The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 31, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page and inside page report that the implementing decision of the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education had been handed down this date, directing that public school segregation be ended as soon as feasible, that is "with all deliberate speed", taking local conditions into account. Chief Justice Earl Warren had delivered the unanimous decision, saying that the lower Federal courts could decide whether a prompt and reasonable start toward full compliance was being made by local school authorities, and that full compliance was anticipated as soon as practicable. The decision tended to side with the Southern states which had argued for no fixed deadline for desegregation and for taking into account local conditions. The NAACP had argued that the Court order desegregation by the following September or at the latest by September, 1956. The Administration had suggested that the Court follow a policy of "moderation with a degree of firmness." The cases directly before the Court had come from individual school districts in Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and from all of the schools of the District of Columbia. All of the cases were remanded to the Federal District Courts for further proceedings, with the exception of the Delaware case, which was remanded to the Supreme Court of Delaware from which it had come on certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. The broad principles would also apply to the 17 other states where segregation prevailed in the public schools, either by legal requirement or permissively. The opinion stated that the lower Federal courts should fashion and effectuate its decrees, "guided by equitable principles." It said that the "vitality of these constitutional principles cannot be allowed to yield simply because of disagreement with them." As with the opinion which had been originally released on May 17, 1954, the Court had gone to great lengths to prevent any possible leaks of the Court's decision. And, indeed, there was no advanced guesswork by the press as to what the Court would in fact do, whether it would side with the Southern states or the NAACP position, or take a middle stance in accord with that favored by the Administration. The decision had included newly confirmed Justice John Harlan, whose grandfather of the same name had been the lone dissenter in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, which had established the principle of separate but equal facilities passing muster under the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, the case and principle overruled by Brown a year earlier, holding public school segregation per se unconstitutional.

In Raleigh, it was reported that the General Assembly, which had adjourned the previous week, had enacted laws during the session as requested by Governor Luther Hodges, aimed at decentralizing the public school system and transferring powers previously exercised by the State Board of Education to the 100 county and 74 city school boards. The Governor had promised the Legislature that he would call it back into special session if the Court ruling was "extreme or abrupt and would tend to seriously disrupt our public school system." In so doing, he had made a deal with a legislator who agreed not to press for passage of a bill to amend the State Constitution to permit use of public finds to operate private schools in an effort to circumvent the Brown decision regarding public schools. The Legislature had also enacted a law terminating the continuation of contracts of school teachers and principals, placing their employment on a year-to-year basis instead, because of the prospective anticipation of the elimination of many black teachers in an integrated school system. Assistant Attorney General I. Beverly Lake had argued the case for North Carolina before the Supreme Court regarding its implementing decision, contending that an abrupt end to segregation could lead to riots in the streets. He was a visionary, make no mistake. In 1965, appointed to the State Supreme Court by Governor Dan K. Moore, was I. Beverly Lake.

In Charlotte, the Court's decision this date had met with a mild reaction among local school officials and others, with most believing it was about the only type of decision the Court could have made and that it would cause less controversy than if a definite deadline for desegregation had been ordered. Kelly Alexander, president of the NAACP chapter of North Carolina, said that it was too early to make a statement of future action, but stated that future court action could be in the offing if it appeared that communities over the state were dragging their feet on desegregation. Dr. Elmer Garinger, superintendent of the Charlotte City Schools, said that he believed it was fortunate that the Court did not impose a strict deadline, and by giving localities the time to work out their own problems, the decision ought enable the local school system to make necessary changes in a spirit of harmony.

Unfortunately, the infamous phrase, "with all deliberate speed", would be translated to "with all deliberate sloth" in many places throughout the South, including the Charlotte and Mecklenburg County schools, one of the last to have their desegregation plan finally approved in 1971. In the meantime had followed all of the hullabaloo surrounding Alabama Governor George Wallace's efforts to generate hatred and division in both North and South over "bussin'" of the little chil'ren, in one of the most despicable and divisive campaigns the country had ever seen for the presidency, in 1968, and again in 1972, the latter cut short by his attempted assassination in Laurel, Md.

The President said this date at his press conference that Communist China had implied that it had released the four imprisoned U.S. airmen in an effort to relax tensions in the Far East, but that the situation would need to be watched carefully, cautioning against any "hit-or-miss" conclusions regarding the intentions of Communist China. He said that he had nothing to reveal regarding the prospects for release of the other Americans, including 11 other airmen, held by the Chinese Communists. The four fliers had been released this date, after an announcement of their impending release the prior week. The President, tanned from a holiday weekend of golf, had also said that he did not like politics in what he called the derogatory sense of the word and added that the Presidency was fascinating when considered in the sense of striving for such things as world peace and minimization of the chances of war, that the opportunity to meet thousands of people also made it interesting, that some aspects of the Presidency were intriguing, while also fatiguing. When asked about the political game, he had begun with a facial grimace, stating that it meant many things to many people and that some regarded it with a derogatory connotation. He also said that shortly after being nominated in 1952 by the Republicans, he had written out the names of five or six younger men whom he admired, as a possible running mate, with then-Senator Richard Nixon having been among them, without stating why he had listed Mr. Nixon.

The President also said that the Salk polio vaccine of first and second grade students, being administered free of charge by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, ought be completed within 60 days, as enough supply would be available within the ensuing 30 days to do the job. After that job was complete, all remaining children between ages five and nine would be the object of the ensuing program, with the supply of the vaccine to the states for that program to be undertaken by the Federal Government.

In London, Prime Minister Anthony Eden's Government late this date proclaimed a state of emergency to deal with Britain's rail and dock strikes. It was announced that Parliament would reopen June 9, instead of June 14 as originally scheduled, to enable the Government to rush through emergency legislation to keep open the nation's lifelines. A royal proclamation by Queen Elizabeth II had issued this date declaring a state of emergency, to be released whenever Mr. Eden wished. The proclamation gave Mr. Eden widespread powers to deal with the strikes, which were slowly paralyzing the economic life of the nation. In keeping with longstanding tradition in Britain, the proclamation would be read to the citizens from the balcony of St. James Palace and from other places in London and other major cities. The strike of 70,000 railway engineers and firemen of the nationalized railroads entered its third day this date, with strike leaders asserting that they were determined to see it through.

In Detroit, the Ford Motor Co. promised this date to answer a challenge from the UAW to let 140,000 Ford workers decide whether they wanted the union's guaranteed annual wage or the company's plan for employees to share in Ford ownership and profits. Walter Reuther, president of the UAW, had proposed a binding secret vote among Ford workers on the question, as a means to avert a strike following the end of the current contract at midnight the following day. UAW reported the previous week that 96,500 workers had voted to strike to win a guaranteed annual wage and that only 3,800 had voted against a strike. Mr. Reuther had made the proposal the previous day and sent it with a letter to Henry Ford II, the Ford president.

In Dayton, O., a lone gunman had shot down seven persons, killing two, in two downtown banks before being shot himself by police. He apparently had no motive of robbery.

Whereas the National Safety Council had predicted that 360 persons would die in traffic accidents during the 78-hour Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Council had now revised its estimate to at least 375 persons, as the current figure stood at 364, one more than the all-time high set in 1952 for a three-day Memorial Day weekend. In addition, 125 persons had drowned during the holiday and 83 other accidental deaths had occurred, bringing the total to 572, just short of the record for a four-day Memorial Day weekend set in 1950. The previous year, 539 persons had died in accidents, 362 of whom had been in traffic accidents.

On the editorial page, "Heart & United Appeal: A Partnership" indicates that Charlotte's United Appeal liked to think of itself as a "big package" full of vital services to the people bound by a common humanity. But the directors of the North Carolina Heart Association had ruled that all local heart chapters had to drop out of United Fund or Community Chest organizations and stage their independent campaigns for contributions.

It indicates that the local chapter of the Heart Association had been an important part of the United Appeal package and belonged there. The chapter president did not want to end the association with the Appeal, having received through the Appeal $46,000 during each of the previous two years, while it actually raised only $34,000 during those two years.

It concludes that the best interest of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County would be served if the local heart chapter remained in the Appeal, and it hopes that its board of directors would decide to do that and could convince state headquarters of the soundness of that decision.

"The Price of Honor Has Gone Up" indicates that the decision of Communist China to release four of the U.S. fliers held on trumped-up espionage charges signified nothing more than a wish to gain from propaganda and diplomatic trickery what it could not achieve by threats and force. It was likely it would receive the praise of other nations for reducing tensions in the Far East, but those tensions had been created by China, the imprisonment of the 15 fliers, for instance, having been nothing less than "international gangsterism", their release not mitigating that crime.

Communist Chinese Premier Chou En-lai would portray himself as a man of peace and expect in return admission of Communist China to the U.N., concessions on Formosa or whatever other advantage he could extract from the "cruel hoax" involving the fliers and American civilians also imprisoned.

It laments the fact that the nation was bargaining for a few lives to save them and the many, and that the price of honor had gone up, which, it suggests, ought bring a sense of shame mixed with happiness that the airmen were being released.

"The Refugee Act: A False Image" tells of the U.S. regularly going through debates on whether to cut off foreign aid, which seemed unappreciated abroad, only finally to realize that doing so might make the U.S. even less popular. A major reason why U.S. prestige had waned abroad was that while the nation had been liberal with its money, it had appeared to be less willing to share something more precious, its institutions, land, and heritage, as harsh immigration restrictions had been applied by the Congress, despite both parties having pledged to liberalize them.

The small quotas for immigrants had not been filled while thousands of refugees from behind the Iron Curtain languished in filthy refugee camps all over Europe, meanwhile begging for admission to the U.S. The President proposed amendments to the Refugee Act of 1953, to assure admission of the small quotas which the Act had set. Because of bureaucratic red tape and harassing investigative requirements of entering immigrants, the Act was barely functioning. Under the statute, 209,000 refugees were to be admitted by the end of 1956, but only 21,360 had actually reached the country and only 3,313 of those were classified as refugees.

It urges that something had to be done to make the Act work and Congress ought amend it quickly. Many refugees who had risked their lives and those of their families to escape Communist tyranny were sitting in refugee camps rather than comply with the embarrassing requirements of the law. It reflected poorly on the image of the U.S., was not a true image, and ought be corrected.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "It Couldn't Happen Here!" tells of the New York Herald Tribune having reported that Canaan, Conn., had succeeded in luring an industry away from New York City through the efforts of an industrial development association, which had built a factory and found the company a labor pool, but then had made a mistake. A woman was vice-president of the firm, and a picture accompanying the Herald Tribune article had shown that she was nice looking, while she was standing beside the head of Canaan's industrial development association, as he sat in a barber's chair.

It wonders whether that could have occurred in the South, and indicates that of course it could not, as the men would not confer on the women such an important position, let alone have them standing for a picture while a man sat in a barber chair. It would be regarded as rank incivility and bad manners, and be "downright dastardly". "Besides, while the gentleman was sitting and being shorn, the lady might get away with something."

Drew Pearson indicates that the President's highway bill might pass the House, despite its defeat during the week in the Senate. A few Republican Senators had deserted the bill, causing its defeat. Former Speaker of the House Joseph Martin and former floor leader Charles Halleck of Indiana, however, planned to keep the House Republican membership in line and also expected to pick up some Democratic votes. In the Senate, some of those who had deserted the President had been re-elected because of his help, including Senator William Jenner of Indiana.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee had been amazed and curious regarding how the President picked some of his Federal judges. One of the latest was John Brown of Houston, who was appointed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As an attorney for a shipping line involved in the 1947 Texas City ship disaster, Mr. Brown had altered bills of lading to make a better case for the steamship company he represented, and when questioned in court, had admitted that he made the changes himself. The same Court of Appeals, to which he was now appointed, had issued an order expunging inflammatory language from the record which Mr. Brown and his associates had entered, accusing the Government of "cool, cynical mockery of safety and the preservation of life and limb", as well as other such comments. The Court had also ruled against Mr. Brown's client, holding that the Government had taken adequate precautions in loading and packing the nitrate which had set off the explosions. The appointment was why Senators were wondering what FBI investigations the White House ordered before picking judges. They also wondered who was behind the appointment to the Subversive Control Board of former Congressman John Wood, a former member of the Klan and whose law office had received a $1,000 fee for introducing a private bill.

Chiang Kai-shek had quietly withdrawn his troops from nine coastal islands around Quemoy and Matsu, while his troops still occupied seven islands, including the latter pair.

Mr. Pearson points out that Assistant Secretary of the Air Force David Smith, in charge of the Air Force reserve, had just received a promotion from a reserve Navy lieutenant to a reserve Air Force colonel, prompting Mr. Pearson to wonder if his position had anything to do with the promotion.

Joseph Alsop indicates that after having spent six months in Asia, it was somewhat bewildering then to return to Washington and see that the Asian crisis had been producing alarm in the U.S. until only a few weeks earlier, whereas at present, it was bad form even to mention Asia or to ask embarrassing questions about U.S. policy there. Meanwhile, the outlines of the crisis in Asia had not changed, even if the tempo had been altered slightly.

Apparently, the Administration was prepared to allow the Communists to take Quemoy and Matsu, but Chiang Kai-shek had told Admiral Arthur Radford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson, during their recent visit to Formosa, that he would fight for the offshore islands no matter what the U.S. did. If he did not mean what he said, and the islands were handed over without a fight to the Communists, the latter would be in a position then to move their air power into Fukien Province, where, eventually, they would be in a position to attack the Pescadores and Formosa, itself. The question would then arise whether the Administration was altering its defense policy to be ready to contest control of the air over the Formosa Strait against the very strong Communist Air Force. He concludes that those questions were enough to suggest the "phoniness" of the current complacency in Washington.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that despite a late-May flurry of party showdown votes in the Senate, House Democrats and Republicans held such votes about twice as often, with party-unity voting having declined sharply in the Senate during 1955, while partisan contests were more frequent in the House than for some time in the past. A majority of Democrats had opposed a majority of Republicans in the Senate on a dozen of the 41 roll call votes taken through May 25, whereas 49 percent of the Senate's 270 roll call votes during the previous Congress involved such disagreement. In the 82nd Congress, the two parties had opposed one another on more than 60 percent of the 331 roll call votes.

In the House, such votes had occurred in 19 of 34 roll calls through May 24, or 56 percent of the time, compared to 38 percent during the previous year and 45 percent throughout the 83rd Congress.

Observers who studied Congress had indicated that the reason for the disparity was that Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn had pressed harder than Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson for a Democratic record of opposition to key parts of the Administration's program. The Democrats had a better winning percentage on party-unity roll call votes in the House than in the Senate, having prevailed on 15 of 19 such votes in the House, where the Democrats held 232 seats to 203 for the Republicans, whereas in the Senate, where the Democrats held only a slight edge of 49 to 47 seats, the Democrats had lost on six of 11 such votes.

Four Senate Democrats and eight Republicans had supported their party all of the time, including Democrats Paul Douglas of Illinois, Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, Mike Mansfield of Montana, John Sparkman of Alabama, and Republicans Clifford Case of New Jersey, Norris Cotton of New Hampshire, Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa, William Knowland of California, Thomas Martin of Iowa, William Purtell of Connecticut, H. Alexander Smith of New Jersey, and Arthur Watkins of Utah.

Democratic Senators who had scored the highest in their percentage of votes which opposed that of their party had been Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, at 75 percent, Willis Robertson of Virginia, also at 75 percent, Allen Frear of Delaware and Spessard Holland of Florida, each at 58 percent. Senator William Langer of North Dakota had a 100 percent vote of opposition to his Republican Party on 12 roll call votes, with the next highest Republican score having been from Milton Young of North Dakota, at 75 percent. It also lists those statistics for the House.

Another piece, also from the Quarterly, indicates that Senator Kerr Scott of North Carolina had voted with his party 92 percent of the time on 12 party unity roll call votes through May 25. Senator Sam J. Ervin had voted with the Democrats only 75 percent of the time. Congressman Charles Jonas of Mecklenburg County, had voted with the Republicans 84 percent of the time on 19 party showdown roll calls. It also indicates that among those Senators who had been ill for most of the session thus far had been Senators John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Lyndon Johnson of Texas. There had also been three members of the House who had been absent because of either personal illness or family illness.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he was finishing up a particularly nasty bout with the common cold and figures that it must have been caused by bad ice cream or spinach. He suggests that he should have believed the doctor who had told him that one man's milk was another man's poison and that spinach "sometimes raises Cain with the nasal passages". He says he went right on hanging out in "milk parlors", eating loads of ice cream and chocolate bars, until he came down with a major cold. He concludes that henceforth he would switch to "Scotch, Welsh rarebit, late at night, and hot Indian curries, and plain-gin Martinis, these are the things to keep a man healthy, wealthy, and free of the nose-tissue trust. It all just goes to show that baby knows best, and you can't trust any adult who tells you cirrhosis of the liver comes from booze. We know where it comes from, don't we, Doc?"

As indicated previously, Mr. Ruark would die at a relatively young age in 1965, primarily from heavy drinking. Thus, it would appear that half of what he says in apparent jest was actually a reality which he followed and which followed him to an early grave. Thus, we would not recommend his diet. Better to hang out with your droogs and Popeye in the Korova milk bar with some fancy devotchkas, listening to all the latest warbles.

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