The Charlotte News

Monday, May 30, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the impending release of four U.S. airmen held by Communist China since the end of the Korean War, despite the Armistice of July, 1953 providing for the release of all war prisoners from both sides, had been announced this night by Peiping radio as monitored in Tokyo. Capt. Harold Fischer, Lt. Col. Edwin Heller, 1st Lt. Lyle Cameron, and 1st Lt. Roland Parks had been tried and sentenced to immediate deportation by a military tribunal convened on May 24, convicting them of flying their planes beyond Korea over Manchuria, the broadcast stating that because they had been acting under "orders of the U.S. military authorities", had admitted their crimes and expressed remorse, they were being treated with leniency. The State Department, which had denied that there had ever been an incursion of Chinese territory, said that their release was welcomed but that the Communist Chinese should also free the other 11 U.S. fliers being held under varying sentences for claimed espionage, as well as 41 American civilians. V. K. Krishna Menon of India, who conferred recently with the Communist Chinese, hinted that the other fliers might soon be freed, stating that their cases were constantly under review. He said that the release of the four airmen was designed to help ease the tensions in the Far East. Capt. Fischer had shot down ten enemy MIG-15s in the course of 66 missions during the Korean War, until being shot down on April 7, 1952 and captured on the Korean side of the border with Manchuria. Col. Heller had been shot down on January 23, 1953, three miles south of the Yalu River, separating Korea and Manchuria. Lt. Cameron had been shot down on October 26, 1952, having parachuted from his plane and landed 25 miles south of the Manchurian border, and Lt. Parks had been shot down on his 59th mission on September 4, 1952, the exact location not being provided by the story.

At the U.N. in New York, U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., paid tribute this date to U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, for having taken the initiative to seek the release of all of the American airmen in direct earlier negotiations with the Communist Chinese, Ambassador Lodge praising him for those efforts since a U.N. resolution had been passed the previous December, condemning the holding of the airmen as a violation of the Armistice of 1953.

This Memorial Day saw ceremonies throughout the nation, including the traditional laying of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, done by Vice-President Nixon. Most of the nation had clear weather for the holiday.

In Detroit, the UAW offered this date to put to a vote of Ford Motor Company workers throughout the nation the issue of whether they desired a guaranteed annual wage or would accept the company's recent offer to allow the workers to purchase Ford stock, called by company president Henry Ford II a "prosperity partnership plan". The vote would take place over the course of the ensuing two weeks and if the membership voted for the company's proposal, it would be incorporated into the new contract, but if they preferred the union's proposed guaranteed annual wage, then the company would have to contribute 12 cents per hour per employee to finance that plan. The contract would expire on Wednesday at midnight, but the union had proposed that if the company agreed to that voting procedure, it would be indefinitely extended to provide time for the vote. The previous day, the union had proposed to cut by more than ten percent the amount the company would be required to pay to laid-off employees each week under its proposed guaranteed annual wage. UAW president Walter Reuther accused the company of refusing to bargain in the "traditional give-and-take manner", stating that the union was ready to make concessions all along to avert a strike, provided Ford would bargain on the guaranteed annual wage.

In London, Britain faced its gravest industrial crisis since 1926 this date as 67,000 striking railway workers defied Prime Minister Anthony Eden's appeal to return to work, broadcast the previous day. The assistant general secretary of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, the striking union of the nationalized railroads, said that they could and would hold out for at least three months and were determined to see the strike through to the end. A member of the executive council of the union said that "the country will break before we break." Prime Minister Eden said that the Government would not hesitate to obtain any further power which might be necessary to protect the nation from the worst effects of the strike. It was the first railway strike since the general strike of 1926, and was aimed at demands for pay increases to provide more of a differential in pay between that of other railway workers. The railway stoppage had caused immediate chaos within the nation, as only 200 of 2,600 scheduled mainline trains had operated the previous day.

Thousands of North Carolina college graduates received their degrees this date in commencement ceremonies, with 300 degrees awarded at Wake Forest College, still located in the town of Wake Forest near Raleigh, and the commencement address provided by Gilbert Stevenson, a national authority on wills and trusts and a member of the College Board of Trustees, with the president of the College, Harold Tribble, also briefly speaking. At Davidson College near Charlotte, the featured commencement speaker was Dr. Wilson Martindale Compton, president of the Council for Financial Aid to Education, Inc., of New York, stating: "Education on learning how to think is an adventure not of the memory, but of the mind… Once achieved, it is never lost. Education teaches you to walk alone." He said that ideas were more powerful than guns and provided the test of war or peace. Those are thoughts worth keeping. It also synopsizes ceremonies held at Queens College of Charlotte, Lenoir Rhine College of Hickory, High Point College, and Guilford College near Greensboro.

In Fayette, Mo., the president of Central College, Dr. Ralph Woodward, presented bachelor of arts degrees to his wife and son in graduation ceremonies the previous day, his wife having entered nurses training at Washington University in St. Louis and becoming a registered nurse in 1931 before marrying Dr. Woodward in 1934, not having time to resume her college career until 1950, the year after her husband assumed the presidency of Central. Their son would enter the Marines for two years of service the following month.

Ann Sawyer of The News indicates that a public hearing would be held two weeks hence by the Mecklenburg County Commissioners regarding the Sunday sale of beer within the county, and that anyone who wanted to express their views on the subject could participate.

On the editorial page, "Sectionalism: North Carolina's Tragedy" finds that stubborn, pugnacious sectionalism had stood between the 1955 General Assembly and greatness, with the struggle between the eastern and western sections of the state over political power, tax favors and social progress having resulted in many measures being shelved or failing to pass. It finds that sectionalism, after more than 175 years, remained the final arbiter of North Carolina's political and economic fortunes.

It quotes from UNC's Collier Cobb in 1930, indicating that political questions in the state had always been questions between east and west, of the upcountry against the lowlands, of "crystalline schists and granites against the unconsolidated clays, sands and gravels." It finds that still to be true, that there were more acute sensibilities in North Carolina than in any other state in the South, including tripartite Tennessee.

It indicates that the early leadership of the state had naturally come from the coastal areas, site of the first settlements, while soon, pioneer families had ventured into the upper Cape Fear Valley and settled in the Piedmont, finally reaching the foothills by 1760, with power still remaining, however, in the planters, big landholders, wealthy merchants and leading professional men of the eastern part of the state, who wanted to maintain that power. Historian Hugh T. Lefler stated that by 1830, more than half of the state's population lived west of Raleigh, while most governors, counselors of state, judges and legislators still came from the eastern part of the state, explaining that whenever a new county was formed in the western section, one would also have to be formed in the east, enabling it to maintain its grip on power.

The people in the west complained bitterly, but under the 1776 state constitution, westerners could not obtain equitable representation in the Legislature and there was no way to change that constitution except by convention called by the Legislature, with the calling for such a convention nearly creating a revolution in the state. Eventually, the Legislature allowed the convention to be called in 1835, and provisions were adopted by popular vote to provide for reapportionment of representation in the Legislature, to abolish borough representation and for partial removal of religious qualifications for voting and office-holding. The requirement for a state senator that the person own 50 acres of land was retained, but all adult white male taxpayers were eligible to vote for governor and members of the Legislature's lower house. That, plus later constitutional reform, had allowed for political power in the western section of the state and resulted in a remarkable era of progress. But sectionalism had not been eliminated.

In 1861, the heaviest opposition to the calling of a secession convention had come from the western section, where land-holdings and slave-holdings were smaller than in the east. In 1900, the western section had demonstrated far less enthusiasm for disenfranchisement of black voters, and the sectional divide was also reflected in the 1908 prohibition vote.

The east had continued to dominate the Legislature through the years, and through block voting had been able to prevent redistricting and reapportionment of the membership on a decennial basis after each census. So, it had been possible in 1955 for the 197,000 people of Mecklenburg County, based on the 1950 census, to be represented by only one state senator, while the 105,000 people of Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Martin, Pamlico, Tyrrell and Washington Counties were represented by two senators.

The east returned legislators to the General Assembly with greater consistency than did the west and the east was therefore able to use its additional seniority to win a large share of important committee posts.

The 1955 fight over imposition of a tobacco tax to try to balance the budget was an example of the east's invincibility, as that proposal had been defeated despite the fact that tobacco, as a luxury, was the logical source of that needed revenue, the agricultural east having defeated the proposal. (WTSB, "Where Tobacco Sells Best"… We used to practice from our picture window looking across the front yard, shooting out the lights of the radio towers in the distance, oblivious to the fields in front of us and what they might have been growing over there, utilizing the while, of course, our forefinger as the smokeless weapon. We got good on the draw, from several miles away.)

It concludes that under leadership of a group of able and farsighted western legislators, the Assembly might have been able to draft sensible solutions for most of the major issues facing it in 1955, but the east had acted as if concession to western leadership would be an active political weakness and so had given little ground, with the 1955 Legislature therefore winding up with an unsatisfactory record of accomplishment. The money, productive activity and population had shifted to the west and the time had come for the eastern domination to end and for ancient rivalries to be forgotten, with the government transacted on more realistic, intelligent lines. It finds that there was no reason for any section of the state to dominate, that equity, fair play and majority rule were all that would be needed "to scrub the face of North Carolina's political democracy."

"The Future Grows out of the Past" quotes some lines from Longfellow—from a poem the inspiration for the opening and refrain of which he obviously derived from Scottzap—, suggesting that it might remind many of a time when Memorial Day was regarded as a Yankee device to honor soldiers who had died fighting for the Union against the Confederacy, as the day, originally known as Decoration Day, had been invented by the North, first observed officially in 1868 when a general order had been issued by the commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, designating May 30 "for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion."

It indicates that the first such occasion had been long ago, when bitterness had still been present in the hearts of Americans both in the North and the South, while at present, Memorial Day in North Carolina ought be a day to honor soldiers who had fallen in all wars, whether the soldier had spoken with a Southern drawl or a New England twang, whether he had fallen at Gettysburg or on Heartbreak Ridge in Korea. In the years since the Civil War, men from the North and men from the South, as well as every other region of the country, had fought side-by-side in wars, dispelling some of the earlier regional suspicions and hatreds.

Yet, influences, it finds, were still at work, stirring new rivalries and resentments because of the fierce economic competition between North and South, and the Supreme Court decision of a year earlier in Brown v. Board of Education, holding continued racial segregation in the public schools to be unconstitutional.

It concludes, however, that the ties which bound the country together were strong and that thoughts should be on those ties this Memorial Day. "We must look ahead as well as look back."

"Soft Shoe Routine in Belgrade" indicates that the way the Russians were romancing Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia, it would not be surprising if Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov showed up at the Big Four conference later in the summer with a violin in one hand and a bouquet in the other.

The Russian delegation, which included Premier Nikolai Bulganin and Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, in whom actual power was presently residing, had gone to Belgrade to discuss trade, but instead were seeking to reconcile with Tito and so took a solicitous attitude toward him.

It suggests that it was no wonder that Tito had stood silent after having been called for five years, since Yugoslavia's break with Moscow, a Judas, murderer, fascist, beast, spy, imperialist agent and other such names. Premier Bulganin, who now called him "dear comrade", had once called him Judas.

It indicates that the change of attitude had come about after the elimination in late 1953 by summary execution following a trial for treason of L. P. Beria, head of the secret police under Stalin, who had been telling tales about Tito. It concludes that while dead men told no tales, live ones, such as Premier Bulganin, "a true Casanova", could tell some whoppers, as he was presently doing.

The Russians had actually done quite a bit more than merely telling tales about Tito and terminating Yugoslavia's membership in the Cominform, having sought on more than one occasion to have Tito assassinated, as reported at the time, after his break from Moscow.

Drew Pearson indicates that Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico was looking old and tired nearing the end of a long debate on fair labor standards for the new highway bill, having fought all of his career for those standards, and, as chairman of the Public Works Committee, having battled to insert the fair labor Bacon-Davis Act provision into the highway bill, which would provide that contractors could not enter an area and reduce wages below those prevailing for that area. Senator Chavez had gone to Senator Richard Neuberger of Oregon, saying that he hated to remove the provision, but that they would have to do so to obtain passage of the highway bill. The Senate had debated the provision during an unusual morning session, with Senator Walter George of Georgia presiding, an opponent of the fair labor clause and so staying in the chair of the presiding officer for more than the usual few minutes, remaining all morning to preside over potentially close rulings. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson of Texas, friendly to labor, allotted time to the opponents of the clause, while Minority Leader William Knowland of California allotted time to the supporters of the clause, with Mr. Pearson noting that it was the Democrats who called themselves the champions of the workingman.

The Senators had refused to go on record publicly, holding only a voice vote. Twice, Senators Neuberger, Paul Douglas of Illinois and Pat McNamara of Michigan had asked for a roll call vote, which required 15 Senators' assent. Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee, the author of the highway bill which finally passed, had whispered to colleagues that they should oppose a roll call as he feared that if the fair labor clause were left in, the bill would be defeated, with Democratic Senators George and Spessard Holland of Florida, as well as others, planning to vote no on the bill with the clause included. Thus, there was an insufficient vote for a roll call, though former Vice-President and now Senator from Kentucky, Alben Barkley, as well as Senators Herbert Lehman of New York, Matt Neely of West Virginia, Warren Magnuson of Washington, Wayne Morse of Oregon, Mike Mansfield of Montana, Mike Monroney of Oklahoma and Thomas Kuchel of California, the latter a Republican, were not afraid to vote for a roll call.

Without the roll call vote, the fair labor clause was voted down. Senator Knowland was quite pleased with the outcome, after Senators McNamara and Neuberger had battled fellow Democrats, Senators Holland and Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, against elimination of the provision. Senator McNamara had remarked after the vote that the victories in the Senate midterm races by himself and Senator Neuberger had given control of the Senate to the Democrats by virtue of winning on liberal issues, putting in power, however, Democrats in the Senate "who will spend their last strength fighting those same principles."

Mr. Pearson notes that the Bacon-Davis Act provision presently applied to airfield construction and hospital construction when built with Federal funds.

Marquis Childs, in London, indicates that if one thing clearly emerged in the aftermath of the Conservative victory the prior Thursday in the general election in Britain, it had been the nature of the dead end to which the Labor Party had come. During their six years in office, between 1945 and 1951, the Socialists had nationalized several industries, from which had come consequences which had been politically damaging. The Labor Government, after nationalizing the coal mines and railways, had become one of the largest employers of labor in the country, but the unions had realized quickly that the Government was almost as stern as an employer as were the private owners before them. The result had been growing disaffection among labor, until about a fourth of the 8 million trade unionists in the country voted in 1951 for the Conservatives, believed to be the highest trade union vote for that party to that time. But the proportion was believed to have been even larger in the current election.

Both in the Labor Party and in the trade unions, there was an entrenched bureaucracy which had demonstrated an unyielding rigidity, with party leaders repeating old doctrines and dogmas but without the fervor of the past. The drop in vote among the entire populace from about 80 percent in 1951 to 76 percent in 1955 was attributed to the indifference of large numbers of people who, in the past, had voted for Labor. Mr. Childs suggests that what was remarkable was that so many followers of Labor had remained faithful.

He observes that the present prosperity in Britain had worked a transformation, with a great increase in the number of those who considered themselves middle-class, though neither party really represented that new economic group of people, as the Conservatives had a traditional upper-class association, while Laborites advertised their working-class identification. During the campaign, the Conservatives had offered the fact of a rising living standard, fewer restrictions and the hope of peace, while Labor could offer little which was new or positive, appearing to offer to do more of the same, only better. He suggests that Labor might have proposed a complete overhaul of the National Health Service, overburdened with bureaucratic red tape, but instead had proposed only to abolish some of the minor charges which the Conservatives had placed on certain services provided under the system. They might have also proposed constructive changes for the nationalized industries, but they had not.

The Labor Party, founded in 1900, was being criticized and its future questioned, as Labor correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, Mark Arnold-Foster, had questioned whether the Party would survive the 20th Century. (It will, despite the efforts of the Aussie Foxes to destroy it, as well to take down anything smacking of liberalism in the U.S., convincing the boobs that the rich people have all the answers for them, if only they will submit and give up most of their freedom of expression, while arming themselves to the teeth for some imagined revolution against the gov'ment, which, in any form except that which is strictly conservative, is inherently evil, of course.) Mr. Arnold-Foster had said that Labor would have to abandon the notion that it represented a class and forget the theory that the rich were still rich enough to be soaked effectively and to the lasting benefit of everyone else, realizing that a party which represented the underdog and no one else could no longer hope for a majority, as there were no longer enough underdogs.

Mr. Childs observes that whether a new and reinvigorated leadership could develop a new approach and heal the conflict was a serious question, the answer to which would determine the viability going forward of a two-party system in Britain. Former Prime Minister and Labor leader Clement Attlee, along with Herbert Morrison, had been the last of a generation who were all but gone, while many of the vigorous younger men had opposed the left wing of Aneurin Bevan, who favored an increasing trend toward socialism and departure from the leadership of the U.S. in foreign policy. He indicates that what would happen to Labor, which, in a healthy democracy, ought be able within 2 to 3 years to offer a strong alternative to the Conservative Government, was to say the least, uncertain, as the old dogmas were stale and outworn and no one had yet begun to think of a new direction.

The next Labor Government, that of Prime Minister Harold Wilson, would come to power during the reign of the Beatles, between October, 1964 and June, 1970, followed for four years by the Conservative Taxman, Edward Heath, and then another five years of Labor, first under Mr. Wilson for two years, then three years under James Callaghan, before Margaret Thatcher again led the Conservatives to victory in 1979. The Beatles had long gone their separate ways, forsaking their country for the world stage and America in its time of great need, as the pound sterling suffered to the point of near ruin and automobile companies, which had helped Britain emerge from its postwar economic miseries, again drooped and suffered from low quality of production by workers and engineers obviously bored with the whole situation, not unlike their counterparts in America, enabling the Germans and Japanese to corner the market for awhile. But we digress a bit.

Stewart Alsop indicates that with a determined but not very expensive effort, it ought be possible to launch an artificial satellite into space by about May of the following year, at least according to the contentions of leading technicians in the field of missile research, who had submitted to the Pentagon plans for launching such a heavenly body within a year. Until recently, it had been thought that it would take at least two years to launch such a satellite into space, but breakthroughs in missile technology had made it possible to think realistically of doing so within a year, according to the qualified technicians.

If the Pentagon were to approve the project, the satellite to be launched into space would only be about 9 inches in diameter, of the simplest and lightest possible construction, and to save weight and bulk, would contain no instruments of any kind other than a radar-response device to permit it to be tracked during its course of orbit.

The purists insisted that it would not be a true earth satellite but rather an "orbital vehicle", and they were correct in the sense that such an object would not remain forever in space, such as the moon. It would instead spiral gradually back to earth after some weeks or months of orbit, disintegrating upon reaching the denser atmosphere close to earth. But it would be a forerunner of satellites with military value in reconnaissance, missile guidance, and other fields.

It did not require much imagination to foresee the impression which a successful Soviet satellite launching would make on the world, suggesting in that event that the Soviet military technicians had gained a commanding lead over their American counterparts in the race for the ultimate weapon.

Despite prodigious but repeatedly failed efforts by the Americans led by postwar coopted German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, Sputnik I and II, the second within a month of the first with Laika aboard, would be launched to great worldwide attention and acclaim, passing overhead in the night to eager eyes of young children and adults alike, in early October and early November, 1957, respectively, followed quickly by the U.S. with its first satellite in orbit, Explorer I, in early 1958, but without so much notice, not so stimulating to American imaginations or the bubblegum industry as the Russian effort to that point, starting the space race as an intended peaceful replacement for the arms race, while also keeping that latter race going technologically with evermore far-reaching missile technology, only awaiting replacement of the nosecone or capsule with a nuclear warhead to convert the dog-sniffing monkeyshines into eradication of civilization.

A letter from a married couple indicates that the orthopedic class at Marie G. Davis School had been a pleasure for their son, enabling him to continue his education, which he otherwise would not have because of being a victim of polio. They express their appreciation to H. Jay Hickes, supervisor of special education, for being especially helpful and inspiring to their son, who had learned to type and conducted a radio school program over the intercom system at the school, improving his speech considerably through the constant use of a sound scriber. He had gained experience through class field trips and thanks the supervisor and others at the school for helping their son and other physically handicapped children to obtain their much-needed education.

A letter from J. R. Cherry, Jr., comments on the editorial of May 17, "Segregation Decision: One Year Later", finding it to be "another shot at an appeal for about 60 million Southern Americans to knuckle to the dictate of the Supreme Court." He wonders how the editors could write of "democratic procedures and traditions" adhered to by the Southern people, when the essence of the editorial struck at "vital ones and condones the action of a branch of government which has done the same thing". He wants to know whether they believed that "millions should bow to the sociological whim and fancy of nine men and, in so doing," call that despotism "democratic". And he goes on in his usual diatribe against everything which he regards as liberal and "socialistic", concluding that "this whole nasty business is basically just another Communist inspired trick, carried to somewhat of a conclusion by a mandated group of fanatical professional agitators within the Negro race primarily, and disgracefully 'bitten on' by the judicial arm of the federal government."

A letter writer comments on the editorial of May 24, "Segregation: The Long Chain Reaction", regarding the vote of the Board of Trustees of UNC to deny admission to black applicants for undergraduate study to any of the three branches of the Consolidated University, the writer saying, "Thank God for the University trustees!" He thinks that the "Carpet Bagger mentality of those who invaded the South in the 1870's", as shown by the editorial, had no place in the South at present and finds it amazing that there was still a personality of that type in their midst. "Surely southern Charlotteans in particular and North Carolinians in general must be shocked beyond expression to hear a voice from the heart of Dixie, in a position to be heard and quoted throughout the Negrophile press, deriding and condemning one of the most inviolate and 'firmly established principles' in Southern life, and one that has been proven by 150 years of practice as the best method of easing racial tensions." He wonders whether the Supreme Court justices were the masters of the people, indicates that the people could "muster a 'stern gaze' which might even cause the author of your editorial to cringe a little." He refers to an incidental statement from the editorial: "Many other areas of human activity [beyond public school grades 1 through 12] will likewise feel the court's stern gaze."

While by the early fall, a special three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court would overturn the Board of Trustees decision and allow admission of black applicants to the undergraduate programs, based on the decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the letter writer's prediction of a "stern gaze" would, indeed, manifest itself about three weeks before that decision, down in Money, Mississippi, the gaze coming from a family of ignorant, white trash, coalescing in rage against a 14-year old boy visiting his cousins for the summer from Chicago, transacted ultimately with impunity, eventually spawning the Montgomery bus boycott the following December and giving national prominence to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., in the process. Unintended irony by such Southerners as the letter writer and his predicted "stern gazers" tends, through the country's history, to be a hallmark of the haters who deny reality and choose to live in that never-neverland of obscurantism, "the idealization of the Old South as a country full of dueling gentlemen and ladies in farthingales…, the tendency to unreality which is summed up in this attitude extended to all fields of thought and so had the greatest consequences," as W. J. Cash had stated in his June 2, 1941 commencement address at the University of Texas, which had turned out to be his last public statement on the South, his last, we believe, because of those "stern gazers", not because of his own hand, the latter actually a very dangerous, and baseless, conclusion to reach, as having the effect of excusing the ultimate act of the worst "stern gazers" known to modern man, just as that jury in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, would engage in nullification with respect to the Bryant brothers who would brutally kill Emmett Till on August 28, 1955 for having dared wolf-whistle and been "sassy" toward the wife of one of the brothers.

A letter from the chairman of the Youth Appreciation Day, on behalf of the Charlotte Association of Civic Clubs, thanks the newspaper for its publicity and support regarding the May 22 celebration honoring youth in the community.

A letter writer expresses appreciation for the publicity for the Women's Auxiliary to the Mecklenburg Bar Association for contributing to the success of their first year of organization.

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