The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 11, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Wilmington, N.C., that Hurricane Connie was bearing down on the Carolinas coastal area this date, its center packing wind speeds of 120 mph, with the eye about 120 miles southwest of Myrtle Beach, S.C. By early this morning, the winds had reached nearly the hurricane force of 75 mph near Cape Fear, N.C., about 30 miles south of Wilmington, with the eye moving at between five and seven mph toward the northwest. A long stretch of coastline between Georgetown, S.C., and Cape Lookout, N.C., braced for the mounting fury of the storm, as it still threatened the whole Eastern Seaboard from Savannah, Ga., to Block Island, R.I. Tides in the area along the coast of the Carolinas and to the Virginia capes were between four and five feet above normal and were expected to be double that in some places. The Frying Pan Shoals lightship, 45 miles off the mouth of the Cape Fear River and 60 miles southeast of Wilmington, pitched and tossed amid winds up to 90 mph and raging seas early during the morning. At the mouth of the Cape Fear near Southport, members of the Coast Guard at Oak Island reported steady 60 mph winds. The chief forecaster at the Miami, Fla., storm warning center noted that Connie was spreading out somewhat, therefore dissipating its peak wind velocity near its center, but was far from a dying storm. He said that unless there was a radical, unexpected change, the Georgia coast appeared out of trouble except from rough seas, but that the Georgia coast and all other alerted areas should remain on standby with full precautions being taken. The Mayor of Carolina Beach, N.C., which had almost been destroyed by Hurricane Hazel the previous October, reported increasingly high winds and water during the night. Officials at Wrightsville Beach, 12 miles south of Wilmington, reported that water was lapping at the City Hall and had almost inundated the lower half of the mile-long beach strand. Officials at both beaches had cut the area's power supply as a precautionary measure, while at Southport, high winds had disrupted the power supply. Evacuations of the threatened areas continued.

Hugh Morton of Wilmington, who was covering the Wilmington area with his camera for The News, reported that there was extremely high water at Wrightsville Beach during the morning, high tide having been only about two feet short of covering most of the land area of the beach. High tides were expected to be from 8 to 10 feet above normal, and the beach might be covered with a shallow layer of water by late during the afternoon. Mr. Morton reported that winds in Wilmington were between 25 and 30 mph, with gusts slightly higher, and a great amount of rain dousing the area.

Meanwhile, another tropical storm was forming in the Atlantic 400 miles northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the Miami Weather Bureau reporting that the new storm, named Diane, had winds at present of 50 to 60 mph near its center and gales spanning outward to 100 miles, expected to grow stronger steadily and continuing generally in a north-northwesterly or northwesterly direction at about 14 mph. Further intensification of that storm was expected during the ensuing 24 hours, with the next advisory coming just before noon, and no exact fix on the storm available until early during the afternoon following aircraft reconnaissance. Diane had formed about 300 miles north and considerably to the west of the area which had spawned Connie. It was too early to determine whether Diane would follow Connie's path.

Connie brought cool weather to the Piedmont and Charlotte by virtue of overcast skies. The predicted high this date was 85, with 84 being predicted for the following day, with a low of 74, while a low of 73 was anticipated for this date. No more than gusty showers were to be expected in Charlotte as a result of the storm, as the city was too far inland to receive anything like hurricane conditions.

In Andover, O., an explosion had killed at least 21 people and injured another 18, many of the victims having taken refuge in a row of buildings on the village square to avoid a storm. At least two persons remained missing. The center of the explosion was a restaurant. No one was certain as to the cause of the explosion, but firemen had speculated that accumulated gas had been set off either by a bolt of lightning or a spark from electrical equipment in the basement, flooded by heavy rains. The fire had been brought under control within four hours, as firemen from 20 nearby Ohio and Pennsylvania towns had rushed equipment to the village of 1,200 people. The Mayor had requested that martial law be established, and 60 troops had been dispatched to the village to enforce the decree. A truck driver, who had been eating in the restaurant at the time of the explosion, said that as he was eating, the place blew up and he wound up on the grass, as the restaurant simply disappeared.

On the editorial page, "Annexation: Big Job To Be Done" indicates that after City Council member Herman Brown had stirred up the annexation issue, the question arose as to whether it would last, with such burning issues in August typically dimming and dying by the time autumn began.

The previous day, the City Council, at Mr. Brown's suggestion, had undertaken the annexation issue by passing a resolution issuing a formal invitation to Mecklenburg's delegation to the Legislature to meet with the Council in the early fall to discuss hopes and plans for extension of the city limits. Meanwhile, Mayor Philip Van Every had announced that the City-County Planning director was going forward with a detailed study of the areas being considered for annexation. It finds the progress on the issue welcome news, that extension of the city limits was essential to continued municipal progress and the fair distribution of fiscal responsibilities.

It concludes that City officials would have a difficult job ahead, but one which could be done with labor, patience and imagination, and which had to be done for the sake of the community.

"Footnote" indicates that an often neglected factor in arguments for or against annexation was the leadership question, that most Mecklenburg County residents living outside Charlotte nevertheless worked and earned their living within the city, while having disqualified themselves from service as City officials or on municipal boards or commissions, depriving the city of the benefits of some of the ablest and best qualified minds within the metropolitan area.

"For Coliseum Parking, Proper Action" tells of it having taken only 4 1/2 minutes the previous day for the City Council to wrap up and approve the controversial contract with a private landowner adjacent to the public land set aside for parking at the Charlotte Coliseum and Auditorium complex, soon to be completed.

Two weeks earlier, serious doubts had clouded the issue, stemming from misinformation and the suspicion that the private landowner was seeking to take advantage of what had been described as the city's bumbling good nature, by receiving 60 percent of the profits based on the 60-40 percent split between the public land available and the private landowner's parcel, based on a long-term lease. The piece finds no such undue advantage to have been taken by the property owner, that the arrangement would add approximately 1,800 badly needed parking spaces to the 1,200 to be provided on the City land and that the split was appropriate given the proportional differential in size of the parcels.

It finds it therefore fortunate that the City Council had quickly gotten to the bottom of the matter, recognized the practical value of the proposal, and had undertaken the wise action of approving it.

"New Wings Proposed for Charlotte" indicates that the hope of the city for competitive, more efficient air service had been bolstered the previous day with a proposal by National Airlines to add a local stop to its New York-to-Miami route. Since both National and Eastern Air Lines were fighting against a franchise for a third carrier to operate between the two points, the proposal promised at least half a loaf, as the present service of Eastern did not have the flexibility and speed which the city, given its actual and potential economic and population rank, needed and deserved. That had been borne out by studies presented to the Civil Aeronautics Board the previous fall when it was asked to consider Charlotte's request for better service to the Northeast and new service to the Southwest.

The same information would be presented to CAB regarding the Eastern Seaboard route presently being heard, and the piece hopes that it would bring better service, either through the National proposal or some new line. The city was not fighting for any particular airline and had no quarrel with Eastern, except for the fact that no single line could adequately serve the needs of the area, of which Charlotte was the hub.

Gerard Tetley, writing in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, in a piece titled "Cricket Confounds Visiting Yanks", tells of American summer tourists spending part of their vacations in England, returning home intrigued by the game of cricket, which was so often maligned in the U.S. and regarded disdainfully, as it was customary "to draw stumps for tea."

While some few of the tourists went to Lords or the Oval to see a cricket match, it was during exploration of the hinterland either via bicycle or in a motor coach that the greatest enjoyment was witnessed of country cricket or village cricket. Few English villages were lacking in a cricket pitch, usually positioned within the shadow of some ancient Norman parish church, very close to the vicarage, "the windows of which from time to time are shattered by Herculean batsmen noted for 'slogging.'"

He indicates that village cricket was the great social leveler, in which the owner of the village pub was quite likely to be on the team with the village parson, along with the squire of the manor and probably some retired colonel.

American tourists had just as much trouble with the jargon of the game as did British visitors to major league baseball games in America, not understanding the meaning of "maidenover" or the signifcance of "the hat trick" or why the ace batter for the villagers was "out L.B.W", meaning "leg before wicket", etc.

Unlike American baseball, "where the blood of the umpire is sought amidst the pungent expletives and much feeling", the village green cricket match would likely resound with such polite exclamations as "well played, sir", spoken in restrained terms, "undoubtedly masking an emotional thrill which would never reveal itself under the practiced art of understatement."

Mr. Tetley indicates that someone had once said that the playing fields of Eton had produced, through the generations, most of England's great statesmen and military leaders, but that suggestion related to the aristocracy of cricket and "rugger", while the village green, "about which Shakespeare rhapsodized, which constitutes the great force of democratization", was the place where the office boy might be telling the executive director how badly he had muffed a play on Saturday.

Drew Pearson indicates that what was happening inside the Republican high command at present was almost identical with that which had occurred inside the Democratic high command in 1944, with one important exception, that the Republican leaders at present were determined to nominate the President again, regardless of age, health or anything else, whereas in 1944, Democratic leaders knew that if they picked any other candidate than FDR for a fourth term, they would lose were the campaign to be run on domestic issues, which the President, consumed with the war, had largely delegated to others. A careful publicity campaign had begun to make FDR the "indispensable man" while concealing from the public the true facts about his failing health. As the Democratic convention had begun in Chicago in July, 1944, the President started on a cruise up the West Coast to Alaska, obviously for his health. At the same time, DNC chairman Robert Hannegan, Bronx boss Ed Flynn, Chicago boss, Mayor Ed Kelley, and other party bosses, knowing that FDR could not possibly survive a full fourth term, concentrated on the choice of their own man for the vice-presidency, which Mr. Pearson regards as "one of the most deceitful strategies ever put across on the voting public".

Republican leaders were at present equally determined to nominate President Eisenhower again, in part for the same reasons, that they knew that any other Republican candidate would have a hard time winning, that Republicans faced a rough campaign on domestic issues, from the controversies over the since abandoned Dixon-Yates contract, farm prices, and big business monopoly, while on international issues, they believed that the President had a winning strategy and could be promoted as the "indispensable man". But the President had not thus far bought into the Republican line, unlike FDR in 1944. For months, President Eisenhower had been telling Republican leaders that they needed to pick new young leaders and that he would not run again. On January 4, Mr. Pearson's column had reported in detail on a private dinner at the White House at which the President told his closest friends that they had to begin building up new "dynamic" men to replace him.

Mr. Pearson indicates that he had consistently reported, with one exception, that the President did not want to run again, the exception being a column which he had written recently from Geneva, where it appeared to him that the President had hit his stride and was doing things he liked best to do, thus could probably be persuaded to run again on a "peace in our time" platform. But a recent meeting he had with Senator George Bender of Ohio and other Ohio Republicans indicated to the contrary, being more significant than the public realized. Senator Bender and friends did not want to tell newsmen what the President had told them and had to be prodded by the White House into making a statement, indicating that the President had said that he considered age a detriment to his running again, that he wanted published the fact that he would be the oldest President in history if re-elected and that the burden of the Presidency eroded a man's health.

Mr. Pearson finds that the President deserved a lot of credit for being so frank with the American people, while FDR had not been so frank. The frankness coincided with sentiment in Congress to set up a medical board to examine all presidential candidates of both parties before the nominating conventions. The fact that Senator Robert Taft had died shortly after the 1952 election, which might have made him President had he won the Republican nomination, that Wendell Willkie had died shortly after the Republican convention of 1944 which might have picked him for the second consecutive time, and the fact that FDR had died less than three months after the beginning of his fourth term, had encouraged the idea of having such examinations for all candidates.

Three editorials appear from newspapers in Raleigh, Greensboro and Winston-Salem, respectively, regarding the speech on segregation in the public schools by Governor Luther Hodges on Monday, with the Raleigh News & Observer finding the address "the first creative contribution to the problem of the schools" in the wake of the May, 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, determining that segregation in the public schools was per se unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, and its implementing decision of May 31, finding that school districts practicing segregation should undertake to desegregate "with all deliberate speed" under plans approved by the Federal District Courts. The editorial finds the proposal by the Governor, that voluntary continuance of segregation occur to preserve the public school system from dissolution, to be one which could work, "a program which could be undertaken in full recognition of the dignity of both races", involving "no loud and impotent defiance of law", while assuring "the advance in education of both races" and the continuance of "the good relations between both races" within the state.

It recognizes that not everyone would be satisfied with the Governor's proposal, that some would have preferred that he use the language of former Governor Herman Talmadge of Georgia, who had proposed to the Georgia Legislature dissolution of the public schools under the State Constitution rather than be forced to desegregate them. It indicates that some black citizens might feel that the Governor had "indulged in too violent attack" on the NAACP, which, "obnoxious as it sometimes seems to white men, has across the years in many fields greatly served the hopes of many Negroes." It suggests that such black citizens should not fail to note that almost the strongest language of the speech had been "devoted to those white advocates of extreme measures who would abolish the public schools."

It finds that the Governor had directed his speech to the thoughtful, sober, conservative North Carolinians of both races and that they could not ask for a better statement of leadership, that he "spoke with undoubted wisdom when he urged that North Carolina 'take this thing step by step, learning as we go.'"

The Greensboro Daily News finds that the Governor had correctly foreseen a situation in which the children of the state, "beset on the one side by Negro extremism and on the other by white reaction to this extremism, might be integrated in ignorance," that as an alternative to that "tragic possibility", the Governor had turned to voluntary segregation, which the piece regards as "likely to lead out of the darkening storm".

It indicates that there might be some question as to whether his attack on the NAACP had solidified fragmented black opinion, but that there could be no doubt that the speech addressed the central issue, that although "it unfortunately inclined toward lambasting Negro extremism more than it did white extremism, its central theme was temperance, moderation and cooperation."

It finds that while the implication throughout the speech was that the state would never accept gradual desegregation, the Governor had refrained from the type of deep South demagoguery which had already "added to the flames of racism rather than curtailed them."

It concludes that while some citizens might offer the moderate black leadership more tangible ammunition against its own "extremist block", such as pilot studies in desegregation, the Governor had correctly assessed the climate of majority opinion and appealed to the best in both races. It regards the principal challenge as saving the schools and the peace, and that the Governor had fulfilled his role of leadership by indicating that voluntary segregation, at least for the present, promised the most hopeful solution.

The Winston-Salem Journal finds that the Governor "made it clear that he recognizes as the law of the land the Supreme Court decision", although he did not like it and disagreed with it. He stated that the decision did not forbid a dual system of schools in which children of each race voluntarily attended those separate schools. It concludes, therefore, that his program did not involve defiance of the decision, provided coercion was not present.

It suggests that, unfortunately, the Governor's emphasis on the possible abandonment of the public school system should the program not work might be regarded in some places as a form of intimidation designed to coerce, but that in both words and manner, the Governor had provided evidence that he did not so intend it.

It finds that while the plan might not be the best possible approach to the problem, it ruled out any integration even in areas where it might be practical, while aiming at the three vital objectives which had to underlie State policy, to adopt a course of action meeting the Supreme Court's requirement for constitutionality, preserving and improving the public school system, and maintaining and fostering goodwill between the races of the state.

It suggests that the Governor might have hurt his cause by such a strong attack upon the NAACP, that the better approach might have been to appeal to the people of both races as individuals and to have left out any references to the NAACP. It concludes, however, that despite some errors in particulars of the presentation, no one who heard or saw the Governor deliver the address could doubt his complete sincerity or his anxiety over preservation of the public school system, and that no one could doubt his humility or his friendship and concern for the welfare of all schoolchildren, regardless of color, or his honest desire to provide "sane, enlightened leadership for the state in this period of educational crisis."

Simeon Stylites, writing in the Christian Century, indicates that the pastor of "St. John's-By-The-Gas-Station" had been in the drugstore having a third cup of coffee and looking as pleased with himself as a cat which had swallowed the canary, the author having asked him what had occurred, to which he received the response that the pastor had been involved in a good scrap the previous day and that there was nothing like a slugfest to keep up one's interest in the ministry. When asked whom the pastor had slugged, he responded that it was some of his church officials, as he sought to avoid the woe which was promised when all men spoke well of him. He said that he had succeeded. St. John's was on the way to becoming a Christian church, taking in regular people, while some of the officials did not like the idea and had said to the pastor that if he continued to take in the riffraff, the church would lose its character. He responded that it might save its soul, however, but that comment had not helped any.

The previous day, he had told them the old parable about Jesus and the social undesirables, that every morning, St. Peter had found in heaven a horde of undesirable aliens, whom he was certain he had never admitted, with some never having been baptized, some ignorant of the Bible, many soiled and damaged souls who had no right to enter heaven, and so set about to try to discover how the faulty admission had occurred. He had discovered a dark corner where a few stones had been removed from the wall since his previous inspection an hour earlier, permitting a crowd stealthily to creep in. St. Peter had rushed at them with indignation, but was amazed to find the Savior there, helping some of the cripples over the wall, saying to Peter that he was sorry, that he knew it was against the rules because the poor souls were not as they should be and all of them were miserable sinners, but were the special friends of Jesus and he wanted them there.

The pastor said he believed the church officials had gotten the point and asked whether there was any riffraff of which Mr. Stylites was aware that he might go out after.

Some peacocks, by the way, do not understand parables or literary irony, and thus go through the world as part of the riffraff, on whom the Lord must have most strained mercy, as with the little children.

The Editors, in a note preceding the letters to the editor column, indicate that on August 2, The News had published a letter regarding South Carolina's drive to prevent contraband liquor and cigarettes from entering that state, the letter having come from a Spartanburg, S.C., writer who had requested that his name be withheld, the letter implying that troops of South Carolina Governor George Bell Timmerman, Jr., were conducting the campaign. It corrects that such was not the case, as the patrolling officers were from the State Tax Commission, while the State Law Enforcement Division was the only law enforcement agency under the Governor's control, not involved in the interdiction effort. Likewise, the suggestion by the previous writer that the Governor's officers might be life-termers from the State penitentiary was unsupported insofar as the known facts.

A letter writer from Rock Hill, S.C., tells of a recent New York Times editorial commenting on a Georgia Board of Education resolution, regarding black school teacher membership in the NAACP, having made Northern meddling welcome, as the piece had said: "The Georgia Board of Education has just distinguished itself by a resolution which would seemingly be rejected in most states by anyone who has been educated beyond the first grade. This resolution provides that any teacher in Georgia who is a member of the NAACP, any allied organization or any subversive organization, shall have his or her license revoked and forfeited for life." It went on to say that the NAACP was a reputable organization which had always sought by orderly and democratic procedures to do exactly what its title indicated, and that the only assumption to be made was that the Georgia Board of Education believed that attempts to improve the lot of "colored people" were bad and possibly subversive. It indicated that it did not believe that attitude properly represented the white people of Georgia, let alone the black population, that the Board was close to a century behind the times in justice and common sense. The writer agrees with the Times editorial and indicates that the courts would never countenance the Georgia resolution, that it was a sign of the "empty anger of the Georgia politicians" and wonders whether it reflected the thinking and wishes of the people of Georgia.

A letter writer from Norwood thanks the letter writer who had written about the NAACP and its North Carolina chapter head, Kelly Alexander, finds that too many white people were encouraging the NAACP, leading to "a serious trouble for both races, with the Negroes losers." She indicates that if black people wanted better schools, they should work and cooperate with the white people and they would have those things. "Isn't there proof of that all around us? Haven't new Negro schools and residential sections been built in many sections? And more will be built in the near future, if the Negro will quiet down and cooperate with the white people and try being a good citizen instead of trouble maker." She wonders why "they want to mix with the white people when they're not wanted", finding it beyond her to understand, that she was not going anywhere she was not wanted.

A letter writer indicates that she had often been in stores or a place of business where the clerks hardly paid any attention to her, and had also been in places where the manager and clerks were so nice and kind to their customers that they always returned. She finds that kindness and courtesy was what counted in business, that if customers were treated nicely, they would return and help make a good business.

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