The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 10, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Hatteras that Hurricane Connie, "her mighty fist cocked at the Carolina coastline, held off the blow today." It lolled offshore and kept observers guessing where it would strike, with the whole East Coast alerted to the danger. The Weather Bureau during the late morning had placed the storm center 220 miles southeast of Myrtle Beach and stated that there was little movement and probably would be little for the ensuing 12 hours, that is until around midnight. Peak wind speed had dropped from 135 to 125 mph, according to the Bureau, still making it a powerful hurricane, the minimum for which was a sustained 75 mph wind. Hurricane warnings were issued from Myrtle Beach, where Hurricane Hazel had come ashore the prior October 15, to the Virginia capes. The Bureau stated that Connie's path was uncertain at present but that winds would probably reach gale force along the North Carolina coast by this night and hurricane force by the following morning, with the center of the storm likely to head for Cape Lookout, southwest of Hatteras. The entire Eastern Seaboard, remembering that three 1954 hurricanes had killed more than 250 persons and caused around 1.25 billion dollars in damage, were preparing for any eventuality and maintaining a vigilant eye on the hurricane. Towering waves and high tides were already hitting the North Carolina shoreline and hard tropical showers had forced residents and vacationers away from the beaches, which now were largely deserted. The entire East Coast, from Savannah, Ga., to Provincetown, Mass., was under a hurricane alert and rough seas were reported all along that area. Crowded automobiles, piled high with belongings, were moving away from the Carolina beaches the previous night and during the morning. The Coast Guard at Fort Macon, N.C.—where Connie would make its first landfall—, had ordered the beaches evacuated at Atlantic Beach, Salter Path and Emerald Isle.

From Boston, the Weather Bureau reported that the first rule when following a hurricane was to "keep informed", listing 14 safety suggestions in preparation for a possible encounter with a hurricane. The last suggestion was "be calm". The story also lists eight suggested safety measures for the aftermath of a hurricane.

From Asheville, it was reported that the Weather Bureau had issued a precautionary warning during the morning for six Western North Carolina counties which might feel the effects of the hurricane, which could include local heavy rains and increased wind speeds in Rutherford, Caldwell, McDowell, Burke, Wilkes and Polk Counties.

We would add, for the folks in Boone, in Watauga County, preparing for the arrival of the UNC football team this weekend in 2022, the advisory: Storm Duck.

Emery Wister of The News indicates that the local Weather Bureau had said that the only effect of Connie in Charlotte would be gusty showers, with the wind blowing at a rate of about 20 to 25 mph the following day, with temperatures rising to about 85 this date while occasional showers would cool the air. A high of 85 was predicted for the following day and 80 degrees on Friday.

In Mars Hill, N.C., a suit by a group of black parents from Montgomery County, seeking to void the State Constitution's provision requiring segregated schools, was raising "grave possibilities", according to State Attorney General W. B. Rodman this date. The latter told a meeting of state school superintendents that the lawsuit brought into question the provision of the State Constitution for State support of schools which were segregated. The Attorney General's office had released a memorandum addressed to Governor Luther Hodges, in which the Attorney General stated that if the State Constitutional provision, Article IX, Section 2, were ruled void, "the Legislature would then be under no mandate to provide" for a uniform system of free public schools. He advised the Governor that his office could not provide any official opinion but could only call to the Governor's attention the "grave possibilities which exist." Mr. Rodman said that he had received a copy of the complaint in the lawsuit late the previous week and had immediately called it to the Governor's attention and suggested that he might want to touch on it in his policy speech delivered the previous Monday night regarding segregation of the school systems. The Governor, however, had not been able to incorporate the matter into his speech because of the pressure of time. Mr. Rodman indicated that the lawsuit raised the question of whether the entire section of the State Constitution was void, or just that clause requiring separate schools for the races. He viewed it as a question for the state's courts and not for the Federal courts. He concluded that if the entire section of the State Constitution were determined to be void, the Legislature would have to decide its course regarding education of the state's youth, whether to abandon public education funding or to continue it on an integrated basis, ignoring the clause regarding segregation.

Randy Mears of Augusta, Ga., the 1955 Charlotte Soap Box Derby champion—allowed to compete in the race, despite being from Augusta, because Augusta racers had been invited to participate in the Charlotte race after a local protest in Augusta had erupted over the decision by the Augusta Soap Box Derby officials to admit two or three black racers to the race, with the decision ultimately made to cancel the Augusta race—had stopped in Charlotte shortly after noon this date to change flights, and was joined by John Borchert of The News, sponsor of the local race, accompanying the youth to Akron, O., for the national race, where he would compete for the first prize, a $5,000 college scholarship, against 153 other entrants from cities all across the U.S., Canada, Alaska and West Germany. The parents of the boy had left for Akron the previous Saturday morning and would remain until the following Monday.

On the editorial page, "Public Schools Must Be Preserved" comments on the speech two nights earlier by Governor Luther Hodges regarding the issue of segregation in the public schools, urging voluntary continuance of that system to preserve the public schools of the state. It finds that it was possible that the state could be forced into a position of abandoning support of its public schools, as "men of malice and impatience on either side could precipitate a crisis from which there was no way out except the dissolution of the school system". The Legislature or local school boards could create attitudes and policies which might place the state in the position of defying or at least evading the law of the land, as determined by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education. It finds that in that regard, the Governor had raised a definite possibility, but it chooses to believe that he raised it not as a threat but as a realistic deterrent to "headlong and irrevocable acts". It appeared that he had decided, when faced with the decision of dissolving the public school system to avoid compliance with Federal law, to follow loyalty to state and nation simultaneously.

It indicates that the public school system was the foundation of the state's social and economic security, the font of its progress, built on faith by a strong and dedicated people, and that it would be a tragedy for it to be demolished because the state had not been allowed to insist upon the terms under which such service was to be rendered, that is segregation.

It suggests that under circumstances of impatience and insistence of the wrong kind, it was reasonable to assume that the Governor meant what he said, but it prefers to read into his words not an ultimatum, but rather a warning, that the state, "no matter how distastefully, cannot let itself be charged with violation or evasion of the law, and at all cost its public schools must be preserved."

"The AFL and Industrial Piracy" tells of Southern "piracy" of Northern industry through tax concessions and other subsidies having recently become an object of criticism by the AFL after a year-long study of the matter. Its report had produced some sound conclusions, one being that the South did not need to use special financial subsidies to attract industry, another being that states ought pass minimum wage laws covering workers outside interstate commerce, not covered by the Federal law.

The AFL wanted to keep industry in the North where union membership was strong and jobs became less plentiful with migration of labor southward. The Southern interest was to move industry southward, however, AFL nevertheless making good sense and questioning the wisdom of such "piracy".

New England was also learning to play that game and a capable industry did not need to be bribed to move to another region, as such an industry would willingly pay its share of local taxes and foot its own bills in exchange for a stable and happy workforce in a community with good schools, housing and recreational facilities. An industry which could not pay its own way was of doubtful value to any community.

That had been the view of the North Carolina Board of Conservation & Development, even though on occasion causing the loss of industry to other Southern states which did offer handouts in one form or another to attract industries. The policy had brought to the state reputable, solid concerns which paid good wages and contributed to local tax revenue.

The state, shamefully, did not have a minimum wage, although having been recommended by the late Governor William B. Umstead and his successor upon his death, Governor Hodges. It would occur when the Legislature finally realized the virtual uselessness of industry which was unwilling to pay even the 55-cent per hour minimum recommended.

It concludes that whether or not AFL's recommendations for Federal curbs on subsidies and tax forgiveness were enacted, it was good that North Carolina did not use them.

"Simple Answer" indicates that a new 30-cent stamp bearing the image of General Robert E. Lee was set to go on sale in Norfolk, Va., on September 21, but a Washington dispatch had stated that the color of the stamp had not been announced. It suggests that grey and red would be appropriate.

"Who's the Hero, Rocket or Pilot?" remarks on a piece by News reporter John Borchert on the page this date, regarding the entry to the Space Age by the U.S., with its newly proposed satellite program, indicating that the newspaper was running it because many readers probably shared Mr. Borchert's fascination with another world, flying saucers and round-trips to the moon.

It finds the idea, however, that man ought be larger than his machine as a burr under its saddle, stinging every time it tried to summon a thrill over new adventures and conquests. It ventures that beside the space rocket, the human was an ant, that the rocket's capability was that which should receive applause, not its operators. "The wonder that the satellite prompts in us is dull and tasteless."

It finds the flight across the Atlantic of Charles Lindbergh in 1927 to be one of "sweet savor", for it had been concocted out of youth, determination, courage and warmth, the machine owing its survival to the skill of the pilot, instead of the other way around. The unknowns involved were commonplace, fog, sleet, rain and wind, not Orwellian instruments. When he landed outside Paris to the cheering throngs of 25,000 Frenchmen, his name became magic across the world, pride in a human being. It finds that rockets might land on the moon and that a man "hidden in a monstrous oxygen apparatus may some day walk upon its surface, but the hero will be his machine."

"And the exaltation of the night that Lindbergh landed in Paris will not touch people with burrs under their saddles."

But the piece fails to point out that, as instant heroes are many times wont to do, Mr. Lindbergh, himself, when he decided to dabble in politics in the late 1930's and support the America First movement and its fascist-leaning politics, became a burr under the saddles of the great majority of Americans who deplored, under the circumstances of the Nazi-Fascist movement in Europe, any continuation of the isolationist rhetoric championed by Mr. Lindbergh, Father Charles Coughlin, and others who were hoodwinked by Hitler and Mussolini, not being very astute politically, blinded by Republican-leaning hatred directed against that "socialist" Roosevelt.

A piece from the Denver Post, titled "Tweedle-Dee-Junk", finds itself becoming "tune-touchy", with the endless repetition of "that simpering little jumble of hogwash", "Tweedly, Tweedly, Tweedly Dee".

Ring Lardner had a pet peeve about Cole Porter's "I've Got You under My Skin", having raved about it repeatedly in his column, cussing the whole song, especially the rhyming of "yearning, burning deep down inside of me" with "under the hide of me". Mr. Lardner wanted songs to have some dignity and the piece expresses gladness that he was not around to wince at the "baby-talk rhyme tricks of the Tweedley song. They're enough to make Mother Goose herself blush." It does not object to rhyming "tweedley-dee" with "as can be" or "tweedley-dum" with "sugar plum", but "tweedley-dot" with "gimme all the love you've got" went too far.

"Each time we hear the song we feel a glaze forming over the eyes, a hum-happy spasm coming on:

Tweedley-ditto-ditto dunk,
Song-rhymes now are merely junk.
Hubba, hubba, summer and fall,
The fool things never make sense at all,
Tweedley-tweedley-tweedley, BAH!"

Drew Pearson tells of the President spending more time on the golf courses at Gettysburg and Burning Tree outside Washington with Congress out of session, proceeds to tell of the progress in his game, shooting in the high 80's typically, better than average for Burning Tree. He would typically give out golf balls as souvenirs, with "Mr. President" printed on them, donated by a sporting goods shop. He was a fierce competitor, hated to lose to anyone, including his son John, whom he usually beat because of his superior putting, despite John being able to hit tee shots farther than his father, who typically hit 200 yards or longer off the tee. Favorites among the President's golfing cronies included Col. Tom Belshe, Jack Westland of Washington, national amateur golfing champion in 1952, and Republican Congressmen Charles Halleck of Indiana and Les Arends of Illinois, as well as Democratic Congressman George Mahon of Texas, usually including one Democrat in a foursome. The President insisted on splitting caddy fees with his partners, which usually amounted to a total of seven dollars for 18 holes. He engaged in "replays" of his good and bad shots while under the shower or chatting with fellow players over refreshments after the game. He moved so fast up and down the fairway that he sometimes stood over his ball on the green while companions were still shooting for the green, placing him in harm's way, such that he had to be reminded to move aside to avoid being hit by errant balls.

Secret Service agents were stationed at the entrance gates to the courses, checking automobiles and their occupants. Merle Thorpe, former editor of Nation's Business, had decided to play a prank on the President's guards, providing the most Russian-sounding name he could think of, but was nevertheless ushered on through the gate.

Despite the prosperity in the nation, with G.M. recording profits increased by approximately 50 percent during the first year of the Eisenhower Administration, there were also a record number of bankruptcy cases being filed, with the House Banking and Currency Committee stating that it had been advised that approximately 65,000 bankruptcy cases had been filed in 1955 and that a total of 75,000 could be expected in 1956, which would be the highest number recorded in the history of the nation. The Commerce Department had sought the largest amount of money in history for salaries to bankruptcy referees.

John Borchert, News staff writer who believed that there were other people in space "with the air of a man who may have a few Venusians on his Christmas card list", looks at the Space Age and its implications as the U.S. had just announced its plans for a satellite program under which in 1957 or 1958 a man-made object the size of a basketball would be propelled via rocket into space for orbit around the earth for days, weeks or months. He finds it to mean the same for mankind as the nuclear program, either a move toward peace, enabling exploration on behalf of science to try to make contact with advanced civilizations, or toward mass destruction of "those same people". He finds that the belief that earth was alone in the universe as an inhabited planet to be rapidly losing support.

He reviews the purported reasons for the project, that Russia was developing its own satellite, that it continued the President's Geneva policy to win world opinion to the U.S. side and force the hand of the Russians, and that the U.S. and Russia had both landed objects on the moon and that the release of information on the program was designed to "throw censorship-busters off the right track in their guessing to the extent space research has progressed"—this latter suggested reason having no support whatsoever historically, there being no evidence that by 1955 any nation had as yet landed anything on the lunar surface, the Soviets having been the first to do so, in 1959, followed by the U.S. in 1962.

He finds the first reason to be closest to the truth, that Dr. Wernher Von Braun, chief of the Guided Missile Develeopment Division, had first announced his idea for a satellite program in the June 23, 1953 edition of Collier's, stating it as the first step in a program to cost four billion dollars which, by 1977, would place a manned spaceship in orbit around the moon.

He finds that the purported basis for the program, to collect data for science, would be a waste of the 10 million dollar cost of the program, as three-stage rockets could go as high or higher than the projected 200 to 300 mile altitude of the satellite orbit and could therefore carry many more instruments than the small satellite to collect such data. He points out that Dr. Von Braun envisioned a satellite carrying mice or monkeys and drawing its power from the sun, carrying a vast store of instruments for 60 days of orbit, with a telemetric reception station on earth set to receive the data, enabling television reception of the activity of the satellite.

Mr. Borchert suggests that perhaps the genesis of the idea came from such stories as "Russia Can Bomb Us from Space", by Michael O. Barski, appearing in the July, 1955 issue of Man's Life, telling of a disgruntled Russian scientist who defected to the West and told of the satellite program of the Soviets, with the first Russian rocket vehicle already orbiting the globe.

Martin Caidin, a writer employed by the New York State Civil Defense Commission, had written in his book published in 1954, Worlds in Space, that it was probable Soviet technicians had improved the German V-2 rocket and developed a missile of their own design which had exceeded 252 miles in altitude and had done so without publicity. He also said that the meager funding for guided missile technology in the U.S. was dwarfed by that spent on jet bombers, causing resentment among those scientists and military men who thought the missiles were more important for the future. The Soviets also had the advantage of working technicians and scientists as virtually slave labor.

Dr. Stephen J. Fraenkel, manager of propulsion and structures at the Armour Research Foundation, had reviewed in a recent interview the manifold problems U.S. scientists would encounter in trying to put a man into space, the problem of the human body being able to withstand the increased gravitation required to propel a rocket into space, the extreme temperatures of the ascension and descent, the danger of encounters with meteorites, keeping the ship on course, replenishing the oxygen supply, cooking food, and weightlessness.

Mr. Borchert finds that Dr. Fraenkel, however, had apparently not been keeping up with developments of fellow scientists, as tests had shown that man could withstand 17 times the earth's pull of gravity while rockets only exerted about 8 times the pull, that since rockets had not melted at the 4,000-degree temperatures encountered in leaving the atmosphere and that the animals sent up had not encountered issues, man could also safely venture into space. Meteorites could be fended off by bumpers, two-walled construction of the rocket, according to Dr. Fred Whipple, chairman of the department of astronomy at Harvard, an authority on meteors and discoverer of six comets. The other problems suggested had also been solved, such that man, by the 21st Century, would be traveling in space.

Jonathan Norton, writing in Pageant Magazine in 1955, had suggested that a space ark might enable travel to other star systems through several successive generations produced aboard ship. Or, as reported in Time in its December 8, 1952 issue, such interstellar travel might be effected via utilization of a faster-than-light vehicle, enabling time to slow down, converting thousands of earth years into only weeks in space, albeit posing a problem in social adjustment for the time travelers, as their families and friends would have long passed away by their return to earth. (A third method explored by the Time piece, not included by Mr. Borchert, was the shortcut through the median of the u-turn, by somehow obtaining the fourth dimension, such that billions of light years could be traversed in an instant in time.)

Mr. Borchert concludes that if man put away his nuclear bombs and conquered space, only earth time would determine man's place in the universe.

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