The Charlotte News

Friday, July 8, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Surgeon General Leonard Scheele announced this date a broad new research program aimed at improving the Salk polio vaccine and the production and testing methods presently being used in its development. He also announced the release of approximately 300,000 new doses of the vaccine which had been tested under the newly developed standards adopted seven weeks earlier, the first vaccine to be released since June 6. The research program would be cooperative between the Government, universities and industry, and would aid in the long-range development of all viral vaccine. He said that the allocation of the 300,000 doses released this date, produced by the Wyeth Laboratories of Pennsylvania, would be up to the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was administering the shots for the most vulnerable group, first and second-graders, free of charge. The new doses meant that a total of 1.837 million doses had thus far been made available since the adoption of the revised standards on May 26, in addition to the 9 million doses released prior to that time, since the start of the vaccination program on April 12. Under the new program, one scientist would be assigned to each of the six vaccine manufacturers and would visit the plant frequently to provide technical aid on production of the Salk vaccine and the testing procedures, as well as to facilitate developmental research seeking improvement in the production and testing techniques. The scientists would make their first visits to the plants within the ensuing two weeks.

The Commerce and Labor Departments reported this date that more than 64 million Americans had been employed in June, the largest number in the nation's history, with unemployment having nevertheless increased by 190,000 to a total of 2.679 million, one of the smallest increases for June, however, since World War II. The closing of schools, as was usual for June, caused the upsurge in unemployment, but it had been offset by rising adult employment on farms and vigorous rehiring in booming industries. Employment had risen by four million since the low point during the winter, about a million more than the normal spring expansion of employment. Manufacturing employment continued its sharp rise, climbing by 148,000 to 16.5 million, despite scattered work stoppages in metal products plants. The number of workers in trade services and industrial production had risen by 400,000 to 49.3 million, described by the departments as an unusually large increase for the season. The length of the factory work-week had been equal to the previous record of 40.7 hours, but the usual increase for June over May had not occurred because of strikes. Farm employment, at 7.7 million the previous month, showed only a seasonal gain.

The Coast Guard called off the search this date for a fishing boat which had been reported the previous day as afire and sinking, concluding that the alarm had undoubtedly been a hoax. Nothing had been found but a single life preserver and an oil slick in the area where the boat was supposed to have sunk, but according to the Coast Guard, such discoveries were not uncommon. A radio transmission picked up by a commercial vessel in the wee hours of the morning had indicated that a fishing boat had caught fire from a boiler room explosion and was sinking, that a foreign submarine had surfaced alongside it and was taking aboard the 21 survivors. Three rescue craft had patrolled a 4,000-square mile area of the Atlantic throughout the night, not finding anything else.

Judge Fred Helms, a member of the North Carolina Governor's Advisory Committee on Segregation, and chairman of the legal subcommittee, addressed the Fellowship Club in Charlotte this date, indicating that the Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education, did not "require that parents of both races shall send their children to the same school", rather that the Court had merely struck down "'all provisions of Federal, state, or local law requiring or permitting' segregation of the races in the public schools 'solely on the basis of race.'" Judge Helms had been instrumental in preparing North Carolina's amicus brief submitted in advance of the May 31 implementing decision, as argued before the Court by State Assistant Attorney General I. Beverly Lake, which had predicted riotous violence and destruction of the public school systems if desegregation were ordered implemented forthwith in states where segregation of public schools had been either required by law or traditionally practiced for decades. Judge Helms said that six words of the original May 17, 1954 decision in Brown had "saddled the 50 million people in the South with the most serious problems which they have had to meet since the Civil War," the words being, "Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." He was dipping and dodging the obvious meaning of the decision, at least to anyone with any common sense.

Charlotte traffic engineer Herman Hoose this date announced plans for channelization of traffic with lanes for left turns and straight-through movement at every signalized intersection in the outlying areas of the city.

Ann Sawyer of The News tells of the County Board of Commissioners having taken a step closer toward patrolling the Catawba River this date, with the appointment of a two-man committee to confer with York and Gaston County officials, with some debate having developed as to whether the sheriff's department or the county police were better equipped to patrol the river, with most agreeing that the sheriff's department would not want to be assigned to the river patrol duty. Get that guy with the airboat down there in the Florida Everglades. He'll bring his spare gators and they'll wish they never tangled with him.

Erwin Potts of The News tells of having walked with a City policeman on his beat the previous night, between midnight and dawn, that no robberies, break-ins or even a stray drunk had been encountered. The rookie officer on the beat showed the reporter the ropes of routine police work, including the dark alleys, forbidding corners and rickety stairways. He pointed out suspicious-looking characters, empty wine bottles left in the alleys by departed bums, and the pitfalls which an officer had to avoid. His beat consisted of three blocks which surrounded the corner of Fourth and Church Streets. The officer said that the first thing they did was to shake all the doors on the beat, probably 300 in all, to make sure they had been securely locked. He said that no matter how many times he had entered the dark places, including basements, he never felt completely secure, as one never knew whether somebody might be lurking behind the next turned doorknob. He said that the wine drinkers would go anywhere to consume their party wine, especially drawn to dark alleys and basements, "just as long as they've got that old wine."

City Coach Lines honored two men who had saved the life of a bus driver in Charlotte the prior Wednesday, after a passenger had gotten aboard and struck the driver in the head with a hatchet, the two men having witnessed the attack and pulled the assailant off of the driver, one of the men having visited the driver in the hospital, as reported by a story the previous day appearing on an inside page. The two men were awarded $100 by the bus company.

In the freckle contest conceived by News reporter and columnist Julian Scheer, the judging the previous day at Freedom Park had resulted in a ten-year old boy and a ten-year old girl having won the prizes for the most freckles, each receiving $10, while a seven-year old boy had won five dollars for the most unusual freckle, which consisted of a small one in the corner of his mouth. (He probably inked that one in. Nobody would test it.) The judges, Mayor Philip Van Every, singer Arthur Smith, and News sports editor Bob Quincy, had deliberated for 45 minutes—longer than many local juries of the time adjudicating guilt or innocence of those accused of crime in the city—while more than 50 participants in the contest, between the ages of two and the maximum of ten, stood for the competition in the blistering sun. All three of the winners had been redheads and are pictured on the page. The non-winners and all of those non-freckled children ten and under should join together to file a protest with the newspaper for the inherent discrimination involved in the contest. There should also be a contest for those without freckles to balance things off.

In Liverpool, England, a British firm was reported to have invented a silent wrapping for chocolate, to eliminate the noise caused by chocolate wrappers being unwrapped at concerts and theaters. Two hundred boxes with the new plastic-based wrapping had been tried out at a Philharmonic Society concert the previous night, and Society officials said that they had not heard a thing except the music, prompting them to cancel their longstanding ban on chocolates being consumed during concerts. How about chewing gum?

On the editorial page, "What Makes Junior a Criminal?" comments on the act of vandalism at the Myers St. School, for which several young boys had been arrested and detained by the Youth Authority. It finds that reckless and thoughtless vandalism had become one of the most disturbing elements of juvenile delinquency in Charlotte and that the patience of the community was being strained by it.

It suggests that it was time for more positive, realistic approaches to the problem regarding the factors which produced such antisocial acts by juveniles. It finds that underlying such criminal activities of some children was a deep-rooted disrespect for law and authority, that too many youths were permitted to thumb their noses at the courts and scoff at the law, that they had to be compelled to feel the consequences of their misbehavior. Others only needed guidance and, occasionally, psychiatric help for profound emotional insecurity. Still others suffered from poverty, mixed with difficulties arising from racial and social discrimination, producing antisocial attitudes and eventually aggression. It counsels investigation of those factors within the city and the fashioning of specific remedies for the specific conditions which were found, sometimes within individual neighborhoods or particular families. It urges that such attention was necessary at once.

"The Senate Needs Johnson's Touch" finds that columnists and commentators had been quick to see from Senator Lyndon Johnson's present absence caused by his serious heart attack a serious blow to his presidential ambitions. It suggests that greater importance, however, should attach to the effect which the heart attack would have on his role as Majority Leader.

He had held the role of leader of the Democrats since the start of the previous Congress in 1953, albeit as Minority Leader until 1955, and had established a solid record of service to the country and to his party. Most recently, he had engineered the defeat of the resolution sponsored by Senator McCarthy which would have hamstrung the President at the coming Big Four summit conference in Geneva, forcing him to broach the issue of the Soviet satellites, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland, with the result that only four Republicans had supported Senator McCarthy. That was as much a service to the Republicans as it was to the Democrats. He had also served as the meeting ground for liberal and conservative Democrats and had shaped either constructive opposition among Democrats for the most part or complete support for the President's programs, eliminating the acrimony which had characterized the relations between the Republicans and President Truman, the new harmony having been more the result of Senator Johnson's efforts than those of any other single individual.

For the most part, his compromises had provided the President with more of what he wanted than less or nothing. The leadership of Senator Johnson and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn had been indispensable to the President's foreign policy. It suggests that the President, despite some of his recent protestations regarding the failure of the Democratic Congress to enact certain parts of his program which he considered vital, might even wish at times that he could trade Republican Minority Leader William Knowland for Senator Johnson, "who is generally conceded without peer as a master of turning the wheels of Congress the way he wants them to run."

It finds that he would be missed in the Senate during his recovery and that it was to be hoped that when he returned, he would be able to find a way to make his tasks less burdensome to him personally.

"Land of the Verbal Squirrel Cage" comments on the story the previous day of the Small Business Administration security officer who had admitted to a Senate Civil Service subcommittee that he had sponsored the immigration from Germany of a young woman in 1951, but refused to answer whether he had "formed a liaison" with her, on the basis that he could not understand the question, the matter having eventually been dropped by the subcommittee counsel when he objected to the personal nature of the inquiry.

It finds that he did not really need to have a picture drawn for him as to what the word "liaison" connoted, and the matter simply represented more bureaucratic gobbledygook for the Government to refuse to provide complete clarity on the subject.

It ventures that such practice was getting worse by the minute, that in the "verbal squirrel cage called Washington", it was becoming almost a sin to be perfectly clear. "Ungobbling does not come easily. It has to be dragged out by the roots." (Thus, would eventually come, 17 years down the pike, "Deep Throat".)

It recounts Stuart Chase's story about a plumber who had written to the Bureau of Standards that he had found hydrochloric acid fine for cleaning drains and wanted to know whether it was harmless, to which Washington had replied that its efficiency was "indisputable, but the chlorine residue is incompatible with metallic permanence," after which the plumber had written back that he was glad the Bureau agreed with him, to which Washington had replied that it could not assume responsibility for "the production of toxic and noxious residues with hydrochloric acid, and suggest that you use an alternative procedure." The plumber had then written again to the Bureau, expressing his pleasure that they agreed with him, to which Washington had finally responded: "Don't use hydrochloric acid; it eats hell out of the pipes!"

A piece from the Goldsboro News-Argus, titled "Ruining Watermelons", tells of it having been a great day every year when watermelons would first become available, much later than at present, as ice trucks and ice railroad cars, and overnight transport of produce from Florida, had not yet appeared on the scene.

"So watermelon is a word which connotes happy days and happy ways. It is a nostalgic word. One to play with and cuddle mentally." But it cautions that if things continued the way they were going, they would take the romance completely out of the watermelon. They had first invented the "sorry-looking, ornery little ice box watermelons", enabling eating a melon alone, not how it was intended to be eaten, a group activity. "Only those with some sort of frustration are likely to do it often." Now they had brought out the seedless melon, "another step toward ruination of one of nature's greatest gifts to mankind."

It equates what science was doing to the watermelon with the old lady who enjoyed the sermon and so shouted "amen" to everything the preacher was saying, until he blasted gossiping, at which point she had said, "He's done and quit preaching and gone to messing in somebody else's business."

Drew Pearson tells of a billion dollars having been added to the President's superhighway bill in deference to the phone and power companies, already approved by the Senate as part of the bill sponsored by Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee as a substitute measure for the President's program. It had been maneuvered so quietly through the Senate that many members of the Congress had not been aware of what was occurring, until a militant group of House Democrats, led by Congressman Brady Gentry of Texas, sought to eliminate the additional money in the House Public Works Committee. But since that time, the powerful public utilities lobby, led by AT&T, had been placing pressure on House members to retain the additional funding. They argued that private utilities had long been provided free right-of-way along major highways for telephone and electrical, water pipelines, and, to a lesser extent, gas pipelines, making it easier for the utilities to get their repair trucks to the site of interruptions in service. In return for the right-of-ways, utilities signed contracts with most state road commissions, whereby they would pay the full cost of relocating their facilities along any highway which needed to be widened or diverted. But the Gore bill changed that agreement by placing half of the relocation costs on the Government, hence the additional funding. Mr. Gentry was a former state highway official and also a stockholder in private power companies which would benefit from the Gore bill, but nevertheless was taking a stance in favor of the taxpayers. Other Democratic House members supporting Mr. Gentry included Jack Dempsey of New Mexico and Tom Steed of Oklahoma.

Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had warned his successor, Anthony Eden, against rushing too quickly into any deals with Russia, Mr. Churchill believing that the Russians appeared too eager to settle the cold war, prompting his suspicions. He believed that the eagerness of Russia during the previous two months to engage in talks with the West indicated that they were far weaker internally than anyone had guessed. Thus, he urged Prime Minister Eden to listen carefully at the Big Four summit meeting in Geneva, scheduled to start July 18, but to refrain from comments because Russia would offer even better terms six months or a year hence.

The original movie script for "The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell" had made the Air Force hero look as a military delinquent, because the scriptwriters had consulted only the Army and Navy, who hated General Mitchell, founder of the Air Force. Col. Robert Scott of the Air Force had, in consequence, flown to Hollywood to protest to Jack Warner, who had formerly been an airman, with the consequence that Warner Brothers had now rewritten the script.

The Congressional Quarterly tells of Congressional Republicans still supporting the President more strongly than Democrats, but only by a narrow margin, albeit with Democrats supporting his foreign policy more strongly. Overall, on 69 roll call votes through the prior June 26, Republicans had supported the President 64 percent of the time, while Democrats had supported him 53 percent of the time. During the 1954 Congressional session, the Republicans had supported him 72 percent of the time, while Democrats had given their support only 43 percent of the time, on roll call votes which offered a clear choice between voting for or against the President's declared policy.

Regarding foreign policy, on 32 of 69 roll calls, Republicans had supported the President thus far in 1955 57 percent of the time, while Democrats had given their support 71 percent of the time.

The previous week, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson had said that the record of the Democratic Congress in 1955 had disproved the President's 1954 midterm campaign claim that a Democratic Congress would wage a "cold war of partisan politics". The President had stated at a press conference afterward that Congress had not yet enacted a whole list of necessary legislation, which he proceeded to reel off. Senator Johnson had replied that the Democrats were "responsible and constructive" but did not intend to "carry out instructions like a bunch of second lieutenants…" It suggests that the acerbic nature of the Senator's reply might foreshadow a shift in emphasis by the Democrats from support for the President to a program of independence to provide distance for the party in the 1956 presidential campaign.

The Senate had supported the President more often than had the House thus far in 1955, with Republican Senators providing support 71 percent of the time and the Representatives, 62 percent of the time, while House Democrats supported him 51 percent of the time, compared to Senate Democrats, who gave their support 57 percent of the time. House Republicans had supported him only 49 percent of the time on foreign policy, compared to 69 percent by House Democrats, and 74 percent by Senate Republicans, compared to 75 percent support from Senate Democrats. The most controversial foreign policy issues had been trade and aid.

The Senate had upheld the position of the President on 33 of 40 test votes, while the House had done so on 18 of 29 such votes. A higher percentage of Republicans than of Democrats had voted for the President's position on most roll calls. With Democratic majorities in both houses, the President needed some Democratic support on all of the votes to sustain his positions, except in the case of Democratic absences providing Republicans a temporary majority in the Senate, where the Democrats had only a one-seat majority. Democrats had provided the President the winning margin for 29 of his 33 Senate victories and for all of his 18 House victories. The President had won two of the five more important Senate roll call votes, while winning and losing one each in the House. The House had rejected a proposal to water down the reciprocal trade extension, while the Senate had defeated a proposal to cut foreign aid and had rejected a reduction in individual income taxes. The House had voted to revive rigid farm price supports, against the President's position of continuing the flexible supports as passed in 1954 by the Republican Congress, and the Senate had rejected the President's highway program, while increasing public housing authorizations beyond the level desired by the President, and rejecting his plan to reduce Marine Corps manpower. It notes that the President's supporters might yet be able to reverse those defeats.

It indicates that non-record votes, committee action, informal negotiation, among other factors, also shaped the Congressional record, but could not be pinned down to statistics as could roll call votes.

A letter writer urges that there ought be a law passed for every man and woman reaching 60 years of age to permit them to stop work and draw their Social Security which they had paid into the system, for if they waited until they were 65, some would never live to enjoy it.

A letter writer from McColl, S.C., replies to a letter writer who had written in the July 4 edition that the word "black" appeared in the Bible in the Song of Solomon, this writer indicating that no one should be surprised that black men were mentioned in the Bible, as its basic ideals had been formed against the background of "Egypto-Ethiopian culture", or, quoting Egyptologist, Professor J. H. Breasted: "The ripe social and moral development of mankind in the Valley of the Nile which is 3,000 years older than that of the Hebrews contributed essentially to the formation of Hebrew literature." The writer indicates that it was well to remember that the great leader Moses had an Egyptian education and that he had been married into an Ethiopian family.

A letter writer wonders what was wrong with the editors of newspapers and why they were worried about the money received by NAAWP head Bryant Bowles. "All real Southerners that haven't turned Damn Yankee or Communist are certainly interested in keeping the South in progress as it now is." He provides samples of conversations he had with two educated black people, with one man who had three different college degrees telling him that he was able to make a good living at present, but that if integration began, white people would starve blacks to death. A black woman had told him that those blacks who wanted to mix should go where they were already mixed and leave those living in segregation alone, as they had good schools and were doing all right. He indicates that she owned her own home. He wonders where his rights were as a white person, if he was forced to go to school and associate with people who were not of his race, which would make him "very unhappy", wondering whether it did not take his "state right" away from him.

This is the same letter writer who had earlier written, using the Bible to try to justify segregation, to whom the previous letter writer had responded.

A letter writer from Rock Hill, S.C., indicates that of the representatives of the member nations of the U.N. who had spoken in San Francisco upon the 10th anniversary of the founding of the organization, one address bore repeating, that of Dr. Padilla Nervo of Mexico, who had said: "We want economic and social advancement without prejudice to sovereignty and without any dilution of the culture, tradition and spirit native to each individual nation. We want to maintain the right of all peoples to the full enjoyment of their civil and political liberties. We want respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. We want higher standards of living for all, so that every man may, to a reasonable extent, enjoy the material and spiritual good things of life. We want the welfare of the peoples in the non-self-governing territories, their political and economic advancement and their progressive development toward self-government. We want the free and true voice of the people of the world to be heard now and always here in the United Nations. Our presence here is a solemn reaffirmation of these purposes and a promise that our international relations will be guided by the aspirations of the United Nations. We want peace without prejudice to freedom and justice. We want the small nations to collaborate with each other and with the larger nations in projects of common interest connected with collective security. We should like to see force used, not for the purposes of domination, but in the service of the peoples. We want the peaceful settlement of international disputes and friendly relations between nations based on mutual respect. We want to safeguard the territorial integrity and political independence of states, in such a way that each can develop in accordance with its historical background, free from the threat of subversive tendencies and movements inspired and directed from outside. We want faithful adherence to the principle of self-determination of peoples." The writer concludes that those thoughts had clearly stated the policies and purposes of the Western powers, their friends and allies.

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