The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 20, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that flooding had occurred in the Northeastern states for the second straight day this date, leaving 105 known dead and property damage estimated in the billions, the worst such catastrophe ever to hit the region, involving seven states, leaving thousands homeless, roads in shambles and whole communities covered in ruins. The stampeding Delaware River and its tributaries was still hitting towns below New York and New England, where cleanup was taking place. Pennsylvania had taken the worst beating, with 51 known dead and at least 70 missing from water-flooded camps and homes. Connecticut listed 30 dead, Massachusetts, 11, New Jersey, five, New York, four, Virginia, two, and Rhode Island, one. As civil defense organizations, the Red Cross, and the armed forces put emergency units into high gear, an indication of the extent of the misery came in an overnight report of supplies sent by the Army, which is continued on another page.

The President had qualified North Carolina for Federal aid to repair damage caused by Hurricane Diane earlier in the week, after he had declared regions of the state hit by Hurricane Connie the prior week as a major disaster area, allocating one million dollars for relief. Governor Luther Hodges had asked the President for permission to use some of that money to repair damage from the second storm, which the President approved the previous day.

Governor Hodges planned to fly over North Carolina's coastal areas this date to obtain a look at the damage caused by Diane, and later in the day would meet with Representatives Herbert Bonner and others regarding steps to help farmers and small businessmen who had incurred losses from the storms. The Governor had made an aerial review the previous Monday to examine the damage caused by Connie. Senator Kerr Scott announced that the FHA had declared 28 eastern counties of the state, where farm crops were dealt severe blows by the hurricanes, as disaster areas, with emergency loans being made immediately available to farmers impacted by the storms in those counties. The Senator said that much of the damage had been caused by salt water flooding crop lands and that gypsum had to be applied to those lands to eliminate the salt content before they would again support crop growth. The State Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Committee had a policy of furnishing half of the cost of the gypsum, with the remainder being borne by the farmer.

Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina this date urged against parsimony when providing protection against storms. Brig. General E. C. Itschner, head of the Army Corps of Engineers, stated during the week that any shore, almost anywhere, could be protected from hurricane ravages, but that the cost would be "staggering". Immediately following Hurricane Hazel of the prior mid-October, Senator Ervin had inspected the North Carolina coastal areas and visited farm sections damaged by winds and rain, and was later among the members of Congress who worked to increase appropriations for radar devices to track down and give early warnings of major storms such as Hazel. He said that the improved forecasting of hurricanes saved many lives. Commenting on the recent Hurricanes Connie and Diane, both of which had hit North Carolina, albeit Diane having caused relatively little damage and no reported deaths or serious injuries, Senator Ervin said, "No more attention has ever been given to approaching disaster than the Weather Bureau now gives hurricanes." The Army engineers were drafting plans for construction to minimize property damage and loss of life from such major storms, probably resulting in recommendations that local areas subject to such storms modify zoning laws and impose strict building codes.

In Casablanca, French Morocco, bloody fighting had broken out this date in the "tin can" towns which housed tens of thousands of Moroccan workmen in the outskirts of the city, with one French Army sergeant reporting that at least six had died. The tendency, however, among official sources was to minimize the trouble. At least six others had died in other parts of Morocco. It was reported quiet this date in Rabat, the capital. During the night, some 2,000 Berber horsemen from the Atlas Mountain wilderness had ridden into Khenifra, 122 miles southeast of Casablanca, where 11 Moroccans had been slain the previous day in clashes with the French, but were reported withdrawing to the hills around the town, as French security forces appeared to take control. Two years earlier this date, the French had exiled Nationalist Sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef from the Moroccan protectorate, and during the previous week, the French had moved in extra gendarmes, soldiers, marines and paratroopers to counter possible Nationalist rioting. The first hint of a developing major disorder had come during the night from Khenifra, as the 2,000 half-wild Zaian tribesmen had ridden toward the town of 11,000 people. Public sympathy was running strongly in favor of Ben Youssef, and against the present Sultan, Ben Moulay Arafa, picked by the French to take over after the exile of the former two years earlier. Thirteen Moroccans had been killed and 34 wounded in rioting the previous day, and two French police inspectors had been ambushed and wounded.

The United Mine Workers Union confirmed this date that its national policy committee was being convened late during the afternoon to ratify a new wage contract with the Bituminous Coal Association, with no details being provided, but it being reported that the agreement called for a two dollar per day wage increase to be provided in two increments. The Association represented Northern commercial and captive mines owned by the steel industry, employing approximately 125,000 of the approximately 200,000 soft-coal miners of the nation. UMW president John L. Lewis and the head of the Association, Harry M. Moses, had secretly reached an agreement in 1952 and the rest of the industry had accepted it, although the Southern coal mine owners had done so only reluctantly. The new agreement would replace that agreement. Miners presently received $18.25 as their basic daily wage, and the two-stage increase would raise that to $19.45 on September 1 and to $20.25 the following April 1.

In Red Bluff, Calif., a custody fight loomed over the 2 1/2-year old son of one of the freed 11 airmen who had spent 2 1/2 years in Communist Chinese custody after being shot down during the Korean War, on the trumped-up claim that they had been engaged in espionage. The airman in question, whose wife had remarried after she presumed that he had been killed, had never seen his son until recently. The previous day, he filed a divorce complaint against his wife on the basis of her remarriage and decision not to end the second marriage, seeking custody of his boy, charging his wife with being an "unfit mother" and with "extreme cruelty". The two had recently met in Nevada City, Calif., in an attempt to reconcile their marriage, but those attempts had obviously failed. The husband's attorney said that the wife would not consent to giving up their son. Meanwhile, the wife and her second husband continued living apart, as both considered it inappropriate to live together until the matter was settled. The freed airman had been quoted the previous week, after meeting with his wife, that she had done a "terrific job" in raising the little boy, pointing out that it was not easy for her to bring up a child by herself. The papers would soon be served on his wife, as soon as she was located, as she was presently hiding somewhere in the San Jose area with the little boy, who referred to her second husband as "daddy".

In Detroit, a policeman and his shotgun-wielding assailant were killed in a 15-minute gun battle this date in a Westside rooming house. A report of a drunk with a gun had led police to the scene, at which point a 29-year old patrolman was killed by a 33-year old construction worker, wielding a shotgun, with the construction worker then killed by police. The man had apparently come to Detroit the previous night to kill his wife, who had left their home in Shelbyville, Ind., on August 11, accompanied by their four small children, and moved into a flat with her sister in Detroit. Five police officers had responded to the call at the house, and four had turned one way, while the fatally struck officer had gone the other, hit by the shotgun blast. The other officers tossed in teargas and the assailant leaned out a window, whereupon he was shot fatally.

In Ballater, Scotland, Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth, hid her romantic secrets behind an impish smile this date and joined thousands of curious at a church bazaar on the eve of her 25th birthday, at which point she would be free to marry whom she wished, without the Queen's consent. Wearing a tartan skirt and sweater, she had departed Balmoral Castle in a station wagon, driven by a hatless young man whom no one in the crowd recognized, and sped to nearby Abergeldie Castle to sell knickknacks at a stall for the benefit of Crathie Church. A few minutes earlier, Queen Elizabeth, driving a big black limousine, left the castle. Princess Margaret appeared unruffled by worldwide speculation over whether she would marry Group Capt. Peter Townsend, 40, wartime pilot and divorced father of two children. Birthday cards and telegrams by the thousands poured into Balmoral Castle and British national newspapers, commenting on the rumors of romance, were sympathetic. The young man driving the station wagon was probably Keith Moon. It's all a ghostly tale now

A series of three photographs show the young David Eisenhower receiving lessons from his grandfather in golf, fishing, and horseback riding in Colorado. Where's Dick, his "boy"?

On the editorial page, "How Much of a Menace Are Actors?" tells of the House Un-American Activities Committee, now chaired by Congressman Francis Walter of Pennsylvania, looking into second-rate actors in New York, with an eye toward how they might be influencing audiences with propaganda straight out of the Kremlin.

It finds actors to be no more worthy of such scrutiny than the average baker regarding their relative ability to influence audiences with Communist propaganda, that writers, producers and directors might conceivably spread "a little subtle subversion here and there" if they ever wanted to do so, but that actors had no such ability and posed no threat to national security. "His own particular brand of suckerhood certainly deserves no greater attention than the foolish actions of offstage Americans who fall into communism's baited trap."

It also indicates that there never had been the slightest suggestion that the American theater was in any way dominated by Communists.

It does not comment that, in addition to stage actors, the Committee was also during the week focusing on that other primary source of Communist propaganda, permeating the unsuspecting minds of all the innocent little children and teenagers of the country, folk singers, brandishing their songs which subtly insinuated to the young that if only they had a sickle and hammer...

To be on the safe side, one should listen only to wholesome church music, lest you wake up one morning involuntarily pink, a commonest, which is why they call it "folk music".

"Abolish the Intellectual Vacuum" congratulates the local "Freedom Agenda", a project of the Carrie Chapman Catt Memorial Fund, Inc., of the League of Women Voters, with the purpose of holding six weekly meetings the following January and February to educate citizens of the community anent individual civil liberties and the Constitution.

It finds that if it would help create a keener social conscience in Charlotte and a better understanding of the forces threatening individual liberties, it would perform an enduring public service. It suggests that there had been a need for such gatherings for some time, but that most community organizations had steered away from such subjects in the past, afraid of stirring up controversy. It finds that such questions should not be suppressed, that getting them out into the open was the best way to educate the populace regarding their rights and responsibilities. "Freedom perishes in an intellectual vacuum."

"Relaxation" indicates that the President's "need for relaxation" was the reason he had taken a vacation from White House drudgery, with his Wednesday schedule at his Colorado retreat, as provided by the Associated Press, including three solid hours of fly-casting for trout in the cold St. Louis Creek, practicing his golf game from a makeshift tee, painting a mountain scene, and then performing almost all of the cooking for his party, as well getting in quite a bit of work on top of it.

It concludes: "Relaxation? Whew!"

"Needed: A Junket for Taxpayers" tells of Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana saying that there should be a law requiring members of Congress to travel abroad to educate themselves regarding "global responsibilities" faced by Congress, notwithstanding the fact that the taxpayers paid the bill for such "junkets", a term the Senator did not like. He also believed that the members should get around the United States more.

It indicates that the suggestion reminded of a Southern Senator traveling abroad having called the American embassy in a European capital and demanded of senior personnel that they hold a cocktail party at which he could meet and talk with embassy employees. At the time, as now, Congress was curtailing diplomatic funding for entertainment purposes, especially when liquor was involved. Faced with that budget crunch, the embassy chief had instead thrown the party utilizing his personal funds, and when the Senator arrived, the latter spent the evening conversing with one employee from his home state, while scores of others stood around drinking the whiskey. A week afterward, the embassy staff was dismayed to read that upon arriving in New York, the Senator had publicly attacked whiskey-drinking in high places in the overseas embassies.

It indicates that nevertheless, Senator Capehart had a point, with the only fault being that instead of members of Congress, the country should send ordinary taxpayers abroad at Government expense so that they might bring back more insight regarding their global responsibilities. "After all, the people are sovereign and congressmen are but their instruments of power."

"Be-Smogged" indicates that, in addition to Senate Minority Leader William Knowland, California also had another Senator, Thomas Kuchel, who had proposed during the week that the Weather Bureau stop calling hurricanes by female names and use instead labels such as "acrimonious or aggressive, belligerent or bilious."

It finds that there was nothing wrong with the Senator attracting some publicity and maybe some female votes with his suggestion, but it prefers that he leave the naming of hurricanes to the East Coast, and declares that if they wanted to name them after females, it was their business. "Besides, wouldn't Sarah be a pretty name for smog?"

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "The Best Place To Live", tells of several different places across the country in which artists had chosen to live, such as Igor Stravinsky, Arthur Rubenstein and Aldous Huxley having chosen Hollywood, the late Thomas Mann having preferred Switzerland, Ernest Hemingway having settled in Cuba, Carl Sandburg, in Flat Rock, N.C., Paul Green in Chapel Hill, and Lucius Beebe in Virginia City, Nev. Herbert Hoover and Douglas MacArthur had chosen the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

It tells of Archibald MacLeish having provided text for pictures of a feature article appearing in Look Magazine recently, showing different parts of the country from coast to coast. "We are a seeking the sort of people descended from restless and far-ranging forebears. Some of us are enchanted with the sea-and-mountain beauty of Japan, some with the exhilaration of Mexico City; Alaska and Hawaii have their devotees; others follow the rather general call of the wild as far as Bali."

It posits, however, that North Carolinians did not have to travel far from home to find places to live to their hearts' content, indicating that Bishop Spangenberg had concluded that he had reached the promised land for his Moravians when he arrived in the foothills of the state, where he founded the town of Salem, and that William Byrd had felt likewise when he arrived at a point where the Roanoke River came down from Virginia into North Carolina. "Both were men of perspicacity and could have been right."

That is, until some bright people got the bright idea of trying to convert the entire state into one big parking lot and paved over much of that "paradise" with strip malls and other hideous examples of post-modernity. It may be a developer's dream, but for the public at large, it constitutes blight on the landscape. And now, as all the strip malls begin to close down, what is left is even worse blight, empty and decaying strip malls amid weeded-over parking acres, which no one has the incentive to remove and create in their stead, maybe, a park of some sort. That, after all, would not be prudent business, the developer's dream awaiting some new, prudent investment strategy.

Drew Pearson continues his series of columns on lobbying and conflicts of interests, addressing the investigation being undertaken by the House Interstate Commerce Committee chaired by Congressman Emanuel Celler, focusing on Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks and his employment of so-called WOC businessmen, the initials standing for "without compensation", previously called dollar-per-year men because they had been paid one dollar for part-time services to the Government while still working at their regular company jobs, the present incarnation receiving $15 per day in expense stipends but no actual salary, while still maintaining their positions at their companies.

The House investigation concerned these WOC operatives favoring their own companies and providing confidential information to them, as well as actively proceeding against competitive companies in a scandalous manner. Mr. Pearson recounts an example involving a representative of the Kimberly-Clark Paper Products Co., providing to his company confidential information which he was slated to provide before a Congressional committee on behalf of the Commerce Department, which related to a competitor, Scott Paper Co., enabling an advantage for Kimberly-Clark.

The Kimberly-Clark representative told the Committee that he did not believe there was anything wrong with providing the information from the confidential report to his own company, despite it relating directly to a competitor. Mr. Celler thought otherwise, however, telling him that if he thought there was nothing wrong with that practice, then he did not comprehend what was meant by "WOC employee" of the Government.

A letter writer responds to a previous letter writer of August 15, who had criticized the City for contemplating the employment of a smoke engineer for the purpose of smoke abatement, indicating that as a native of Pittsburgh, long known as "the smoky city", she felt justified in telling the world the wonders which a smoke control program could perform, enabling Pittsburgh residents in the previous few years to hold their heads high and speak with pride of the smokeless city, which was now cleaner and more attractive and far more salubrious than prior to the program. She indicates that the few times she had gone to Charlotte at night the previous winter, it had brought back memories of Pittsburgh as it once was, and so she congratulates the City Council for their awareness of the need for a smoke abatement program and for doing something about it.

A letter writer from Rutherfordton responds to a letter of August 15 regarding Hurricane Connie, suggesting that perhaps the previous writer had experienced a hurricane or typhoon, as this writer had, saying that it was difficult to describe the feeling of horror which he felt at the time. He congratulates the newspapers and radio for their up-to-the-minute bulletins during the hurricane, with some stations having remained on the air for 24 hours per day to inform the people of its course, that even if it had saved a single life, it was worthwhile.

A letter writer indicates that in reading many of the letters to the editor, she was unable to distinguish whether it was the Yankee or blacks whose deportation was being sought, one writer having stressed that "the Negro didn't want to be a Negro", this writer indicating that blacks should be proud of their race, as they were not inferior to any race and could at least trace their ancestry, asking how many whites could trace their ancestry. She says that she was Dutch, Irish, Scotch, French, English and Indian, with the only native part being her Indian blood. The Yankee was proud to be a Yankee, "high principled, believing in the unity of all America regardless of race, creed or color." She suggests that most people were victims of circumstance, and had been torn from their ancestral country, much as had been blacks. There were bad people in all races, not reducing the integrity or patriotism of the good of any race. She relates that she had been recently waiting for a bus in a hard rain, when a black woman with an umbrella hastily stepped to her side and shared the umbrella with her, and they boarded the bus together, which had only one seat available, a two-passenger seat, that she had sat down while the black woman warily remained standing, at which point she invited the black woman to sit beside her, which the other had done hesitantly, "amid the glares and whispers of some." She had only paid for one seat, as had the black woman, and she wondered why she should sit while the black woman stood merely because of their difference in color. "Sure there are bad Negroes. There are bad white people, too. Why not maximize the good in all, and minimize peculiarities common to all races and people?"

A letter writer from Asheville indicates having read many news stories concerning school segregation and the advancement of colored people, that the previous day he had seen an article about Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the NAACP, from New York. He believes that Governor Luther Hodges was certain that the people of the state were behind him and that they knew he would handle matters fairly between whites and blacks. The Klan had been stopped for the time being, he indicates, and he wants to know why something could not be done to stop the NAACP "before it gets a lot of good, honest Negroes in trouble". "Now the NAACP says they will go to our school; their own school is not good enough for them anymore. Maybe with the help of the governor and every red-blooded Tar Heel we can scuttle the NAACP as was done to the KKK."

Sounds to us like you are a secret member of a Clannish organization of some sort. To compare the violence and dissemination of hatred of the Klan to the NAACP, which confined itself to bringing legal cases on behalf of black citizens facing discrimination of one sort or another, is patently absurd beyond words. Perhaps, you think the courts ought not be available to black citizens, or, for that matter, to any citizens, except those whom you would personally favor.

A letter writer from Badin indicates that as long as blacks were treated as second-class citizens, "while God placed us here in the world as he did the white race, there will always be a conflict or 'serious trouble'", quoting a previous letter writer from Norwood. This writer says that she knew of the conditions in Norwood, that whites had the privilege of going to school in their own communities throughout the grades, while black children from grades nine through twelve had to travel twelve miles to and from school because the high school grades were not provided in Norwood. "It's in the plans for us to march forward and God will move anyone or anything which is an obstacle to His plans." She says that it was not a matter of blacks wanting to mix with whites, but that after preparing themselves in most cases as thoroughly as they could, they were turned down for job opportunities because of race, and so were justified in raising an outcry. She finds that one form of cooperation between the races was paying of taxes, "but look at the results".

A letter writer responds to Robert C. Ruark's column of the prior Thursday, praising the ban of cats at night in Westbury on Long Island in New York, this writer saying that he had heard his owner reading aloud the column and that he would have given up his only meal per day for a "long, slow swipe of the paw (no motor running) at" Mr. Ruark. He says: "We cats have been organized for centuries—remember the Egyptians worshiped us? And the Tom-Cat Guild is especially strong internationally." The letter goes on in that vein, signing it as "Sidney", and providing an owner's postscript, that he was presenting Sidney's letter on his behalf as he felt outraged by the Ruark column.

A letter from the publicity director of "The Sword of Gideon" expresses appreciation on behalf of the Kings Mountain Little Theater, Inc., for the cooperation of the newspaper in spreading the word about the outdoor drama, informing that they had voted to discontinue the production with the end of the current season, that decision not having to do with lack of success or audience acceptance of the program, but as a result of it. They were a nonprofit undertaking and had regularly played to an average attendance of 400 people for each performance for five years, more than 25,000 in all, making the show an outstanding success for any voluntary non-professional production.

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