The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 9, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Moscow that the Soviet Union had informed the Western powers this date that it considered it to be unjustified for there to be any further delay in concluding an Austrian treaty of independence, expressing hope that the visit in Moscow on Monday of Austrian Chancellor Julius Raab would lead to "speedy conclusion" of that treaty. Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov called on the diplomatic representatives of the U.S., Britain and France and handed them identical notes expressing that Soviet sentiment. The prior Tuesday, the three Western powers had issued a joint declaration to the effect that they considered the Austrian treaty a matter for four-power consideration. More than 250 meetings of deputy foreign ministers and 15 top-level sessions of the foreign ministers had taken place over the previous decade to try to reach an agreement on the treaty.

Also in Moscow, the Soviet Council of Ministers this date called on the parliament to annul the treaties of friendship and alliance which Russia had signed with France and Britain during World War II, in retaliation for the British and French ratification of the Paris agreements to rearm West Germany as part of the Atlantic alliance. The Soviets had threatened to annul the treaties if the two Western powers ratified the agreements. Cancellation by the Supreme Soviet, the parliament, was a foregone conclusion. The Soviet Government claimed that the treaties were directed against Russia, indicating that after the war, the signatories to the French-Russian and British-Russian treaties had taken responsibility to prevent the rebirth of German militarism and agreed not to join any alliance directed against one of the contracting powers.

In Berlin, a Soviet youth who had defected to the West and had asked for political asylum the previous month was returned to his parents this date behind the Iron Curtain at his own request, according to U.S. officials. He was the teenage son of a Russian air force officer stationed just outside East Berlin and his defection to West Berlin on March 18 had started an international furor, with Mr. Molotov having charged that U.S. authorities were holding the youth against his will, demanding his return, while the U.S. denied that claim. The youth met with his parents on March 26 under supervision of U.S. officials in West Berlin and U.S. authorities said later that he had refused to return to East Germany at that time.

In Las Vegas, it was reported that an atomic device which evidently was small compared to others, had been detonated this date, but a bigger one scheduled for later in the day was postponed because of unfavorable wind conditions. The next test, according to the Atomic Energy Commission, would not be until the following Tuesday at the earliest. The shot this date was from atop a 300-foot tower at the Yucca Flat test site in the early morning hours, and was observed in Las Vegas, 75 miles away, as a bright white mass, fading into rich yellow, and as a quick flash in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Salt Lake City.

In Montgomery, Ala., Governor James Folson refused to call out the National Guard for the Birmingham area in the strife-ridden Southern Bell Telephone Co. strike, but ordered the State Highway Patrol reinforced in Birmingham. He appealed to striking workers and management alike to "maintain nonviolent and peaceful picketing." He said he would not use the state militia as a strike-breaking organization.

In Atlanta, redoubled efforts were being made to settle the 27-day strike, impacting nine Southeastern states. In three states, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina, strikers were subject to a court order restraining them from mass picketing after violence and disorder had become widespread. A blast, apparently from a dynamite charge, had damaged long distance lines in Chattanooga, Tenn., the previous night, and rifle shots near New Orleans had put 363 long distance lines out of order for several hours. Another cable had been cut in Miami, the 32nd act of the type since the strike had begun. In Raleigh, a non-striking worker told police that he was assaulted as he was leaving the telephone plant, the first reported violence in Raleigh. At Danville, Ky., an unruly crowd had hurled eggs and rocks as it milled in front of a phone company building.

In Buenos Aires, a bus careened out of control over a precipice in mountainous northwestern Argentina the previous day, killing 16 passengers and injuring 14 others aboard.

In Seattle, a 24-year old mother walked to the center of a 50-foot high ship canal bridge the previous day with her four-year old son and two-year old daughter and calmly threw the little girl, then the boy, over the edge and then plunged into the waters herself, ignoring the shouts of horrified passersby who had rushed to try to restrain her. Miraculously, all three had survived thanks to quick action by four young men who plunged into the canal after them. The woman said repeatedly that she "must have been dreaming", while police gave her and her children first aid. Later at the hospital, she told a policewoman that she had planned all day to do away with herself and the children, that she thought she had already ruined them and that there was nothing left but agony and misery for them in the future, and so death was better. She said she made the decision after a physician had told her that she needed psychiatric treatment. The husband of the woman and father of the two children offered little explanation, saying that she had been a good mother but that she had been crying a lot.

Christians in many lands this date observed with prayer the end of Lent and the beginning of the Easter vigil. Churches opened their doors for services commemorating the hours when Christ had lain in the tomb. Roman Catholic churches were decked with flowers as the 40-day Lenten period came to an end, and the purple shrouds which had covered the sacred images and altars during those penitential weeks were gone. In Rome, thousands of pilgrims and citizens gathered at St. Peter's Basilica for the Holy Saturday high mass, marking the end of Lent. The services included the blessing of the fire, celebrating the Resurrection, and of the holy water fonts, commemorating the ancient rites in which baptisms were performed on this day. The blessing of the fire was also observed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where Christ's body had been placed after it was taken from the Cross. Some 5,000 pilgrims, had entered the Arab section of Jerusalem. Thousands of Americans planned to attend sunrise services in churches, outdoor amphitheaters, on mountaintops and canyon rims, in parks and city squares throughout the nation.

Helen Parks of The News indicates that Freedom Park in Charlotte would be filled the next morning with a community-wide congregation attending the 28th annual sunrise service, chaired by Dr. Herbert Spaugh, who advised attendees to wear warm clothing as the grass would be wet with dew and the air chilly.

In Fredericksburg, Tex., the mothers of the English-German settlement would tell their children of the Easter bunny building fires in the surrounding hills, and the children would be able to see the blazes just as they had on each eve of Easter since 1847. The bonfires were more than a bedtime story to quiet children's fears, but were a symbol of a pact which the Indians and the early German colonists had made and maintained as a pledge of peace. Some of the men who lit the signal fires were from the fourth and fifth generations of the original settlers. Some of the residents still spoke both English and German, and many of their customs had been handed down from their German colonist ancestors. The Easter fires had become more than folklore, and were now part of reverent observance of Easter Sunday, the first fires having been lit 108 years earlier while leaders of the colonists had talked peace with Indian chiefs at the nearby headquarters on the San Saba River. At the time, those remaining in the Fredericksburg colony had been mostly women and children, but the Indians were suspicious and had encircled the camp with spies who signaled back and forth with fire and smoke. The children of one pioneer mother had become frightened at the winking fires and began crying, and she had soothed the children with the tale that the fires were lit by the Easter rabbit who was cooking eggs in great cauldrons and dyeing them with wildflowers which the little bunny rabbits had gathered in the hills. When the colony leaders returned after successfully drafting a peace treaty, they heard the story and some had said that it was an omen, and thus the colony vowed to light the Easter rabbit fires each year as long as the peace treaty was not broken, and so had lit them each Easter eve since that time.

On the editorial page, "The Easter Story" quotes the story from the Bible in John 20:1-17, regarding the Resurrection.

"The Question of Easter", by Dr. Herbert Spaugh, tells of Easter bringing people face-to-face with the most important dimensions of life, height and depth, that man differed from other creatures in that his natural posture for walking and working was upright, in spite of which, he continued to think in terms which were, to a large extent, horizontal, with many of his thoughts and actions on the animal level, sometimes reaching the barnyard level. He put off as long as possible thoughts which had to do with the perpendicular.

Jesus had urged the disciples to see the importance of height and depth, but they could not seem to get it. Even on the eve of the crucifixion, they had been squabbling as to who was the greatest among them and were unprepared for the death of Jesus, as well for the dramatic events which followed on the morning of Easter.

The devoted women who had followed Jesus, even more closely than the disciples had, also could not grasp what had happened, but they had accepted and faced it, and were first at the tomb, grasping the significance of what had happened when the stone had been rolled back and the body of Jesus was gone. He posits that women always seemed to have keen spiritual perception.

The resurrection on Easter morning had confirmed what Jesus had repeatedly said regarding being the resurrection and the life, and that those who believed in Jesus, though they were dead, would yet live, and those who lived would never die spiritually.

Dr. Spaugh says again that the challenge of Easter was to face life in terms of the perpendicular all the way from the depths of the grave to the height of Eternity. Jesus had gone the whole way and called on his followers to do the same.

Many would not get away from the horizontal even at Easter, where they would express it in new Easter frocks, parties, dances, rabbits and eggs, but one day they would. Easter asked, he counsels, why not at present rather than waiting until one stood by an open grave.

"Easter opened wide the door to Eternity—up or down. It faces each of us within an inescapable, intensely personal question—Which way am I going?"

"A Helping Hand for Those Who Help" indicates that the Salvation Army, in the course of the 51 years during which it had served Charlotte, had been the first to bring relief to many who had lost their homes to fire as well as to victims of other disasters. The previous Saturday, it had found itself in a unique position when its Belmont Center had burned down in an early morning fire. In typical form, Salvation Army workers stood by as firemen fought the blaze, serving them coffee and doughnuts. The Army's advisory board had announced during the week that it was consulting with the United Community Services on plans to meet the emergency created by the fire. The Army had cooperated in united giving since the establishment of the Community Chest and had been a participant in the United Community Services since that organization had succeeded the Chest.

It indicates that the Army's activities at the Belmont Center had represented an important part of its services to the city, including a broad program of social services for children and adults. It had been vastly increased in scope during the previous few years, to meet increasing demand, particularly in recreation facilities for young people. It concludes that in view of the Army's vital contribution, the community would respond willingly to whatever plan was agreed upon for replacement of the building and the facilities of the Belmont Center.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Southern Viewpoints", indicates that in Georgia, according to the Charlotte News, either outgoing Governor Herman Talmadge or new Governor Marvin Griffin had vowed to "champion the Southern viewpoint at all times". A visitor, according to the editorial, had asked the editor of The News whether he subscribed to the Southern viewpoint, stumping the editor, as he did not know what the Southern viewpoint was, as it could be the viewpoint of former South Carolina Governor James Byrnes, or author Lillian Smith, or Governor Talmadge, or Raleigh News & Observer editor Jonathan Daniels, or Senator Harry F. Byrd, or North Carolina playwright Paul Green, or former UNC president and former Senator Frank Porter Graham. Or, questioned the News, it might be somewhere in between those viewpoints, if there even was such a thing as a Southern viewpoint.

The piece indicates that in the Civil War, there had been Southern arithmetics for schoolchildren, but it does not know how well they had worked. It finds that the poet A. E. Housman had gotten at several Southern viewpoints when he said: "To think that two and two are four/ And neither five nor three/ The heart of man has long been sore,/ And long 'tis like to be." Some Southerners, it suggests, knew that two plus two were four, and were not worried about it, and usually made a good living, while other Southerners were convinced that they equaled five, and they had a good time as long as their money lasted, while still others believed that they amounted to three, the type prominent on budget commissions. A fourth type, it continues, consisted of those who knew very well that two plus two were four but they just could not stand the thought of it. "The South owes a lot of its progress to them."

As the original piece had also mentioned the viewpoint of Jack Cash as one of the competing Southern viewpoints, in keeping with the holiday, his take on Easter is always timely.

Drew Pearson tells of the off-the-record propaganda news conference being used increasingly by top officials of the Administration. Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Robert Carney, had stated at a press dinner that an attack would be aimed at the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu around April 15, and then White House press secretary James Hagerty stated at another that it was not so. Then, Admiral Carney told a Senate committee that he had never said that there was going to be such an attack. Finally, Robert Roth of the Philadelphia Bulletin produced stenographic notes showing that Admiral Carney had said exactly that which was attributed to him. It was confusing to the American public and made the U.S. appear as fools to its allies abroad.

What the public did not know was that another background press meeting had been held by the Justice Department recently, not as a dinner but as a luncheon, given by Assistant Attorney General Warren Earl Burger—future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by President Nixon in 1969, following the failed elevation, because of a Southern filibuster, of Justice Abe Fortas, nominated by President Johnson in 1968 to succeed retiring Chief Earl Warren, resulting in a changed dynamic of the Court which has continued since that time. Mr. Pearson ventures that Mr. Burger was supposed to be one of the top lawyers in the country or he would not have held the high office he did in the Justice Department. Nevertheless, the purpose of the luncheon was to do what the ABA frowned upon, seeking to influence the courts through the press. He was scheduled to argue before the Supreme Court on April 18 a famous security case, that of Professor John P. Peters, the top medical officer of Yale University, who been fired from his part-time, nonsensitive Government job in the Public Health Service after an unnamed, undercover Government witness claimed that the professor had Communist affiliations. And to sway public opinion in advance, Mr. Burger had invited 12 journalists to an off-the-record luncheon, upon arrival at which, they had been amazed to hear an attempt to use them to incite the public for the purpose of influencing the Court in the decision. Dr. Peters had never been allowed to face his accuser, based on that person's confidential informant status, and had sued on the ground that the proceeding violated his rights under due process to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him. Mr. Burger was set to argue the case because the Solicitor General, Simon Sobeloff, who normally argued Government positions before the Court, had refused to sign the Justice Department's brief. Mr. Burger had attempted to sell the position to the press that a wrong decision by the Court could wreck the Government's entire security program and that the Justice Department could function efficiently only if its informers remained undercover, that disclosure of their identities would wreck the security program. He said that the Administration would prefer to abolish its security hearings completely rather than identify secret witnesses. He had not explained why the secret witness against Dr. Peters, understood to be Louis Budenz, could not be named, as Mr. Budenz had been in the limelight in many public Congressional hearings. Mr. Burger attacked anyone, however, who criticized the Justice Department security program, labeling them Communist-inspired.

A journalist had asked Mr. Burger whether Harry Cain, a former Washington Senator and Eisenhower appointee on the Justice Department's subversive control board, was Communist-inspired, for he had been a vigorous critic of the security program under the Administration. Mr. Burger had replied that he would like to know who was feeding them their information.

Mr. Pearson concludes that as crude as he had been, Mr. Burger was not at risk of a contempt citation as he had used the technique of the background press conference, where the public official who wanted to get his views across was able to remain anonymous.

The effort to sway public opinion through the press apparently failed as the case would be reversed in June by the Supreme Court, albeit not on the asserted constitutional grounds for want of ability to confront and cross-examine witnesses, with Abe Fortas, incidentally, having participated in the briefing on behalf of Dr. Peters.

As much as we disagreed with the positions enunciated on many issues by Chief Justice Burger, he made eminently good sense in at least one area of jurisprudential wisdom—apart from obvious agreement with the order that the Nixon Administration, in derogation of its claim of "executive privilege", release the Watergate tapes subpoenaed by the special prosecutor—, the issue of interpretation of the Second Amendment, unfortunately, however, never having come before the Court during his tenure.

W. MacNeile Dixon, in The Human Situation, indicates that to believe life to be an irremediable disaster and that the heavens and earth an imbecility was hard, that since he was not prepared to believe that the world was a "misery-go-round, a torture-chamber, a furnace of senseless affliction", he preferred to put his trust in the larger vision of the poets, believing that they alone had understood. They owed their understanding, he posits, to an inextinguishable sympathy with humanity, not to science or philosophy, rather to their appreciation of the strange situation in which humans found themselves, with all of the forces of nature proclaiming an alien creed, that they nevertheless still clung to the passion for justice, trusted in the affections of the heart, loved the lovely, and struggled alone for the best, "however clumsy and mistaken he might be in his present estimates of what is indeed best."

A letter writer responds to the editorial of April 5 on modern poetry, finding it "the most independently intelligent short treatment of a literary subject" which he had ever read in a Charlotte newspaper. But he finds that Lewis Hacker of Columbia, whose piece had appeared on the same page, had sought "to climb up the wrong side of the horse". He finds that he was correct in chastising Washington for political intolerance to intellectualism, but was unwittingly criticizing the effect rather than the cause. He finds that most professional men, including those of medicine, law and the clergy, were also intolerant of intellectualism. He finds that Washington was not the "nursing mother" of intolerance to intellectualism, but that rather it was every town and city church and school all over the country, and that if intellectuals did not soon realize that fact and start "fertilizing the plant instead of pruning the trees", the result would be something worse than neutralism. He thus finds Mr. Hacker's stand admirable but inept in its approach. He suggests that talking to a young businessman, a young minister or high school or college student, and bringing up such issues as international politics, racial segregation, denominationalism, or other such topics, one would find oneself closer to intolerance of intellectualism than in Washington. Churches, high schools and newspapers were the best tools for tolerance, but, for the most part, they were being misused. He recommends to Mr. Hacker and everyone else among the intelligentsia that they should realize that one did not "straighten sticks that are no longer green."

A letter writer from Salisbury also comments on Mr. Hacker's piece, saying that he found it interesting but that the only people who truly understood intellectuals were other intellectuals, that the common people did not know what they were talking about and so had no reason not to be suspicious if they did not know what they were up to. He says Washington should have nothing to do with intellectuals, that "their rattle-brained schemes have caused too much trouble in this country already."

A letter writer responds to the same piece, asking, "When are those goony-birds going to come down out of the sky and live and act like the common people?" He finds that while they claimed to be persecuted, the common people were the ones who were persecuted. They would never understand the intellectuals and did not even understand themselves.

You sound slightly like a goony-bird. Who, by the way, are the "common people", the "everyday citizens"? Are they people who score below 100 on I.Q. tests? Who are they? Try to begin to define them and you will begin to see the fallacy of your viewpoint.

A letter writer indicates that it was a privilege of the people of Charlotte to express to the school board and school administrators their wishes about the type of education they wanted for their children and that those expressions would be interpreted accurately, that it was the duty of the school administrators to consider the good of the children and the wishes of their parents when forming school policies, that a person within the school system who failed to do what was best for the children had no value in public education. She finds that the controversy regarding the new type of report cards being used in the schools represented new evidence of the failure of the policy-making individuals in the school system to consider the wishes of the parents and the good of the children. She had talked with many teachers and parents and thus far all of them believed that a report based on a grade standard was the only reasonable kind of report card, that the present form had no meaning except that a child was enrolled in public schools. She urges the people of the city to examine their schools and express themselves.

Well, we don't like it and so we won't go to school tomorrow or any other day. What's the use if you can't get a letter grade? It's an anomic state of being of which we choose not to partake, else one wind up like the mother on the front page this date.

A letter writer responds to a piece in the April 4 edition regarding the new report cards, in which it was stated that 7,731 parents favored the new compromise report plan, while 1,065 had voted against it. He does not believe that captured the true picture. A mimeographed copy of the compromise form of report card, which combined the present progress report system assessing the individual student's progress in relation to his or her capabilities with the old system of comparative performance with other pupils, was sent to each parent having a child in grades one through six, along with the question whether they accepted the card. He believes that the procedure had given the parents no choice except between the present card, based on the progress of the child, and the new one, while no mention was made of a choice between that card and the old system of letter grades, which he feels most parents and children still favored. He indicates that the assistant City school superintendent had said at a PTA meeting the previous year that they should not expect a T-Model Ford to keep up with a Cadillac. He thinks they should not be in the same race and that they should divide the classes according to ability. Another point made was that there should be no comparative grades or competition, with which he disagrees, that if it was appropriate to have letter grades starting in junior high and upward, it was appropriate to have them in the primary grades as well. After the talk, parents were asked to make comments and they had overwhelmingly favored a return to the old system of grading, but that appeared to mean little to the assistant superintendent, who appeared determined to give a report card or progress report which they did not want. He indicates that Dr. George Crane had a column in the News of March 4, denouncing the progress report and advocating a return to the old system, stating that the new form was against American principles. (He had his wires crossed somewhere as to the latter attribution, as Dr. Crane, who, of course, was a nationally syndicated columnist, was writing of possible cures for baldness on March 4, not report cards. Perhaps, the writer was bald and had been subconsciously worried in his youth about getting an X-mark in hair care, that is "personal grooming".)

In our day, if you got a "progress report", you were up the proverbial creek without a way back except by becoming a gas-pumper, maybe, with or without hair.

A letter writer states that Easter brought precious memories back every year, memories of happy Easters when one was a child and hunted for eggs, while as an adult, thoughts went to the Saviour who had died on Calvary and had risen again. She urges that if one went to an Easter parade, thoughts should be directed to why Easter was celebrated, that no one knew when their last march in an Easter parade would occur. She indicates that now people hated one another and criticized others who were trying to help lost souls, but that she was glad Jesus knew who was prepared to meet Him. "No one can buy their way to Heaven. You get there by having your sins washed in the blood of the lamb. Everyone who is a church member knows if they are saved."

But did not Jesus chase the money-changers from the temple, and so what makes you think that being a church member has anything at all to do with it? You can attend regularly the most majestic looking church in the world, with spires beseeching mercy ever upward, deep into the celestial quadrant, and still be an unrepentant heathen.

A letter writer from Concord indicates that the aim of the National Shut-In Society was to provide cheer and comfort to chronic invalids who were members of the society, without regard to race, creed or color. Committees supplied wheelchairs to invalid members at a low rental and the helping-hand committees supplied the invalid with hot-water bags, rubber air cushions, stationery, etc. The library committee loaned books to members and the other committees were for birthdays, the blind and for writing correspondence. No shut-in member applied for money for the members of the society or attempted to urge upon another the particular belief of any sect or denomination. For dues of one dollar per year, each member received the monthly publication of the magazine, The Open Window. She provides an address to which to write in Concord to receive a membership application blank.

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