The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 5, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the condition of Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, who had suffered a severe heart attack the prior Saturday night, was unchanged and remained serious. The previous day's report from Bethesda Naval Medical Center, where the Senator was being treated, had been that he was "making satisfactory progress." While he was forced to forgo his duties as Majority Leader, Senator Earle Clements of Kentucky, assistant leader, would fill in for him. The previous day, several leading Democratic Senators expressed regret that Senator Johnson would be sidelined.

Traffic deaths hit a new high for the Fourth of July weekend period, as at least 393 persons had been killed during the 78-hour period which had begun at 6:00 p.m. the previous Friday. The overall accident death toll was also the highest ever recorded for a three-day Fourth of July holiday, at 772. Among the others killed in accidents were 239 people who had drowned, and 141 in miscellaneous accidents. The National Safety Council had estimated that 380 persons would die in traffic accidents, against the previous record of 366 for a three-day Fourth of July, in 1952. The record for a four-day holiday had been 793 in 1950, with the traffic toll having also established a record in that year, at 491.

In Cherokee, N.C., the local solicitor said this date that his preliminary investigation had determined that the collapse on Sunday of a suspension foot-bridge, which resulted in the deaths of two women and injuries to 39 other persons, four seriously, had not shown "particular evidence of criminal negligence". He said that he planned to continue his investigation this date and had asked the State Bureau of Investigation to assist him. He indicated that the bridge had not undergone an engineering inspection recently, that it had originally been built primarily to allow schoolchildren to cross the river, and was not designed for heavy tourist traffic, that it was undoubtedly safe enough for the schoolchildren, but posed a different risk when 50 to 60 people had crowded onto it, as had been the case on Sunday. It had been reported at the time that the bridge had collapsed after a group of boys had congregated at the center of the bridge and begun leaping up and down on it, causing the bridge to bounce.

Near Allen's Grove, Wisc., at least seven persons, most of whom were children, had been reported killed during the morning when a speeding Milwaukee Road passenger train collided with a car carrying 11 persons, all believed to be of the same family or closely related, with two of them being women and the others children. Officers at the scene said that the train was traveling 60 mph at the time it hit the car at a grade crossing.

In the vicinity of Fort Sumner, N.M., five crewmen were killed in a flaming collision of two freight trains 36 miles to the west of the community early this date, all residents of Clovis. They had been trapped in the toppled diesel engines which had caught fire after the head-on crash. The Santa Fe Railroad reported that 48 cars had been derailed, but expected no serious delay in train schedules as a result.

J. A. Daily of The News indicates that construction of the multi-million-dollar Nike guided missile project in Charlotte had been suspended this date, except for work by about 40 non-union laborers, as 450 labor union members on the project had been unwilling to cross picket lines set up early this date at all entrances to the plant used by the employees of the contractors. The president of the Charlotte Building Trades Central Union said that the picketing of the gates had been in protest against wages being paid by Coble Construction Co. of Greensboro and some of its subcontractors, below the prevailing wage levels in Charlotte.

Charles Kuralt of The News imparts that there was bad news for local residents who bought liquor in North Carolina before taking a trip to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina for the weekend, as the practice, long made illegal by South Carolina, was now going to be enforced with new vigor, that without a South Carolina tax stamp on the liquor, the possessor would face not only confiscation of the liquor but also a fine starting at $20, and potential confiscation of the vehicle transporting the liquor if it could be shown that its primary purpose was to transport liquor in violation of the law. An inspection station was to be set up utilizing unmarked cars to check the border between the two states. Don't take your fifth, in the aftermath of the Fourth, even to the Firth of Forth or to Myrtle Beach. And if stopped south of the border, plead the Fourth and the Fifth, not the Second.

Donald MacDonald of The News indicates that local detectives had stated this date that nearly $3,000 in cash had been reported stolen during the night from a safe in the home of the operator of the Thrift Road Drive-In Theater, that according to the operator, someone had cut the wire screen on his back porch, had entered his home and taken the safe away, which had been located in the front bedroom. The burglary had occurred the previous evening, just as the operator had left to begin his work at the drive-in. What was playing? Oh, served him right 'cause he had that swingin' stuff goin' on the pro-jector. No tellin' what happened later in 'at movie, all goodied up like a fam'ly picture. The safe-snatcher should be congratulated. You best go on down 'ere to the Pineville and see some'in' good, like "The Lone Gun". Looka 'ere, they got them wetbacks comin' in now in covered wagons out of Cairo. It just makes you mad, you blood boilin' over. We need a real Pres'dent. How 'bout that Johnson guy? He won't let these people into our schools, got no business down heya.

Emery Wister of The News tells of temperatures having risen toward the 90's again this date, despite clouds at around noontime having moved in to cool things down a bit, to 81, making it the first day during the month and the first day in six consecutive days that the temperature had not reached or exceeded 90. Early in the morning, the Weather Bureau had predicted that the high would be 96, just three degrees below the previous day's high of 99. He imparts that Dog Days were named for the Dog Star Sirius, which rises with the sun from July 3 until August 11, that those 40 days were about the muggiest, most humid and uncomfortable of the entire year.

On the editorial page, "Gov. Shivers: Man without a Party" indicates that Texas Governor Allan Shivers had gone to New York the previous week to deliver a broad attack on the two major political parties, saying that change was their natural enemy, that they had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo through the rush of postwar progress, and had responded least among the nation's institutions to the change sweeping the land.

It suggests that it sounded like bunk and "not the kind of bunk that all good Texans sleep in." It believes that Governor Shivers knew better and was merely seeking alibis for his political opportunism, causing it to wonder what type of change he wanted.

The two-party system in the country, it posits, had survived and had provided stable government because the parties were capable of change. It cites the Republican Party, in recent months, having retreated from its campaign rhetoric of 1952, that all of the New Deal reforms had to be eliminated, finding, in the reality of governance, that it had to restrain its radical right wing element. The previous week, the right-wingers of the party had managed to obtain only four votes for Senator McCarthy's resolution which would have directed the President at the coming Big Four Summit meeting in Geneva to deal with the situation of the Soviet satellites, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland. While Republicans had done a little bit of trimming of New Deal programs, by and large, the programs had remained. The party had, for long, been reluctant to forsake its devotion to isolationism and the domestic notion of "free enterprise", but it had changed and had survived.

Meanwhile, Democrats, rather than being agitated by the President having stolen their thunder, had not stuck to the traditional obstructionism and partisanship of the out-party, instead had engaged in bipartisanship and effective, if reluctant, alliance with leading Republicans.

It thus finds that the key to the overall behavior of both parties was change to fit what they believed was the dominant mood of the country, and the result had been a fine example of teamwork, as seen in the provision for a bipartisan commission to remove the security issue from the political arena.

It indicates that Governor Shivers had demonstrated the advantages of the two-party system when he had supported General Eisenhower in the 1952 presidential campaign, desiring the tidelands oil for Texas, and, having failed to obtain it from the Democrats, had supported the Republicans.

It finds that there was plenty of change and flexibility within the two-party system, but it depended on intraparty discipline, and a political leader such as Governor Shivers knew that fact and that there was no need for a pledge of loyalty. It asks whether the Governor, who had helped to choose Governor Adlai Stevenson as the Democratic nominee in 1952, and then supported General Eisenhower, would be willing to pledge good faith to either party or only wanted to play one against the other to gain his individual spoils, while denouncing the major objectives of both parties.

"The Pentagon Puts out Another Guide" indicates that public information officers rarely put out news, only a lot of information calculated to flatter commanding officers. But it still finds sympathy for them, as all great men had to have their heralds proclaiming their greatness, and those heralds had to speak as the great ones spoke.

The Administration had sent some Army field commands printed guides for informing the public, such that when the public information officers received a question from the press, they weighed it to determine the "net effect" the answer might have on military power, industrial power, military morale, "other strategic angles" and "anything you can think of." The approach had grown out of Defense Secretary Charles E. Wilson's ruling that the public was to have only "constructive" information regarding the military, a concept formulated by Assistant Defense Secretary R. Karl Honomon, the latter contending that no information should be released unless it was "useful" or "interesting".

The guide was not concerned with secret information, just as the press was not so concerned. The guide appeared, in effect, designed to assure that public information officers would not say anything beyond "good morning". The Administration contended that it was prepared "in consultation with principal trade and business publications", but the chairman of the executive committee of the Society of Business Magazine Editors had said that he did not know anything about it.

It indicates that it would ask its favorite public information officer who had concocted it, but that he was not very good at mathematics and it did not want to get him involved with the various check marks required by the guide's balance sheet.

"Music vs. Sound: How Hi the Fi?" indicates that ever since the high-fidelity craze had come about, music had been losing ground, that the high-fi fanatics did not tune their phonographs to hear the notes anymore, but rather only to pick up the assorted "pings, plunks, thumps and rattles" which accompanied the notes, including the squeak of the cellist's shoes or the rustle of the conductor's sleeve, holding far more interest to the listener than a perfect rendering of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.

It finds that they were the same people who liked Haydn's Military Symphony merely because it offered four or five minutes of nothing other than triangles and cymbals during the second movement. The music was somewhat secondary, with such listeners wanting "absolute truth" in the reproduction of any sound which was recorded.

It tells of a new 12-inch LP record now appearing in some Charlotte music stores, called "Thru the Sound Barrier with McIntosh", the first side of which contained sound from a jet aircraft, three sonic booms and the Redstone Rocket motor, while on the other side, there were sounds from the IRT subway in New York, alarm clocks, machinery sounds and a 20-mm. aircraft cannon.

It predicts that soon, such noises would appear on record as that of a typhoon off the China Sea, a collection of U.S. locomotive whistles, New York taxi sounds, or possibly steam hammers. It suggests that by around 1995, music would disappear completely, as the "three B's", Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, would be displaced by Blare, Bellow and Blast.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "The Ptooie Pitch", suggests return of the spitball to baseball, less because of the general decline in baseball attendance than because of the problems which the Cardinals were experiencing. Arthur Daley of the New York Times had been spreading the plea without a trace of approval.

The rule against the spitball had been put in place in 1920, but the saliva-laced ball had never completely disappeared, and so it favors allowing pitchers to be honest in a crisis. It indicates that the older it got, the more its opinion was that the pre-1920 baseball players were better. While some might suggest the opinion to be based more on sentiment than fact, it does not see why the pitchers' jobs should be harder than in earlier days.

It tells of Branch Rickey having once praised the spitball as a natural pitch which placed far less strain on the arm than sliders, screwballs and hanging curveballs. It concludes that the spitball should be brought back and indicates that it did not work behind the plate.

Drew Pearson tells of the sudden decision by the President to re-examine the Dixon-Yates contract having been preceded by a secret, important meeting at the White House, taking place on the morning prior to the President having issued his statement, attended by Admiral Lewis Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and, later in the meeting, Attorney General Herbert Brownell. They were concerned about possible violation of criminal statutes, as charged by Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, when he had discovered that Adolph Wenzell of the First Boston Corp., which had helped to arrange the Dixon-Yates financing, had sat in on normally highly secret Budget Bureau sessions with the AEC. The Administration had said that First Boston had taken no fee for arranging the financing, but the criminal statutes which Senator Kefauver had cited were not based on taking of money. Admiral Strauss and the President were also worried about the fact that Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico, chairman of the Joint Atomic Energy Committee, had subpoenaed the records of the AEC to determine the visitors who had gone to see Admiral Strauss during the talks regarding the Dixon-Yates contract. The AEC maintained careful records of every visitor entering the building and showed the material which every visitor brought with them.

The AEC records which had been subpoenaed by Senator Anderson had shown that on January 20, Mr. Wenzell, vice president of First Boston, had visited Admiral Strauss, and had brought with him Edgar Dixon, partner in the Dixon-Yates combine, plus Paul Miller, also of First Boston. The record had noted that Mr. Wenzell had departed by the back door, carrying a large envelope. But the President had stated at his press conference that Mr. Wenzell had never been called in to consult at all on the Dixon-Yates contract.

In addition, Dick Cook, manager of the AEC, had admitted on June 8 in testimony before the SEC that Mr. Wenzell had attended meetings at the AEC, which had considered the Dixon-Yates matter. Admiral Strauss had been asked the previous November by Congressman Chet Holifield of California whether he knew that the Budget Office director had been advised by a consultant presently employed by the Dixon-Yates utility, to which the Admiral said that he had no knowledge of any such consultants.

Senator Kefauver had in his possession most of that information, forcing the hastily called White House meeting designed to give the President an out from the whole contract matter.

Stewart Alsop, in Moscow, tells of an unquestionably changed environment having taken place within Russia, according to everyone in a position to judge the situation, but that no one really knew how deep the change went or what it meant. Part of it was completely superficial. U.S. and British ambassadors, for instance, had recently ceased to be followed by visible surveillance teams, and there were Soviet bosses now appearing regularly at Western receptions, mingling jovially with the guests while making small jokes. One or two even had been known to attend, alone, small private gatherings at Western embassies. Western members of the press had also been fairly astounded at the types of dispatches they had been permitted to release from Moscow. But those things required little more than a simple administrative decision, and so it remained questionable to what degree it had penetrated more deeply into Soviet society.

Some of the older observers claimed to detect signs of deeper change. Mr. Alsop recounts of having attended a two-day party, lasting each morning into the wee hours, remindful of a U.S. high school graduation dance. They were held in Red Square, opposite the Kremlin and the tombs of Lenin and Stalin. There was no loud, raucous conduct at the parties, and every one of the young people present had been well-behaved. The first such party he had attended had ended at 5:00 a.m., with everyone having a good time. But the next night, word had leaked to the Kremlin and there was a police presence on hand, moving quietly and politely through the crowd, but playing the role of wet blankets with complete efficiency. Little groups of the young people remained until daylight, but the heart had gone out of the party. Members of the band, without playing a note, left the scene.

A long line of boys and girls had been sitting on a wall near the tombs, giggling, as a young cop walked along the line, gesturing to each of them in series to stand up. The boys and girls did stand up, one by one, with exaggerated smartness, as he approached each one, and then sat down again, laughing heartily as he passed their positions. An older, tougher cop then showed up, looking grim, and the boys and girls retreated from the wall. Even so, one of the older boys had made an uncomplimentary gesture, familiar in Brooklyn.

He asks rhetorically whether it meant that there was a change, indicating that old hands in Moscow said that the sort of conduct had not occurred even a short time earlier. "So perhaps there has been a change in the relationship between rulers and ruled. But the old Moscow hands are sure that the change will not, and cannot, be permitted to go very deep."

Walter Lippmann indicates that there was a growing impression that the Soviets wanted to talk seriously about armament limitations, with Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov having said in private conversations, and in the Soviet proposals published on May 11, things which indicated that the Kremlin was taking a new look at the modern technology of war. It did not mean that they were likely to accept proposals which the U.S. had been making during the previous decade, that there was no more chance of that occurring than there was of the U.S. accepting Soviet proposals. If anything was to come from the forthcoming summit conference, to start in Geneva on July 18, it would be necessary to rethink and redefine the problem of armaments.

Mr. Lippmann indicates that in the previous decade, U.S. proposals had been based on a fundamental misconception as to what was meant by "disarmament" and what the U.S. was trying to do about it. In a U.S. memorandum of 1952, the goal of disarmament was described as preventing war "by making war inherently impossible." He indicates that the U.S. had sought to attain that goal via a system of supervision and control of reduction of armaments to a point at which war would be inherently impossible to wage. He questions, however, whether there was any such point. With reduction of the military establishment and the stockpiles of munitions, the advantage in war would depend then on the mobilization of reserves and manufacturing capacity.

He thus finds that to make war inherently impossible was, itself, inherently impossible. A Western memorandum of a year earlier proposed that the powers would agree on "all types of weapons, all types of armed forces, and military facilities of all kinds." He finds that ultimately incapable of being supervised and controlled, down to the last revolvers and pistols, through a proposed grand authority which would be empowered to supervise and control progressive and continuous disclosure and verification of all of the armed forces, including paramilitary, security and police forces, and all armaments, including atomic armaments. That authority was supposed then to report to the U.N. Security Council and to the General Assembly any violations for "appropriate action".

He finds that concept to be the "sheerest fantasy", as the basic underlying principle for it was disclosure, requiring the abandonment of all military secrecy, all security precautions, and all counter-espionage programs, with the U.S. inspecting the Soviet defense establishment and Russia inspecting the American defense establishment. The Soviets would never seriously consider agreement to such inspections. The fallacy, in his opinion, was that there could be no absolute disarmament such that making war was inherently impossible.

"The alternative conception is to recognize that each nation's armaments are relative to the armaments of his rival and adversary—no matter whether the military forces are at a high level or at a low level." The true goal, he finds, was not to deprive nations of the capacity to wage war, as men could fight with clubs, rather, to make victory in war, and profitable war, improbable, to inhibit the will to begin a war. What would inhibit the starting of a war would be no plausible hope of winning it. He thus suggests that when the U.S. spoke of disarmament, the question should not be the size of the armaments but rather their deployment, and since modern weaponry was so destructive, the question was what measures could be agreed upon which would prevent the massive surprise attack which could be decisive in a first assault.

A letter from the president of the States' Rights Council in Augusta, Ga., indicates that according to articles appearing in their local newspapers, several Augusta boys had been invited to participate in the Soap Box Derby race in Charlotte, following the cancellation of the Derby in Augusta, resulting from a protest against the action of the local Derby committee in permitting the entry of two black racers. He had seen that an Augusta boy had won the race, and that the race had been sponsored by The News, and so assumes that the newspaper had extended the invitation to their boys. He finds that inviting boys from Augusta to participate in a racially-mixed Derby race in Charlotte was "inappropriate and unwarranted interference with the efforts of the white people of this community, who pursuant to the laws and customs of the state of Georgia, are trying to prevent the mixing of the races in the schools, recreational facilities and elsewhere." He says that it was their organization which had initiated the protest against the entry of black racers in the Derby, and encloses a letter and questionnaire which had been submitted to approximately 175 parents of white boys who had entered the Derby in Augusta, and to their sponsors representing various business firms of the city. Among the responses received, none had indicated a desire to participate in a racially-mixed Derby race. In response, the committee had canceled the local Derby. He says that the readers of the newspaper were entitled to have all of the facts and so requests publicity for his communication.

Well, that settles the question we had as to why they were inviting those people from Georgia to come to Charlotte to participate in what was billed as a local Derby race. No one explained that. We have to take back, therefore, what we had said about letting in the Georgia riffraff. We thought they had let in persons akin to the members of the States' Rights Council of Georgia, perhaps, or maybe Lester's son, who would like as not have taken an axe or pick handle and started swinging it at the black entrants, their cars, and even the spectators. Meanwhile, the Derby organizers would have been required to frisk his father, had he also shown up. We are well aware that such people do not represent the broader population of Georgia, then or now, but, since ol' Lesta was elected Gov'na in 1966, primarily based on the rural vote, ultimately by decision of the Legislature, he does provide some degree of a representative persona from that era, at least as to rural Georgians.

In the coming elections in November, we suggest that Georgians perhaps think about that, especially those living in rural areas, though the nation understands from its Plains experience in the latter 1970's that there is progress there, too, and for decades, despite certain boners such as "ethnic purity" in housing having crept into Governor Carter's rhetoric during the 1976 presidential campaign. In any event, perhaps you rural Georgians don't care that the rest of the nation currently thinks, given the nature of a couple of your Representatives, that you're as crazy as bedbugs. Ditto for the outliers in Arizona. It is time to get with the program. This is not 1822 or 1922. As a practical matter, do you have any idea what returning to a cotton plantation economy would do to this country on the world stage? Perhaps, you do not care about your country. Gone with the Wind regarded a time long gone by 1936 when Margaret Mitchell published the book, which is why she titled it as she did. As for the movie, its depictions never really obtained in reality, as the author, herself, intimated once in conversation with W. J. Cash, according to the witness of Cash's widow in 1967 in her article for the Red Clay Reader, regarding the need of Ms. Mitchell to search the entire state up and down for any exemplar on which to model her conception of Tara, the actual plantation houses of the antebellum era mainly having resembled, not the Selznick Studio headquarters in Hollywood—or the 1955 built "White Columns" headquarters of WSB in Atlanta, dedicated on the day before Surrender Day, progress into regression—, but rather expanded versions of country cabins with rooms built off a main windswept central hallway extending front to back.

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