The Charlotte News

Friday, July 15, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President was leaving Washington this night for Geneva for the Big Four summit conference, set to begin three days hence. He would provide to the nation an informal address at 7:15 p.m., lasting 15 minutes, covering the problems to be discussed at the conference and his views regarding steps toward their solution, with all four television networks carrying the extemporaneous talk from the White House, along with ABC and CBS radio, with NBC and the Mutual Broadcasting System broadcasting the radio version later. An hour after he concluded the talk, he would take off from National Airport aboard his personal plane, Columbine III, to be accompanied by First Lady Mamie Eisenhower and their son, Maj. John Eisenhower, who would serve as an aide to his father during the trip. They would arrive in Geneva the following evening, after a refueling stop in Iceland.

In Columbia, S.C., a special three-judge Federal District Court panel this date was asked by the attorney for the Summerton School District trustees in Clarendon County to continue segregation of pupils for the coming school year. The Clarendon County case was one of those subsumed under Brown v. Board of Education, the implementing decision of the prior May 31 having determined that the schools should desegregate "with all deliberate speed". The attorney for the School District said that the trustees had arranged for a "comprehensive survey" of the question of reorganizing the district schools on "a racially nondiscriminatory basis." He said that the trustees would enlist the help of the departments of education and sociology of the University of South Carolina in conducting that survey, as the trustees believed they did not have the sufficient knowledge and experience to reorganize on a non-discriminatory basis at the present time, that to do so presently would cause them to face "every obstacle and problem" which could arise from integration. The ratio of black to white pupils in the district was 10 to 1, representing one extreme of what the Supreme Court had said might be faced in some localities, with the necessity of assigning white pupils to what would ordinarily be all-black schools. The attorney said that it would represent an abrupt departure from community habit and custom and so asked the court to exercise "equitable discretion" in the matter. He said that some of the problems facing the trustees involved state laws affecting teacher salaries because the assignment of teachers was based on enrollment figures, according to race. The court had granted a petition by future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, general counsel of the NAACP, to admit as plaintiffs in the case 187 additional Summerton black pupils and their 68 parents or guardians, which was accepted without objection from the trustees. The small Federal courtroom was jammed for the hearing, including Eugene Cook, the Attorney General for Georgia, I. Beverly Lake, the Assistant Attorney General for North Carolina, Henry Wickham, Assistant Attorney General for Virginia, and John Reily, attorney for the Prince Edward County schools, another of the five principal cases subsumed under Brown.

In Raleigh, Richard Scales of Greensboro was executed this date in the gas chamber for a brutal murder of a Greensboro housewife the previous January 19. Mr. Scales, 29, showed no emotion as he was seated in the large chair and the mask and belts were adjusted around him. He had raised his hand in a gesture of farewell to the 29 witnesses assembled behind the glass partition, many of whom were officers from the Greensboro area. He was the first black man executed in the state since November 6, 1953. He was convicted of killing a mother of four children, and the State Supreme Court had refused to grant him a new trial on appeal. He had also allegedly killed the woman's daughter, but was not tried for that offense. The warden of Central Prison said that Mr. Scales had told him the previous night that he was ready to go and had "made his heart right with God." A white prisoner had written some farewell letters for him the previous day, addressed to his mother, wife and family. About two minutes after he had entered the gas chamber, the cyanide pellets beneath the chair had been released into a container of acid, and the fumes had risen, causing him to breathe heavily for about a minute until he ceased breathing. He had been employed as a garage worker at the time of the killings, and had been sent to the neighborhood of the woman's home to pull a car from a ditch on a snowy day, had entered the victim's home on the pretext of using her telephone, then made advances toward her, whereupon she had retreated to the kitchen and had grabbed a butcher knife, at which point Mr. Scales had wrested the knife from her and stabbed her 15 to 20 times as she struggled.

In Charlotte, local ABC officials refused comment on whether South Carolina liquor tax officers were operating in Charlotte this date, as had been reported. Recently, South Carolina had increased its enforcement against importation of North Carolina-bought liquor into South Carolina, without South Carolina tax stamps.

Emery Wister of The News indicates that corn whiskey was moving into the ABC stores of Mecklenburg County, as trucks were completing their deliveries. In Winston-Salem, where the idea of selling corn whiskey legally through the ABC system had originated, the supply had already sold out, with buyers snatching up 100 cases of the stuff. The chairman of the Winston-Salem ABC Board said that sales had been the heaviest in the two stores in the black districts of the city. He said that he had asked a distillery company of Louisville to bottle a brand of raw corn whiskey in an effort to compete with bootleggers who brought their wares from the hill country to the city, principally from Wilkes County. He said that they had a problem in Winston-Salem, that they had people who did not drink anything other than white corn liquor, that they had been selling regular corn whiskey for some time but that lots of people would not buy it because it had a tint to it. So the distillers were asked to provide a raw, colorless, unaged whiskey, with the distiller then having produced White Lightning which was clear and guaranteed to be less than 30 days old. He said it was an experiment and they expected to pick up business they had not had before. Why not sell them turpentine while you're at it?

Dick Young of The News indicates that the first supply of Salk polio vaccine manufactured under the new Government procedures had been delivered at the City Health Department this date, consisting of 40,956 doses, which would be distributed among 17 North Carolina counties. The local Health Department was the distributing center for the vaccine. The representatives of the health departments of those counties had to come to Charlotte to obtain the vaccine. The vaccine was provided by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was distributing for free vaccines to the most vulnerable group, first and second-graders. A decision locally on whether to resume the program of vaccination would be reached at a meeting of the City-County Health Board the following Monday afternoon, and, if resumed, only those first and second-grade children of the city would continue receiving their shots.

Mr. Young also reports that Mecklenburg's assessed property valuation of $2,346 per capita stood fourth among the seven larger counties of the state, as provided by a report titled, "A Study of Seven Large Counties and Seven Large Cities", prepared by John Alexander McMahon, assistant director of the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill. A copy of the report had just been received by the City Treasurer, who had worked out the rankings among the cities and counties. Forsyth County, with a per capita valuation of $3,079, topped the list, followed by Durham County and and Guilford. New Hanover followed Mecklenburg, followed by Wake County and Buncombe County. Mecklenburg ranked third in the amount of its tax rate, which had been 91 cents the previous year. Buncombe had been first in the total tax rate, at $1.78, followed by New Hanover, Mecklenburg, Wake, Durham, Forsyth and Guilford. In tax revenue per capita, Mecklenburg was also third at $20.47, with Forsyth having ranked first, at $21.15, followed by Durham, Mecklenburg, Buncombe, Guilford, New Hanover and Wake. Wake was first in ABC profits, representing 15 percent of its local revenues, followed by New Hanover, Buncombe, Durham, Forsyth and Guilford. Mecklenburg's per capita ABC profits of $3.36 ranked first.

Donald MacDonald of The News indicates that a "slip up" which had allowed an official memorandum to go to City Manager Henry Yancey's office, stating that the police officer who had been hired, then fired, after it had come to light that he had been convicted of an assault in the recent Southern Bell Telephone Co. strike, had no police record, was the result of there having not been any arrest record made. He had been charged in April with an assault with a deadly weapon during a strike incident in Charlotte, and had come to City Police headquarters voluntarily when he had learned that a warrant had been signed against him. He had immediately posted a $100 bond and was never taken into custody, and so since there had not been a formal arrest, no arrest record was filed. The assistant police chief said that it would only occur one time in 10,000 and had just been an oversight.

Erwin Potts of The News indicates that the previous night, he had seen people as the taxi driver saw them, having ridden with a Yellow Cab driver into the late hours of the night, watching people file in and out of the back seat of the cab, rich and poor, white and black. Most of them had stories to tell and talked freely with the amiable driver. The driver said that they hauled "all kinds", "gangsters, millionaires, movie stars, ambassadors, anyone." He had been driving a cab for five years, had previously driven a tractor-trailer truck on long trips, but one of his buddies had gotten burned up in an accident and his wife had asked him to quit. The first passenger, a successful looking, middle-aged gentleman, had paid the fare for the trip from the airport to the city, his first trip to Charlotte's new terminal, with which he had been greatly impressed, the cab driver saying that they received a lot of comments from people visiting the airport for the first time, with people indicating they liked it. The next passenger was an out-of-town bus driver who wanted to ride through the rainy night from the bus garage to a local hotel, saying that he had just skidded in from Raleigh on a very slick road. That sounds like it may have been some kind of a code to the driver, asking for one of those hotels, where the sign in the lobby reads, "Slippery when wet."

On the editorial page, "A New Voice for the Extremists" indicates that State Assistant Attorney General I. Beverly Lake had at first appeared to have joined the legal staff of the State of Georgia, where the continued existence of the public school system hung in the balance, when a news story had developed that he was expounding his own position and not that of the state, in advocating abandonment of the public schools in the face of the Brown v. Board of Education implementing decision of the prior May 31.

It indicates that the wide difference between the position of Mr. Lake and that of Governor Luther Hodges and the Governor's advisory committee on the schools needed to be clearly understood, that the primary goal set by the Governor and the committee was to find a way to preserve the public schools in light of the decision, whereas Mr. Lake said that the Court "has placed in the hands of the Negroes the power to force the closing of our public schools", and called for the formation of a system of private schools in response. He was, like the State of Georgia, "in a fight with a phantom", seeking to abolish the public schools before they learned what accommodations for local conditions would be made by the lower Federal courts in particular cases. It finds that they were rejecting the spirit, as well as the letter of the law, and in that rejection, were nourishing "the seed of extremism already planted in the demand for immediate integration" by the NAACP.

Georgia had gone further than merely legislating the close of its white public schools and institutions of higher learning, as during the week, its Board of Education had voted to revoke for life the license of any school teacher who instructed both black and white pupils in the same classroom. It indicates that any other effect beyond propaganda was hard to discern from that action, since there could not be any non-segregated classrooms in schools which did not exist, but it finds it illustrative of the harsh strictures on individuals which flowed from defiance of the law.

It concludes that the course of Governor Hodges and his advisory committee was admittedly a difficult one, because it required great wisdom, patience, understanding and flexibility, but the public school system was possessed of those same qualities from the old poverty of the South, "and surely to conserve the region can renew the qualities it used to build."

"Who Promoted Miles Standish?" indicates that just as the President and former Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens had sought to explain in 1954, the Army had bungled the case of Maj. Irving Peress, the Army Reserve dentist who had been promoted from captain and then honorably discharged after Senator McCarthy had contended that he was sympathetic to Communism. General inefficiency, errors of judgment and Pentagon red tape had, according to the report of the Senate Investigations subcommittee released the previous day, led to the snafu which had led to the Army-McCarthy hearings during the spring of 1954. Nothing in the report substantiated the charges of Senator McCarthy that some "silent Communist mastermind" in the Pentagon had been involved in the promotion and discharge of the dentist. The report stated that Army delays in handling the case had "served to unduly arouse and increase suspicions of the public as to possible Communist influences and thereby was a disservice, to the Army as a whole, to the subcommittee, to the Congress, and to the general public." Senator McCarthy, himself, had signed the report.

It finds that Senator McCarthy had taken advantage of the Army fumbling to make full use of his "bully boy's sneer and smear techniques" to cast suspicion on the military establishment by asking who had promoted the dentist, seeking to persuade many Americans of the presence of Communists in the higher echelons of the Army. In fact, the Army had discovered the dentist and had started his discharge process long before Senator McCarthy had become aware of the situation. The Army long earlier had taken steps to correct certain procedures which had contributed to the matter, and any other necessary adjustments in Army red tape and policies ought be made, it urges, without delay, as the report had also urged.

Meanwhile, it was to be hoped that Senator McCarthy would make no more insinuations about the loyalty of the military establishment, that if he had to investigate things, he should look into some of the alarming questions raised by a Mr. Spivey of Winnsboro, Tex., who, in a recent impassioned plea for the release and publication of the Mayflower Compact, had asked who had promoted Miles Standish to the rank of captain and whether he was honorably discharged, whether the anti-segregation ruling had been violated when the pilgrims had failed to wigwam with the Indians, whether Chief Massasoit had the peace pipe loaded with marijuana when Captain John Smith had given him sweeping concessions in Virginia, and whether Pocahontas wanted John Alden to enter the war against the Indians.

It concludes: "There, that ought to keep him busy for awhile."

"All ABC Needs Is Another Motto" indicates that the ABC authorities in the state had now decided to follow the old dictum, that if they could not beat 'em, they would join 'em, by selling corn whiskey legally in ABC stores across the state. The last major attempt to stop bootlegging had been to tax illegal moonshine, but ABC had wondered how it would enforce that law when it could not catch the bootleggers, causing the State House not to pass that bill.

The sales of the legal corn liquor were reported brisk, with the first stock in Greensboro having sold out within three hours. It indicates that instead of promoting his product as containing molded cornpone and selected dead opossums and thereby taking more business away from the bootlegger, a Greensboro ABC official had said that the legal corn whiskey tasted so bad and was aged so little that sales would drop off eventually. It wishes that he would have been more cautious with such talk, as he did not know about the tongue which would taste nothing but raw whiskey, that talk of aging and sanitation could do nothing but bring the bootlegger back.

It advises adding another motto for ABC entering the raw corn business, "Let the buyer beware!"

A piece from the Baltimore Evening Sun, titled "Fakery Unlimited", indicates that in Paris, a variety of works, ranging from paintings to postage stamps, which at one time or another had enjoyed the splendors and miseries of the skulking impostor, were now being exhibited in their own right for the forgeries which they were. There were works of "genius" from the hands of the merely competent and "masterpieces" produced by nonentities. It finds it undoubtedly a fascinating show, reflecting equally the urge to deceive and impose upon the credulous and the gullible collector who was avidly in search of a surprising new find.

Dr. Hans Tietze pointed out that there had been counterfeits of great art through the ages, that there had been Romans who signed forgeries with such names as "Praxiteles", "Zeuris", and "Myron". Sometimes, art experts had been fooled by their own eagerness, attributing an honest imitation "in the style of" to the artist imitated.

The most common motive of the forger was to earn sums not obtainable otherwise from his own hand, trading on the fashions of the day and the longings of collectors. Others, such as the clever Van Meegeren, whose forged Vermeers had managed to fool the Nazis and connoisseurs alike, was said to have been moved chiefly by a desire to make a mockery of the critics who had failed to praise his originals.

There was now a collection of counterfeits numbering 2,400, with Alceo Dossena able to turn out forgeries of everything from an archaic Greek statue to a Donatello. Science had added to the means of detection, but the forgers still sought to fake everything from paintings to first editions of books, as in the case of T. J. Wise, once an honored bibliophile, to fabricating rare butterflies with which prisoners on Devils Island had sought to fool the lepidopterists in quest of unusual species.

Drew Pearson, writing from Geneva, indicates that the inside fact was that the President initially had not wanted to have the Big Four summit talks to be held in Geneva, arguing against that locale when the Russians had first proposed it, as he was somewhat superstitious, with Geneva in his mind being closely identified with the Indo-China peace conference of the prior summer, which had turned out to be one of the most crushing diplomatic defeats to the U.S.

But to other diplomats, Geneva was the city which had overseen some of the world's greatest tragedies and greatest hopes, having watched the birth of former President Woodrow Wilson's dream of a new and peaceful world following World War I, and Emperor Haile Selassie's walk down from the League of Nation's rostrum following his plea for his helpless country of Ethiopia, followed by the League's silence in the face of Mussolini's "swaggering might" in 1936. It had watched as Adolf Hitler's ambassador had blustered out of the disarmament sessions when FDR was making a last attempt to block the rearmament of Nazi Germany. It had also watched as the Japanese ambassador had insulted the council by keeping it waiting a full hour during the Manchurian crisis and then had sauntered down the aisle, with his cigar at a jaunty angle, to announce his usual alibi, that he was awaiting instructions from his government. It had also seen William Baldwin Shearer buttonhole newsmen and admirals as a $40,000 lobbyist for Bethlehem Steel, Newport News Ship and New York Ship sought to prevent naval disarmament. It had seen U.S. and British oil companies warn the diplomats not to bar oil to Mussolini's navy, the only means to stop his invasion of Ethiopia. And it had seen the diplomats bow supinely to that warning. It had also watched the repeated conversations between Aristide Briand and German delegates in an effort to patch up a partnership between the ancient archenemies, France and Germany.

He concludes that there was a major difference between Geneva's failures during the 1920's and 1930's and the position of President Eisenhower at present, that the League of Nations in those earlier times had been operating without the U.S., limping on one crutch, with the other crutch, the most powerful nation in the world, being aloof, suspicious and isolated. That was all changed and the President would play from a position of strength at the Big Four summit conference.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that some members of Congress were wondering about the political impact of the forthcoming merger of the AFL and CIO, with both labor organizations having been increasingly active in national political affairs in recent years. Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota stated that the merger would "make for a good blend" between the "yeast" of CIO's political experience and the "dough" of AFL's broad contacts and community acceptance. Others, however, saw the merger in less optimistic terms.

Friends and critics of organized labor agreed that the merged organization would increase its efforts to elect its friends and defeat its enemies, to get union members to register to vote, and to obtain enactment of legislation favorable to organized labor, especially at the state level. AFL president George Meany favored stronger political action to change the political picture which was developing against labor, at both the national and state levels.

The CIO's Political Action Committee and the AFL's Labor League for Political Education would undoubtedly be fully integrated in time for the 1956 election, but were expected to function in greater harmony by 1960, under the co-leadership of Jack Kroll, head of PAC, and James McDevitt, national director of LLPE. Big Labor, it predicts, ought be sufficiently integrated to exert maximum impact on the presidential election, with some business quarters suggesting that CIO president Walter Reuther might become the Democratic nominee in that year, although Mr. Reuther dismissed the idea as unrealistic.

In 1954, the AFL had endorsed Governor Goodwin Knight of California, who was running for re-election in the gubernatorial contest, while the CIO had endorsed his Democratic opponent, Richard Graves. Campaign spending economies were also expected to flow from the merger, with the two political action groups of the organizations on occasion finding themselves trying to outspend one another in the past, even when supporting a mutually desired candidate. Other conflicts might also arise in the merged political action arms of some of the larger unions not presently included in the merger plans. The United Mine Workers' Non-Partisan League and Railroad Labor's Political League were expected to continue their independent operations.

The main focus for labor's increased political action would continue to be in the industrialized areas where union membership was strongest, but there would be few communities of any size without a substantial body of citizens holding membership in the merged labor organizations. Labor was seeking to match business at the community-acceptance level. Senator Humphrey had said that "labor's roots are going down deeper and deeper." Labor officials now served in increasing numbers on school and church boards, city councils and other community organs. Merger was expected to reinforce that trend and to encourage more union officials to seek public office at the local, county and state levels, as well as nationally. Since the Democratic Party was, by and large, the sole beneficiary or victim of labor support, depending on the point of view, success of that strategy ought lead to increasing labor influence in the party's councils.

One Democratic area, the South, retained a traditional and strong antipathy to organized labor, on economic and political grounds, the 11 Southern states having passed "right to work" laws banning compulsory union membership. The merger of the two labor organizations might sharpen the antipathy toward labor when the new organization would begin any major campaign to organize workers in the South.

Robert C. Ruark, in London, tells of a British sergeant being on trial in Germany, charged with breaking the neck of another sergeant so that he could marry the dead sergeant's wife, which he had done seven months after the death of the sergeant.

Ruth Ellis had just been hanged for the killing of one of her lovers, whom she had shot in the course of a jealous rage outside a pub. Mr. Ruark wonders why it was that women shot so accurately when they were mad, but finds that it made sense because women had so much practice at pointing fingers, which was all there was really to aiming a gun.

Lord Vivian had just recovered from a slightly scattered fusillade fired by his girlfriend and was returning home to his wife, the exception which proved the rule.

Ingrid Willis had shot her husband in the leg and she was now out on probation, with her husband saying all was forgiven.

Sarah Lloyd of Leeds was supposed to have been hung the previous week but the Home Secretary had granted her a reprieve for some obscure reason, after she had killed her elderly neighbor with a spade. There had been bad blood between the two ladies, as one had thrown stones at the other's window and the other was cross because her neighbor had allowed the butcher to leave stale meat.

Styllou Christofi, originally from Cypress, had been the first woman hanged in England during the previous year, for strangling her daughter-in-law and then setting her on fire.

He indicates that the British did not like to hang ladies, but the feeling was that manslaughter did not lie in those cases. He finds that Britons were so well-mannered that it always came as a shock to him to read about the violence in which they indulged. He supposes that repression was the answer.

He notes that a death sentence had been handed down against Norman Green, who had admitted the perverse killing of two boys and an attempt on the life of a third. Another pervert, Kenneth Holmes, had appealed a ten-year sentence for rape of a minor, and the court decided that he was a deadly menace and gave him life, which Mr. Ruark cheers.

A story had told of Frederick Cross greeting his death sentence "like an old friend", Mr. Cross having wanted to kill himself but having lacked the courage and so had stabbed a stranger to death with a pair of scissors, saying that he wanted to be hanged.

He concludes that it had been a fairly harrowing week, that there were some "radioactive butterflies loose in the countryside, but I don't think we had better go into that. The people are doing enough damage without any help from butterflies."

A letter writer from Hamlet discusses the Brown decision, but disagrees that it represented the spirit of the Constitution, for the majority of people in North Carolina believed that they should have segregated schools, and so majority rule should be honored under the spirit of the Constitution. He quotes the Tenth Amendment, that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, or prohibited by it to the states, were reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people. He questions whether segregated schools had been prohibited to the people of North Carolina, after the state had segregated schools for 90 years. He says that since the status quo was never maintained in anything, in time, a solution to the problem posed by segregation which would be agreeable to everyone would come into being.

A letter writer indicates that she was tired of being associated with those who carried on about social and class "stuff" while slurring the South, that the people in the South had intelligence concerning the law and the Constitution, the teachings of the Bible regarding racial and class questions. "We are particularly sick and tired of all the supposed study commissions in regard to the races and classes. Our tax money must not be used in this way any longer."

You two go on down 'eya with I. Bev'ly and ol' Lesta and have yo'se'f some o' dat roasted chicken he got cookin' in his seg'egated chikenteria. You'll feel a whole lot betta. He might even let you swing an axe handle.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.