, but Lenten regulations for Catholics forbade meat more than once per day and he was planning to have a steak dinner that evening. A few minutes later, the waiter returned but with only one portion of cottage cheese, explaining to the President that there was no more. At that point, the Secretary and Mr. McCormack deferred to each other over who should eat the single portion, with Mr. McCormack eventually winning out and the portion went to Mr. Dulles, with Mr. McCormack opting for side dishes of potatoes and red cabbage, eschewing the quail hash.

Senator Alexander Smith of New Jersey, a former Princeton professor, became tangled in his questions at the luncheon at the White House with Senators, asking such involved questions that the President stepped in to try to rephrase them, with Secretary Dulles coming to the rescue, also seeking to simplify the questions so that everyone could understand them. When finally boiled down, Senator Smith appeared to be asking whether the Nationalist-held offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu would be of any help to the U.S. in case trouble would break out again in Korea, receiving the answer that they would not.

Mr. Pearson indicates that at both luncheons, the President had refused to say whether the U.S. would or would not defend the two offshore islands, stating that it was a military decision and he would make it, but was not prepared to say in advance what his decision would be as he did not intend to tip off the Chinese in advance. One of the most important questions asked of the President at the Senate luncheon was whether he would agree to a Big Four top-level conference, as recently urged by Senator Walter George of Georgia, and the President indicated that he would be willing to sit down with Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin and with the French and British some time later, probably in November.

Lewis M. Hacker, dean of the Columbia University School of General Studies, a noted historian and frequent commentator on the American scene, suggests that a domestic crisis was developing in the country which would shake its foundations and have wide repercussions abroad and on its foreign relations, having to do with the growing suspicion of the intellectual's role in national life. He indicates that he did not believe that because of America's belief in equality it was necessarily anti-intellectual, that intellectuals were often eccentrics and nonconformists, for whom there was a place in American society. He cites Benjamin Franklin, Henry Thoreau, Bronson Alcott, father of author Louisa May Alcott, and Walt Whitman as examples.

The fact that most of the immigrants to America had been Europe's rejected, either because of religion, politics or in opportunities to make a living, the country as a people had been tolerant of dissenters.

The country was alone in the world in extending its commitment to universal education to the university level, training ten times as many superior talents, relative to population, as did Britain, and perhaps 20 times as many as did France and Italy. He could speak from personal experience, from having lectured all over the country, that close hearing and high respect was accorded to thoughtful people who spoke of ideas. But he cites a paradox, that education had become a "sensitive" area, with intellectuals and ideas having become suspect, with teachers being asked to take loyalty oaths and hounded as "Fifth Amendment Communists" because of youthful dalliances with the Communist Party or its fellow travelers. In consequence, their relations with fellow academics and intellectuals abroad were being watched and restricted. That limited U.S. potential, for American intellectuals could learn as much from Europeans and Asians as they could learn from Americans.

He finds that while the people were not hostile to learning, political leaders in Congress and state legislatures and personnel in the State and Justice Departments were, with the best proof of that being the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 and the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as well as the administration of those laws by the State and Justice Departments. The 1952 Act made it difficult and frequently impossible for foreign scholars to enter the country unless they were prepared to submit to humiliating examination regarding past political beliefs. Many intellectuals in Europe and Asia, fighting in the resistance movements against Germany and Japan, had joined forces, frequently unwittingly, with Communists, and now faced rejection from entry to America merely as visitors to lecture or attend conferences or do research. By destroying those links with foreign learning and strengthening the hands of neutralists everywhere, the country was losing, with neutralists growing in Britain, France, Italy, Japan and India.

The 1938 Act, as it had been enforced by the Justice Department, had virtually placed a ban on the importation of Russian newspapers and many other Iron Curtain periodicals, making it difficult to learn what was taking place behind the Iron Curtain.

He indicates that his primary worry was that intellectuals would lose confidence in U.S. political leaders, resulting in the stability of society being in danger and political compromise no longer effective. He relates that the despair and desertion of the intellectuals in France during the second half of the 18th Century had spelled the doom of the ancien regime. The American intellectuals of the 1770's had parted company with imperial authority. The ineptness of the British Government during the 1920's and 1930's in resolving its domestic problems had driven most of the intellectuals into the Labor Party. He concludes that unless Washington learned from those experiences and cultivated not only men and women of learning in the country but also those of Europe and Asia, by opening the doors to scholars and ideas, neutralism at home and abroad would only increase. The country would fall, not as a result of subversion, but rather because of indifference, which was what neutralism really was.

The Congressional Quarterly continues its look at immigration, questioning whether, if present quotas for 85 other nations were abolished and the total number of immigrants allowed to enter the country each year were raised from 154,000 to 251,000, as proposed under the bill being sponsored by Senator Herbert Lehman and Representative Emanuel Celler, both of New York, there would be a disturbance of the "homogeneity" of the country, the latter concept being the justification for continuation of the discrimination inherent in the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act, according to a recent statement by its co-sponsor, Representative Francis Walter of Pennsylvania. The Quarterly had determined that opponents to the Lehman-Celler revision of the Act would likely stymie it during the current Congressional session.

In answering its question, it finds that clues from the recent past indicated that U.S. "homogeneity" was reasonably assured, barring a much greater increase in immigration than any presently being proposed. About 40 million immigrants had entered the U.S. since 1820, 34 million of whom were from Europe, five million from the Western Hemisphere and one million from Asia. During the same period of time, the total population had increased from ten to 163 million. Immigration had increased from 1820 onward, until it reached a peak in the decade between 1906 and 1915, when about 9.4 million immigrants had entered the country. At the point of the first quota law in 1921, immigration began to decrease, and in the decade between 1941 and 1950, barely one million immigrants were admitted to the country.

Those figures, however, were slightly deceptive, as many immigrants arrived in the country only to decide later that they wished to return to their country of origin. During the 40 years between 1911 and 1950, about 3.8 million aliens emigrated from the U.S., leaving net immigration for the period at 7.6 million. During the early 1930's, when the country was in the throes of the Depression, emigrants actually outnumbered immigrants by 100,000. The reduction in net immigration, coupled with the rapid increase in total U.S. population, had markedly affected the ratio of foreign-born in the country. In 1900, the total population was 76 million, of whom 10.3 million or 13.6 percent were foreign-born. At the point of the 1950 census, that total had climbed to 150 million, but the number of foreign-born remained the same as 50 years earlier, at 10.3 million, amounting then to only 6.8 percent of the total population. Deaths had apparently helped achieve the stability, despite some 15 million new immigrants during the interim having entered the country.

In North Carolina, where the 1950 census had shown a total population of 4,061,929, there were 16,134 foreign-born white and 30,200 native white of foreign or mixed parentage.

Overall in the country, the national origins of the foreign white population had shifted to some extent with the ebb and flow of immigration during the years. Most immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Great Britain and Sweden had arrived before 1900, while most of those from Italy, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Canada and Mexico had entered after 1900. In 1950, the leading country of origin for immigrants was Germany, with 4.7 million, followed closely by Italy, with 4.6 million. Other major countries of origin were Canada, with 3 million, Poland, with 2.8 million, Russia, with 2.5 million, and Ireland, with 2.4 million.

In fiscal 1954, the first full year after the 1952 law had taken effect, there were 208,000 immigrants admitted to the country, but only 94,000 under quotas. Mexico had led the number with 37,000, followed by Germany, at 33,000, Canada, 27,000, Britain, at 19,000, and Italy, at 15,000. The ethnic impact had to be judged in terms of a U.S. population growing at the rate of 2.5 million people per year.

A letter writer recalls when one of Charlotte's 12 barrooms had been located in the building presently occupied by a furniture company at Trade and College Streets, when a unit of the Fire Department was manned by blacks, housed on E. Trade Street, when the City Hall had a monster dragon atop, standing on the southeast corner of Fifth and Tryon Streets, and when horse-drawn streetcars and hacks were the only means of public transportation.

A letter from three housewives responds to a letter of March 12 from an anonymous person who had written from a jail cell, urging closure of all ABC stores in the city, finding it interesting, and inquiring whether there was anything they could do to protect the county from liquor "so that our daughters will be spared the fate of this girl." (They assume the writer was female, for unstated reasons. We assumed the writer to have been male, as most female prisoners do not use such terms as the "pen".)

The editors respond that there was no substitute for education.

A letter from the chairman of the Art Classes Committee of the Guild of Charlotte Artists expresses appreciation for the news coverage provided the Eliot O'Hara watercolor classes held at the Mint Museum in mid-March, indicates their pride that the classes were more successful than they had ever been, attracting many students from the area, as well as an impressive number from distant places.

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