The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 17, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Wilmington, N.C., that Hurricane Diane had hit the North Carolina coast this date but had done relatively little damage, as it pushed into the central part of the state with reduced force, the Weather Bureau locating it 55 miles southeast of Raleigh, traveling north-northwest at about 12 mph at noon, with wind speeds reduced below hurricane force and its eye having become disorganized, expected to reach Raleigh with 60 mph winds. At Washington, N.C., where high tides from the Pamlico River had risen into the streets of lower areas, the most serious damage was done. Some areas of the town were 4 to 6 feet under water this date, as steps were being taken to evacuate riverfront areas. Many old-timers of the area had told the manager of radio station WRRF that it was the worst flooding they had seen since the flood of 1913. The edge of the river had come within ten feet of Main Street. The state civil defense director in Raleigh reported that three-fourths of the town was under water and that the situation was "extremely critical". Thirteen National Guard trucks were dispatched to the town and 136 local Guardsmen were called to active duty.

The office of Governor Luther Hodges said that scattered and "very preliminary" reports indicated damage along the beaches was "almost miraculously light." The hurricane had made landfall at Wilmington and its force was blunted as it moved on a northwesterly course over land toward northwestern Virginia, its wind speeds having diminished from its one-time 115 mph to 100 mph before reaching land, hitting Wilmington with 74 mph winds. Nearby beaches had endured severe rain, but most of the beach areas of the Carolinas had been evacuated the previous day. At Carolina Beach, waves had washed away several feet of the beach and pounded the buildings along the boardwalk, with water flooding streets and washing across from the ocean to the yacht basin. Observers, however, said that the damage was not so serious as that caused by Connie, which had hit the area the prior Thursday night and into Friday morning. At Atlantic Beach, many houses had been seriously damaged by waves. Wind gusts reached 95 mph at Southport.

Everywhere along the South Carolina oceanfront, indications were that the tourist trade would be back in full swing by this night. Sand dunes had been bulldozed hurriedly along many of the low-lying beaches in both states as the storm had approached, holding down the damage though much of the loose sand had been washed away. The highway commissioner reported to the Governor early during the morning that damage in the Wilmington area appeared to be confined to blown shingles and water and sand washing over roads. The Bureau said that the storm would move into northwestern Virginia early the following day, with wind speeds reduced to between 20 and 30 mph.

The district manager for Southern Bell Telephone Co. said that preliminary reports in the hurricane area indicated an estimated 5,000 telephones out of service, with some 45 long distance circuits knocked out, but that most of those troubles had been cleared during the morning, and that all phone trouble was expected to be eliminated by the following night.

Julian Scheer of The News reports from Carolina Beach that early in the morning, the town was in the eye of the hurricane, but that it now appeared to have passed, that the previous night's "symphony of howling winds and blinding rain" had caused roof damage along the coast, but that low tide had saved the coast from more severe damage. Reports from Wrightsville Beach indicated that 12 to 18 inches of water was present on parts of the island, with Kure Beach having suffered little impact. Old-timers said that Diane was following closely the pattern set by Connie and doing about the same amount of damage, while also undoing most of the previous week's repair work.

In Lincoln, Neb., some 200 rioting prisoners at the Nebraska Penitentiary had returned to their cells peacefully early during this morning, after a squad of shotgun-armed safety patrolmen and National Guardsmen had marched into the cell block, though no shots had been fired. Governor Victor Anderson said that the prisoners, who had set several prison shops afire the previous night and had started smashing equipment in the cellblock, had offered "no difficulty at all, after an ultimatum was given them this morning." The warden had told the prisoners that the Guardsmen and troopers were going to enter the cellblock with orders to shoot to kill if anyone resisted. One of the inmates, whom the Governor said had been beaten by other inmates, was found curled up in the back of a cell, with his face and shirt covered with blood, subsequently taken to a hospital. The Governor said that he believed the fire had caused at least $100,000 of damages, while others placed it as high as a quarter of a million. He said that he had been informed that the riot had started over a feeling among some prisoners that two of their number had been mistreated by being placed in segregation for failure to work. The previous night, two inmates had been slugged over the head by other inmates who had a grudge against them, both having been hospitalized. No guards were said to be injured.

When we were on the safety patrol, they never issued us any shotguns. That would have been so much more effective at the crosswalks than carrying a little red flag attached to an aluminum pole.

Once, many years ago, many years after our safety patrol duty, when we were at San Quentin visiting a client, we were crossing the yard in a crosswalk from the entrance to the prison to the interview room, as we had several times before, when, suddenly, we heard, "stop", to which we paid no heed as we assumed it was directed toward one or more inmates. But then we heard, much more forcefully and louder, "Stop!" at which point we looked up to see a guard staring us down. We stopped and he said, "If you had not stopped, I might have been forced to put one in you." Since our manner of dress did not communicate any likelihood of being part of the inmate population, we said, "Oh," staring him down with equal intensity. That would have provided an interesting headline next day in the Chronicle: "Lawyer Shot at San Quentin While Trying To Interview Client". If we'd a shotgun...

On the editorial page, "Active Community Foundation Needed" tells of Robert Hanes, one of North Carolina's most distinguished citizens and president of the Wachovia Bank & Trust Co., having borrowed a New Testament parable, "Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two," to illustrate his message to local residents during an address before the Rotary Club, that while there were things desirable for the community on which taxes were levied to construct, there were also other things which a good citizen desired for the community, for which the law did not require taxpayer support and yet for which there was a pressing need, including many recreational, social, educational and religious institutions and agencies, those "second mile" projects. They had to have voluntary financial support from the community to survive.

To enable that support, the Charlotte Foundation had been created in 1930, and Mr. Hanes had urged that the Foundation be reactivated with aggressive merchandising and promotion for which the financial institutions had to accept their share. The piece endorses the proposal without reservation, as the city had to have an active and growing community foundation, dedicated to unselfish service and the promotion and welfare of all of the people of the community.

It indicates that Charlotte could learn from the operation and success of the Winston-Salem Foundation, in the hometown of Mr. Hanes, where there were 67 trusts comprising that Foundation, which, on March 1, had a value of over seven million dollars.

It concludes that a community foundation was worthy of the city's best efforts, that the legal framework, which had been formed years earlier, ought be reactivated with as little delay as possible.

"Banish the Bums" indicates that with the Brooklyn Dodgers fully 15 games in front of the other teams in the National League, the time had come to resurrect Bill Terry's immortal quip: "Is Brooklyn still in the league?" The answer was a firm no, as they had crashed through the roof months earlier and their remaining games could only be judged by ethereal standards.

"We're for banishing the Bums officially and returning the National League to the quiet dignity of a two-team race between the [New York] Giants and the [Milwaukee] Braves—just as the pre-season experts predicted all along."

"Hurricanes Are Mysterious and Mean" finds Senator Kerr Scott's idea of attacking hurricanes with nuclear energy to be grand, overshadowing suggestions for thwarting hurricanes by oiling the seas to change their course or by over-seeding storm clouds to prevent rain and thus rob the major storms of their fuel.

But it finds the idea still not grand enough when considering that the Weather Bureau estimated that a hurricane's energy output per minute exceeded the quantity of electrical power produced by the entire nation during a 50-year period.

Until there was more data anent the cause and movements of the major storms, the idea of controlling them could not be adequately informed. In the early 1900's, the Gulf states had been the prime target for the major storms, while 20 years later, Florida had become the focus, with now the whole Eastern Seaboard being in danger. The reason for hurricanes hitting one area, then another, was an unanswered question, with only theories having been posited, such as that hurricanes were conscious phenomena, that changes in the upper air controlled movement, or that the melting of the polar ice cap had altered the movement of air masses. Even the explanation of the origin of a hurricane lacked laboratory proof.

It suggests the possibility that the Weather Bureau would try to create a model by which to study the phenomenon, as it was using its new electronic equipment, designed to provide more detailed information on movement, on Hurricane Diane. It posits that perhaps scientists could find a way to channel all hurricanes to sea or to render them pacific, but that in the meantime, the only solution was to get out of the way.

A piece from the Sanford Herald, titled "Tobacco Time in Town", tells of a woman who liked her job and would stay in town this time for sure, that the only reason she had ever left was because she needed money to pay her bills. That had been the previous spring. In the interim, things had gone all right with the tobacco growing, and she still aimed to stay.

Between the paraphrase of the patois, it is difficult to understand the point of this piece. Perhaps we do not understand tobacco talk.

Drew Pearson indicates that during the closing days of the Congressional session, great pressure had been put on the Senate to pass a bill changing the quotas on the imports of sugar coming into the country. The bill failed to pass, but would be up for passage again at the start of the new session in January, at which time the public ought be aware of the lobbying forces for and against the bill. He indicates that the Sugar Quota Act, passed during the Roosevelt Administration, fixed the amount of sugar which could enter the U.S. from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Peru, Mexico and the Virgin Islands, as well as from other offshore areas. To give Cuba a stable economy and ensure enough sugar in time of war, the largest quota had gone to Cuba, in return for which, Cuba agreed not to increase the price of sugar to the U.S. during the war. The Act did not expire for another year, but early in 1955, the domestic cane sugar growers of Louisiana, with the beet sugar growers of the Rocky Mountain states, had demanded an immediate change in the law, increasing domestic quotas, largely at the expense of Cuba's share of increased American consumption.

Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana, chairman of the Agricultural Committee, had introduced a bill readjusting those quotas, going further than merely supporting Louisiana cane sugar growers, by pushing the bill vigorously and simultaneously placing himself in a conflict of interest position, which had just forced the resignation of Harold Talbott as Secretary of the Air Force. Mr. Pearson indicates that in a column of August 8, he had pointed out that a great many members of Congress were in exactly the same position as Mr. Talbott through the receipt of campaign contributions. Senator Ellender had purchased four acres of choice land from a sugar company whose president was a member of the sugar lobby and had testified before the Committee chaired by Senator Ellender, advocating for a change in the sugar quota. The Senator had purchased the land for the cheap price of $10,000, land potentially rich in oil, with adjacent lots selling for around $4,000. But the Senator was able to acquire it from the company appearing before his Committee for the price of $2,500 per acre. Immediately after that purchase, a neighboring businessman had written the same sugar company offering to purchase another adjacent four acres for $2,500 per acre and the offer was declined.

When the column had questioned Senator Ellender about the matter, he said that he had bought the land for the purpose of building a home for his son and did not consider that he had received any favors from the sugar company or that he was under any obligation to the company. Mr. Pearson relates that Mr. Talbott, when asked by Senator Ellender's colleagues about contracts he had gotten from defense companies, had said the same thing.

Walter Lippmann tells of the insurrection in South Korea, instigated the previous week by Premier Syngman Rhee, having reflected his frustration and despair over that which had occurred at Geneva, with Secretary of State Dulles having said to him that "we do not believe the partition [of Korea] ought to be resolved by resort to force." While U.S. policy continued to protect South Korea from invasion by North Korea, the Secretary ruled out Premier Rhee's fantasy that he could somehow involve the U.S. in a war for the unification of his country.

The Dulles formula meant that no change could occur by force, the only means of unification which Premier Rhee understood. Mr. Lippmann indicates that were Dr. Rhee a more enlightened statesman, interested in making South Korea a model of efficient and humane, free government, there would be a fair prospect of uniting the country eventually under his regime, but that as things stood, there was no telling how popular sympathies were running under the surface of his dictatorship, though his behavior conveyed the notion that it was not running in his favor.

The Geneva conference meant that for the time being, it was not in the vital interests of the major powers to change the status quo, equating to an acknowledgment that for an indefinite time, the U.S. was prepared to live with the partition of Korea, the containment of the Nationalists in Formosa, and with the division of Germany. That was a radical change in the world situation, as the great powers had never before agreed not to use force to change the existing circumstances. Such an acceptance of a military stalemate would compel the U.S. to rethink a number of its ideas, one being the assumption that the revolutionary movements all over the world originated in Moscow and would disappear if Moscow could be made to behave, a false assumption, as there were revolutionary movements, some overt and some latent, in large parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America. While all of them had been encouraged, and many assisted, or at least profitably exploited, by Moscow, they would happen regardless of Moscow's assistance, and would continue to occur even amid the spirit of Geneva.

Mr. Lippmann finds certain common elements in these revolutionary movements, one being that the country where they occurred had not been self-governing, and, with few exceptions, its leaders had been trained as agitators for independence rather than as governors and administrators. Another common theme was that the country's economy was colonial in nature, a producer of raw materials exported to more highly industrialized countries, and the struggle against poverty was a struggle to transform that colonial economy into an industrial economy. To carry out that transformation successfully, the country had to have a strong and efficient government. Those fundamental conditions, he finds, were the real reasons why Russia and now Communist China attracted the attention of and exercised such influence over the local politicians and intellectuals of those countries. The Soviet Union was the living example to the undeveloped countries of how a backward country could become industrialized rapidly, whereas the liberal democracies, with their capitalist economies, could not hope to compete with that rapidity of change. An Asian or African country in a hurry to make the transformation, had to find the Communist formula much more appealing for its quickness.

He posits that the more successfully the great powers ruled out resort to military force, the more the U.S. would be challenged by the subtler problems of the great upheaval. The formula of Secretary Dulles ruled out Communist intervention to support a Communist revolution, but it also eliminated Western intervention to aid governments in putting down internal insurrections. The net result would almost certainly be an intensified rivalry for making friends in each country engaged in that political and economic transformation, as each such country would be ruled by those who appeared most likely to transform it. He concludes that it was likely that the West was entering a period when it had to win admission to the countries where until recently it had been master.

Robert C. Ruark, still in Palamos, Spain, tells of his friend, Art Buchwald, having done "his usual fine, snide, dead-pan job on the carrot-munchers", the vegetarians. He finds that it figured because Mr. Buchwald was a big game hunter, although slightly myopic.

Mr. Buchwald was honest with quotes and had gotten one from Mrs. Clarence Casque, president of the vegetarians, who had said: "The vegetable way of life teaches us to live in harmony with the law of life because of the cosmic laws that vibrate through the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms. There is one vibration going through them all, and if we kill or destroy our contact with this vibration we separate ourselves from it. If we partake of ripened things we do not break this law, but are in harmony with it."

Mr. Ruark believes that view unfair to carrots and cabbages, for he does not understand how a vegetarian could know that a cabbage did not hate to have its head cut off or that a carrot did not mind being yanked out of the ground and stripped of its clothes, then run through a mincer to reduce it to juice for vegetarians. He says, as "a keen aficionado of what the veggies call 'vulture food'", that is meat, he controlled his emotions over the plight of a four-year old steer which had been cannibalizing "innocent corn" for some weeks in a stockyard pen, for if that steer would eat that "poor dead corn", he deserved "to get rapped over the skull with a maul, and to show up as a sirloin along with some murdered potatoes, swimming with butter. Butter, you know, is only milk that has been hijacked from a cow, and beaten into submission."

He assures that he has nothing personal against vegetarians, that if a person wanted to eat grass, then they could, but he wishes that they would not be so vehement about exhorting the multitudes to do likewise. He says that the Good Book stated that it was all right to eat meat and that he would stick by that directive. "Besides, I got a tame turnip I been raising as a pet, to where it comes when I call, and sleeps across my feet, and I would just as soon think of assassinating one of the dogs."

A letter writer from Lincolnton indicates that he had never heard of playwright Paul Green of Chapel Hill until he had read his open letter to Governor Luther Hodges, indicating that he might be retained by the NAACP. (Actually, in the letter, he did not mention the NAACP, only criticizing the Governor's speech ten days earlier, urging to parents voluntary continuation of segregation in the state's public schools to avoid the Brown v. Board of Education decision's ban of forced or coercive segregation by the state as unconstitutional.) He says that Mr. Green had been wrong on his estimate of Charles B. Aycock, turn-of-the-century Governor of the state, known for his progress in public education. The writer says that he remembered Governor Aycock's campaign, as the state was in the throes of one of its Republican backslides, electing a Governor and two U.S. Senators, with several blacks having been appointed to office under that Republican regime. Mr. Aycock had made his campaign on the platform of white supremacy and had gone about declaring that the state had to be delivered from black domination. "He surely would not have given aid and comfort to such an organization as the NAACP."

A letter writer says that she had watched her little daughter skip through the backyard a few minutes earlier to take a shortcut to the Brownie Day Camp being held a few blocks away, whereupon, midway through the yard, she had stopped to admire a waterlily in full bloom in the fish pond and to exclaim in delight as a huge butterfly discovered it at almost the same instant, eventually skipping on through the gate, where she said, "Bye, Mommie!" The previous week, she relates, her daughter was in Vacation Bible School where she repeated the traditional Pledge of Allegiance, as well as the Pledge of Allegiance to "the Christian flag and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands: one brotherhood, uniting all mankind in service and love." She was still learning to be a good citizen at Brownie camp and had not learned to hate "even though certain types of people are trying to keep hate legislated against her." Her daughter wondered why she could not go to city amusement parks which barred blacks. Her mother did not tell her that "superior beings" owned and operated those parks, as it would be a gross untruth. Nor did she tell her that it was because she was an inferior being, as that would blaspheme her Maker, and would be an even greater untruth. She wonders what black mothers could use as an explanation to their children when they began to notice such inequalities. They refused to teach them hatred of any other human being and emphasized that they were Americans in every true sense of the word, and, as Americans, were entitled to every phase of American life, notwithstanding the fact that blacks were denied their basic freedoms in certain areas only because of their color. "But first we emphasize the fact that we are Christian American Negroes and there is no greater heritage on earth." She says that they held up to the children with pride American blacks who had achieved greatness in spite of handicap, then would take them as early as possible to an Eastern, Northern, Midwestern or Western state where they could see democracy at work. There, the children did not ask those difficult questions, and the parents could explain that people were what they were taught. "Wherever you go, don't forget your American heritage. Walk proudly with God; get the best education you can get and fight within the law of the land and within the laws of God for your rights as American citizens."

A letter writer from Myrtle Beach, S.C., says that during Hurricane Connie, he had met the newspaper's photographers and reporter and that they were "nice boys". He agrees with most, if not all, of that which had been written by a previous letter writer, but finds that most advocates of racial desegregation ignored the fact that the South was not New York and its "filthy slums", rather was the place "where people don't care to be pushed around even by the politicians on the Supreme Court." He finds that the point was that "until the Negro has brought himself up to the point of citizenship and stops all the cuttings and rough stuff so well known to many of us, well just that long will equality lag behind him."

The nice white prisoners out in Lincoln, Neb., had comported themselves with dignity, eschewing all the rough stuff. We assume that they were all white, as they were not labeled "Negroes".

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