The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 25, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the suggestion by Senator Kerr Scott of North Carolina that an atomic bomb might be detonated within a hurricane to diminish its force or change its course had been raised recently by a Texas petroleum geophysicist in a letter to Senator Lyndon Johnson, who had passed the matter on to the U.S. Weather Bureau experts, the chief of the Bureau having sent a reply letter to Senator Johnson released this date, saying that the possibility of such experiments had been given considerable study and that from all they knew, the explosion of an atomic bomb within a hurricane would more likely increase its intensity than decrease it and that the amount of effect in any event would be negligible, that hurricane winds and vertical air motions covered an area of several thousand square miles, such that it would take several atomic bombs of the Hiroshima type to have any effect on a hurricane, and that even if winds were stopped momentarily, the natural release of energy would be sufficient to restore the winds within about 15 minutes to full force. The Bureau's chief also stated that the danger of resultant fallout from the number of bombs it would theoretically take to have any impact on the course of such a storm would be too great, placing the proposal beyond consideration at present.

In Miami, Fla., the fifth hurricane of the season, Edith, was reported to be over the open Atlantic Ocean this date, with one of the top weather experts predicting that its winds would have a force of 125 mph or more by the following Saturday. The chief storm forecaster for the Weather Bureau's Hurricane Center in Miami said that Edith's winds at present were at about 80 mph, centered 550 miles northeast of Puerto Rico, about 1,500 miles southeast of Miami and the same distance south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. He said that the storm was smaller and more concentrated than either Hurricanes Connie or Diane, but that it had the same general spawning ground as had the previous two storms, although Edith had moved farther west in wave form than the others before spinning into a hurricane. The Bureau believed that there was some persistent factor in the area causing the storms to develop there, farther north than the usual breeding ground. The forecasters predicted that the storm would move in a westerly direction, either northwest or west-northwest, for at least the ensuing two days, along the same route followed by Connie and Diane. Its forward movement was west-northwesterly at about 13 mph, with gales extending outward 150 miles to the north and east and 50 miles to the south and west from its center.

The Government provided money and manpower to the flood-stricken Northeast this date after advance approval by Congressional leaders of an overall plan for use of funds and resources already available to several Government agencies, which would look to Congress for reimbursement the following year. White House press secretary James Hagerty said that it meant that a special session of Congress would not be required. The Red Cross raised its disaster appeal goal from five million to eight million dollars because of the extensive flooding. It said that at least 702 homes had been demolished and more than 14,000 heavily damaged by the flooding from Hurricane Diane, and that its latest count showed that 10,562 families were homeless and dependent on charity for survival. It said that a virtual deluge of gifts had come to the Red Cross after the President and other officials had made appeals for help in meeting the crisis.

The Government's Public Health Service this date blamed the Cutter Laboratories polio vaccine contamination on "fundamental weaknesses" in its own now-discarded safety testing procedures and said that new standards provided adequate safeguards against infective amounts of live virus again being injected into healthy children. The report, following a four-month investigation, said that some lots of the Cutter vaccine contained live virus and had caused polio, but that scientists had been unable to determine the exact reasons why the live virus had been present. The report effectively cleared Cutter, located in Berkeley, Calif., of any negligence by indicating that nothing in the laboratory was found to suggest that the infective amounts of live virus in the vaccine were attributable to contamination. Use of the Cutter vaccine had been suspended the prior April 27 after a number of children who had been inoculated with it had developed polio, and subsequently, use of the Salk vaccine made by other manufacturers had also been held up pending new tests. A Cutter spokesman expressed relief at the report and said that the company intended to continue manufacturing the Salk vaccine, though it had not yet applied for release of vaccine it presently had on hand.

The Air Force announced this date plans for initial occupancy of Seymour Johnson Air Base in Goldsboro, N.C., by early the following year, with contracts totaling ten million dollars having been awarded for construction at the base, for which Congress had authorized a total of 20.9 million. Personnel at the base were expected to reach 3,300, with 10 percent of that number being civilians and the remainder military.

In Goldsboro, Senator Scott, speaking before a local farm group, this date urged the sale of surplus farm commodities to Russia and China and other Communist nations, saying that it would "solve our surplus agricultural commodities problem without even a paper loss to the American taxpayer" and would provide proof that America was a "Christian nation and is concerned about the welfare of hungry and ill-clothed people in whatever land they may live." He said that if the time had come to trade vital military information with Communist countries, as the President had proposed at Geneva recently, then the time had come when it was safe and proper to sell the nation's surplus agricultural commodities to such needy people behind the Iron Curtain. He said that the sales could be made for either cash or in kind for items and raw materials needed by the U.S. He also said that Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson had been "dabbling in the cheese market", involving 68 million pounds of cheese and profits of more than two million dollars "for a tight little group of buddy-buddies on the inside." He said that the cheese had been sold to the Government by that little group of insiders and just a few days afterward, they had repurchased it at a much lower price, while the cheese had never left the warehouses, had been only a paper transaction which had cost American taxpayers over two million dollars.

In Saco, Me., an 11-year old girl's naked and battered body had been found in woods early this date and a police sergeant said that a 15-year old boy had admitted killing the child, who was reported missing by her parents late the previous day. The boy was being held without charge after leading police to the body in the woods. Another boy had told police that he had seen the missing girl the previous day in the company of the boy being held. Police said that she had died about three hours before her body was discovered and that the immediate cause of death appeared to be exposure.

In Southbridge, Mass., which had been hit by some of the heavy flooding from Diane, a wedding occurred in which the bride, 18, wore the only dress which she had not lost during the flood and the groom wore his National Guard fatigue uniform, being haggard from long duty in the flood rescue and recovery efforts. The couple knelt on pieces of cardboard in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church to protect them from flood waters. They had planned a stylish wedding with formal attire and scores of invited guests, but only a handful of people could reach the church after the flooding. A reporter gave the bride away the previous night because her father had become ill after the flood, and another reporter had served as altar boy, while a newspaper photographer was one of the official witnesses. They were married by candlelight, as there was no electricity in parts of the town. They had been on their way to the church the prior Friday when the flood waters engulfed their car, after which they were rescued by police, who brought them to a nearby house, from which they later had to be evacuated with a rope thrown to them by a friend. They then rowed to the church in a boat and found it deserted and flooded. The couple would not be able to take a honeymoon at present, and the groom had to acquire a special pass from the National Guard to get married because he was on permanent guard duty for the duration of the emergency.

In Philadelphia, a 22-year old socialite who had eloped with a Miami motorcycle policeman the prior June 24 without her family's consent, had been found dead the previous night under circumstances described by police as unusual. She was the daughter of the vice-president of Food Fair, Inc., a large grocery chain on the East Coast. She had died in the apartment of long-time friends during a social visit. She had received nationwide publicity in June when she had run off unexpectedly with the 29-year old Miami police officer, whom she had known only for a few weeks. A doctor, who lived near the apartment where the woman died, had pronounced her dead and said that he was unable to determine her cause of death. Occupants of the apartment said that she had been separated from her husband, who was in Miami.

In Portland, Ore., the airman who had been released from Communist Chinese custody recently, along with ten other airmen who had been shot down during the Korean War and held as spies, and whose wife had remarried in the meantime thinking that her husband was dead, had now apparently reconciled with his wife and the couple were happy. The airman had recently filed for divorce in California and was seeking custody of their child who was born while he was still in captivity.

In Charlotte, Pat Lesser of Seattle led the remaining field in the USGA Women's Amateur Golf Championship this date, taking place at Myers Park Country Club, having the previous day won her second extra-hole match in as many days, with the competition narrowed to eight participants, who were set to square off this date in the afternoon. The semifinals would be played the following day and the 36-hole championship round would take place on Saturday.

On the editorial page, "Public Schools Sit on Middle Ground" indicates that if one thing had become clear in the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education implementing decision of May 31, it was that the middle ground where public schools could be preserved was steadily being eroded by the voices and actions of extremists. In the address to the people a couple of weeks earlier by Governor Luther Hodges, he had expressed fear that the converging extremes would destroy the public school system patiently erected through the years, and it finds that the Governor's concern was being justified by subsequent occurrences.

In Raleigh the prior Tuesday, 356 North Carolinians, many of whom were prominent citizens, had chartered the Patriots of North Carolina, Inc., "to encourage the maintenance of the purity and culture of the white race and of Anglo-Saxon institutions." The group said that to the extent that state and civil authorities insisted on the status quo in the schools, it would support those authorities, but would also oppose any sort of accommodation to the Brown decision. It indicates that the organization had the right to express its views, but in exercising that right, had assumed a larger responsibility for the fate of the public school system, and that their inflexibility had suggested the same type of attitude being expressed by the NAACP in its demand for immediate integration. It suggests that the effect of those standards could be to complicate efforts of school boards to work out a solution to the problem.

The same sort of attitude was being displayed in renewed activity by the Klan and by circulation of the plan to establish private schools as a solution to the problem.

It finds all of those potential solutions only to be negative answers to the question of how to preserve the public schools, and that only moderation and patience to find a solution within the spirit of the law could assure continuing public education in the state.

Federal District Court Judge Ashton Williams had criticized both the Klan and the NAACP during the week, commenting on reported threats by both organizations, saying that the country was controlled by laws and that only through legal processes could any permanent gains be made. He stated that the desegregation of the public schools could be worked out by the independent white and black people, provided an intelligent approach was used.

State Attorney General W. B. Rodman had warned that citizens of the state could not assume that school segregation could be continued in private schools supported by public funds, as there was grave doubt that any such plan would pass Constitutional muster. Moreover, the implication of widespread private schools was that only the minority which could pay for their high cost could be educated.

It indicates that all citizens and organizations should concentrate their interests instead in their own communities, encouraging persons of good will of both races to recognize the primacy of preserving public education.

"Field Shakes Down at Myers Park" comments on the USGA's Women Amateur Championship golf tournament ongoing at the park during the week, with people all over the country watching the amateur women players challenge for what amounted to the World Series of women's golf.

It indicates that it was proud that Charlotte had been chosen as the site for the tournament and extends the participants the newspaper's best wishes, and also compliments the promoters, the Myers Park Country Club, and the workers in particular. It also provides kudos to the lone entry from Charlotte, Aggie Morton Cocke, who had already gone down to defeat, as well as to Estelle Lawson Page, from Chapel Hill, and to Barbara Romack of California, the defending champion, who had bowed out gracefully and skillfully. It indicates that at that point, it did not any longer have any favorite in the field, and would not know one from a caddie in any event, just wants to enjoy the show now that the field had narrowed.

"The Line Forms Almost Anywhere" indicates that the New York Times had reported that a London newspaper had published a letter of a citizen who had written that rationing and austerity had killed all initiative and individuality, stating: "Gather together a quorum of five average British people, men or women, and they will immediately form up in line astern, and if there be a convenient lamp-post near by, they automatically form up to it." The writer had been inspired by a newspaper story that hundreds of passengers with reserve seats had queued up in a railroad station an hour before a train was scheduled to depart. Another correspondent had remembered that when three Scandinavians had stopped to look at a map during the Festival of Britain, some 20 Britons had immediately formed a line behind them and stayed in line after the Scandinavians had departed. Yet another reader had remarked on seeing Britons lining up for drinks in a neighborhood pub, calling it "a most dreadful symbol of our age." He said that the imagination was boggled at the thought of a Frenchman queuing up for his aperitif.

It indicates that perhaps the gloom-tellers had buried individualism for good, but it recalls another report from London that the British, in their new normalcy, missed the closeness and unselfish concerns they had shared during wartime, and that if it was responsible for the queuing eccentricity, it meant, as an English teacher had remarked, "a real advance, one of the few, in civilized manners."

Dick Emmons, writing in the Wall Street Journal, in a piece titled "How To Make Children Eat Vegetables", tells of how he and his wife, convinced that having their children eat vegetables would make them big and strong enough to mow the lawn, had undertaken new measures in the "Fight To Get Food Down", one of their efforts having been to vary the containers in which the food was served, with the result that three stalks of asparagus had been consumed recently when presented in thin-stemmed rose vases. Brussels sprouts had been brought to the table in a souvenir seashell from the Chicago World's Fair, squash served in a goldfish bowl and green peas rolled onto the table from a dice shaker, also achieving good results with their children.

Whereas they had previously had to resort to forced feeding methods, such as ramming food into their children's mouths, succotash was now an instant hit when sipped through a short length of garden hose, and he had not seen his children push away broccoli served in an automobile hubcap.

He acknowledges that the system did not always work with older children, that in the previous few days, their seven-year old had blown the beets out of the bell-end of his old cornet and whacked her fist into the pocket of a catcher's mitt which was filled with stewed tomatoes, but says all was not lost with her, as, by painstaking experiment, he and his wife had learned that she was very fond of mashed turnips if they substituted ice cream for them.

Drew Pearson sarcastically apologizes to Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana for having underestimated his conflicts of interest in his August 17 column, wherein he related of the Senator having bought from a sugar company four acres of choice land for $2,500 per acre, a price which others could not obtain, after he had pushed through Congress a sugar bill revising import quotas, favoring the domestic sugar growers, the president of the company in question having been among those who had testified in favor of the bill before the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Ellender.

Now, he relates of the Senator having threatened Congressman Harold Cooley of North Carolina, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, that if Mr. Cooley did not pass the sugar quota bill in the House, then Senator Ellender would not pass the price support bill to increase parity, essentially pushing a bill which helped the cane and beet sugar companies while not being interested in the Cooley bill, which would help practically all farmers by providing higher price supports. Moreover, he had done something for which Senator Hiram Bingham of Connecticut had been officially censured by the Senate many years earlier, that is inviting lobbyists into an executive session of the Finance Committee while it was considering the sugar bill, when executive sessions were only to be attended by Senators and their executive assistants, with the public, press and representatives of private companies barred. Senator Ellender had not only invited one such lobbyist, but two, one from the American Sugar Beet Industry Policy Committee and the other from the American Sugar Cane League. Representatives of the Cuban sugar industry, as well as those from Mexico and Peru, also wanted to appear before the Finance Committee, having a great interest in sugar, the lifeblood of Cuba. Senator Ellender, however, would not admit those representatives, favoring only the two lobbyists for whom he had introduced the sugar quota bill.

Thus, Mr. Pearson reiterates his sarcastic apology for having underestimated what the Senator had done for the cane and beet sugar lobbyists in a time when Senator Ellender had obtained a choice piece of land at a cheap price from a sugar company.

He provides another illustration of conflict of interest, this one out of the Air Force, after the recent firing of Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott for his conflict of interest, indicating that 18 months earlier, in February, 1954, Mr. Pearson had called attention to the fact that the Air Force had hired the vice-president of Esso, W. W. White, to negotiate oil and gas purchases, though Mr. White had not divested himself of his holdings in Esso and some of his purchases had necessarily involved the old firm. In July, 1955, the House Armed Services Committee had begun investigation of that matter, denouncing Mr. White's conflict of interest. Mr. Pearson had since discovered some additional facts in the matter, that the hiring of Mr. White by the Air Force was even less understandable and more inexcusable, as it had not been made by regular Air Force officers but had been dictated from above, while Air Force officers had picked a career officer for the position, a person who was fully experienced in petroleum and qualified to handle Air Force purchases of petroleum, with no ties to any large corporation to divide his loyalty.

A letter from the president of the North Carolina Mental Health Association commends the newspaper for its efforts in disseminating information about mental health and for the importance it placed on the attempt to prevent and treat mental illness. It indicates that the State Mental Health Association, the local Mental Health Association and the national program could be expected to generate increasing interest in that work. He especially appreciates the contribution of $50,000 by the Smith, Kline & French Laboratories of Philadelphia to the National Association for Mental Health, the funds to be used by the Association to organize a "citizens army against mental illness." He indicates that no such army, except in skeletal form, existed within the state and readers were urged to join the state association, either directly or by affiliation through a local association.

A letter writer comments on the August 15 editorial, "The Scarecrow in Uptown Charlotte,", referring to the old Southern Railway station, which was outmoded and in need of replacement, presenting an eyesore to visitors to the city traveling by rail. He thinks the piece was somewhat below the belt by its comparison of the station to the new 1.3 million dollar air terminal at Douglas Airport, the latter having required a substantial investment on the part of the taxpayers. He questions whether the taxpayers would want to invest in a railway station, and questions how railroad revenue and employee salaries stacked up against those of the airlines. He admits being a railroad employee and that he was sticking by his friends, believes that the newspaper had somewhat distorted the picture.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., indicates his disagreement with some letter writers who claimed that blacks were being treated badly by whites in the South, finding disagreement with some of the statements made by the NAACP. He says he had lived in the region all of his life and knew from experience how blacks were treated by whites, questions what the status of blacks would be at present had it not been for them being brought to a civilized world, even though into slavery. He says that blacks should be proud that they were in the country and had to realize that there was a price to be paid for anything worthwhile. "Remember, the white race is the one who has helped Negroes ever since they came into this part of the world." He wonders how many world wars the black race had fought for freedom of the country. He says that the white race were still friends of the blacks if they would allow them to be, but that it seemed that they felt that they did not any longer need help or friends within the white race. He warns against biting the hand which fed them and not to allow anyone to plant in their minds that the white race were their enemies. He says that whites did not advance in culture by going to court to solve their problems, that they had gotten together and worked out a plan for the good of all, believes that if everyone came together and sought to solve matters peaceably, "instead of getting those who are not interested in our affairs or care anything about the South," then matters might be resolved.

A letter writer from Lincoln, Nebraska, thanks the newspaper for its article, titled "Don't Close the Other Fellow's Mouth", reprinted on page 72 of the September issue of The Democratic Digest.

The piece in question had appeared under another heading, as no such title or text exists for the newspaper in 1955.

A letter writer quotes what he deems to be the "very wise words" of some of the black leaders, such as those of Davis Lee, publisher of the Newark (N.J.) Telegram, who said: "Integration in the schools of the North and East is not a howling success. A Negro can attend most of the schools up here and get an education but few of the states that educate him will hire him as a teacher. The State of Connecticut doesn't have 25 Negro teachers. Recently I visited Albany, the capital of New York State, and learned that the city employs only three Negro teachers. Our city, Newark, with Negroes comprising 20 percent of the population, employs 2,200 teachers, but only 70 of them are Negroes, and we don't have one Negro principalship." The quote goes on at length in that vein and he indicates that the present movement to end segregation in the schools was "merely the beginning of a well laid plan to end completely segregation in everything in the South." Mr. Lee believed that if that happened, blacks would be thrown directly into competition with whites and the black business institutions would crumble, that currently, Southern blacks were in a better place educationally, politically and economically than blacks in any other place in the world, with race relations continually improving. The letter writer also quotes from Booker T. Washington: "In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress. The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than artificial forcing." He had also said that the division of the races was advantageous to blacks by permitting them to become teachers of their own people, that no better discipline to a people could occur than by becoming their own teachers, thus becoming "masters of their own fortunes." The letter writer encourages blacks to follow those words of advice.

Mr. Lee's quotes appear to have been circulating in the prints during 1955, as he, being no troublemaker, instead a good boy, thorough-ly good, with the right kind of name, did not mind being treated as a second-class citizen, having to enter the diner through the permission of the local police chief and through the side door or rear entryway. Why, that's just fine down heya. What do they want, equal treatment? They don't get no treatment up 'ere in the North, like as not get beat up.

And the letter writer fails to point out that the latter quote of Mr. Washington, also making the rounds among letters to the editors in 1955, indicative of being part of an organized setpiece of lobbying by segregationists in the South, was abstracted from a much longer piece appearing in Putnam's Monthly, published in October, 1907, and conveniently omitting the paragraph's immediately preceding sentence in which he expressly recognized that segregated schools in the South deprived black students of the same opportunities afforded white students; and that the first quote from Mr. Washington was from an address he gave in Atlanta in 1895, the year before the Supreme Court decided, 8 to 1, Plessy v. Ferguson, holding that "separate but equal" facilities could pass constitutional muster under the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, at a time when rocking the white supremacist boat in the South, especially in small towns of the Deep South, probably would result in lynching, certainly in warnings and then violence if persisting. Were the concepts of which Mr. Washington spoke in 1895 to remain a constant, in stasis, as this letter writer obviously suggests and desires, then there could be no societal progress toward integration of society, not in 60 years, not in 100 years, not in 500 years, instead persisting as constant and consistent subjugation, complete inertia, which ultimately sets up a caste system with lines extending well beyond mere race distinctions, casting its separate fingers into class, educational and economic differentiation as well, an atavism hearkening back to the Nineteenth Century way of life. Tea and crumpets? Oh, the privy? The privy is out back, madame.

A letter writer from Maxton responds to a previous letter writer who had stated that there was nothing blue about "blue laws", preventing establishments from operation on Sundays, this writer proposing to speak for those who believed in separation of church and state. She indicates her belief that God wanted it that way to give people the power of choice, that otherwise they would simply be robots, permitting people to see the results of sin and to be induced thereby to obedience through love and not force. She also raises the question of whether Sunday was actually the Sabbath, as the Commandment advised that it was on the seventh day, whereas Sunday was the first day of each week. She indicates that there was condemnation in the verses of the Bible for changing the Ten Commandments, citing some of those verses. She urges keeping the principles on which the country had been founded.

She refers obviously to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, prohibiting Congress, and via the Fourteenth Amendment, the states, from establishing a state religion, something the Founders learned was an evil from their time under the Crown in the colonies. It is simply a logically conditional necessity: If the government cannot establish a religion, the church and state are necessarily separate and distinct. There is nothing complicated about that concept except to morons who look for particular words in the Constitution and make brilliant statements such as: "It ain't there. I don't see it. Do you? Don't say nothin' about abortion rights or privacy neither. I don't want no privacy. Do you? And it sure do say that I got the right to keep and bear arms."

Actually, it is the totalitarian state which either permissively allows a particular religion to exist, thereby implicitly disallowing other forms of religious belief, or prescribes same, thus not recognizing separation of church and state, such as the old Soviet Union, which, while allowing certain churches to exist, doing so only with state approval, and holding as its officially sanctioned belief system the Marxist notion of dialectic materialism. (It is, by the way, "dialectical materialism" only in the halfwit, half-educated dumbass worlde of Wicked-pedia and blogosphere parrots of same. Didn't go to no college. Didn't need ta, 'cause smart enough after high skuul.)

There is always at work under the Constitution, however, a delicate balancing necessary to protect against government encroachment on the fundamental First Amendment individual liberty of freedom of religion, being careful to distinguish religious practices, not always entitled to protection when impinging on the rights of others or violating laws not specifically aimed at religious practices per se, from beliefs, always requiring protection.

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