The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 10, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Geneva that the U.S. and Communist China, in the fourteenth meeting between U.S. Ambassador Alexis Johnson and the Communist Chinese Ambassador, Wang Ping-nan, had reached final agreement this date on the release of American civilians held in China. A Communist Chinese spokesman stated after the conference that negotiations on the question of the remaining detained American civilians had been concluded and that the talks would continue on the second item of the agenda, "other practical matters at issue between the two sides", with details of the agreement to be disclosed jointly later this date. The ambassadors had been meeting periodically since August 1 and agreed to meet again the following Wednesday morning.

In Denver, it was reported that Republican state chairmen were placing pressure on the President to make an early announcement that he would run for a second term, to help them obtain better Republican candidates in state and national races. In advance of a breakfast conference with the President, the Republican chairmen had flown to Denver the previous night from Washington, and were unanimous in expressing the belief that the President would run again. RNC chairman Leonard Hall had told a press conference the previous night that he expected the same ticket to run again in 1956 as had run in 1952, and expressed the belief that the President would beat any nominee put forward by the Democrats by an even greater margin than in 1952. He said that Governor Averell Harriman of New York was "coming forth strongly as a presidential candidate", but stated he did not care whom the Democrats would nominate.

In Greensboro, N.C., a special three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court held that UNC could not discriminate on the basis of race in admission of students to its undergraduate programs. Thus, the University would have to process the applications of three black applicants, whose applications had been rejected by the Board of Trustees of the Greater University the previous April on the sole basis that qualified black students, while being admitted to the graduate and professional schools of the University, were still not being admitted to undergraduate programs of all-white institutions of the University—which included at the time, in addition to the Chapel Hill main campus, N.C. State in Raleigh and Woman's College in Greensboro. The Board would still retain power over determination of qualifications for admission, applicable to all students, regardless of race or color, but the ruling specifically forbade any discrimination based on race or color in general admission to the undergraduate programs. State Attorney General W. B. Rodman had represented the University, stating to the Court that the Trustees would comply with the order, but after the decision told reporters that it raised a serious question of policy as to what the State would do about its higher educational institutions. The Court ruled that Brown v. Board of Education applied not only to local public school grades one through twelve, as argued by Mr. Rodman, but also to undergraduate programs of a public university. The University had also sought to limit the scope of the Court's decision to the three individual plaintiffs who brought the case through the NAACP, but the Court ruled that it qualified as a class action which would apply to all future black applicants to the undergraduate programs of the University. Mr. Rodman had also made an argument that because no specific statute was involved in the ruling by the Board, the decision should be heard only by a single District Court judge and not by the special three-judge panel, but the Court determined from precedent that the three-judge panel was justified on the basis of an allegation that an administrative ruling had infringed constitutional rights, not limited only to infringement by a statute.

In Atlantic City, N.J., the Miss America pageant would select a winner this night, to receive $50,000 worth of prizes and personal appearances. Six preliminary winners held a commanding lead going into the finals, with the 11 judges to make their decision probably by around midnight, with the previous year's Miss America, Lee Meriwether of San Francisco, to crown the winner, based on beauty, talent and personality. It reviews the six winners of the preliminary competition and indicates that each had a good chance of being among the ten finalists to be announced when the final judging would begin this night. The finals would be televised on ABC, starting at 10:30 p.m. Bert Parks will be on hand to sing a song to the new Miss America for the first time, but not the last.

In Lillington, N.C., the judge and solicitor of Harnett County Recorder's Court had been named in indictments returned the previous day by a grand jury, with the judge indicted on one count of "attempting to discharge the business of Recorder's Court while under the influence of intoxicating beverages" and willfully corrupting his oath of office. The solicitor was accused of four counts of attempting to carry on business of the Recorder's Court while under the influence of alcohol, with three other counts accusing him of entering into agreements with defendants, while another count accused him of entering into an agreement with an attorney to dismiss cases. (That is called plea bargaining in most places, and is not only not indictable but actively encouraged by the policy to alleviate clogged dockets, unless corruptly done for some favor on the side, such as a free case of booze at Christmas—with a caveat due defendants that, as with some corruptly inclined merchants who first jack up their prices artificially before lowering them as "bargains", some prosecutorial agencies do likewise, overcharging in the original indictment or information before agreeing to the plea bargain.) The foreman of the grand jury said that there was evidence to support the charges that there had been free use of intoxicating beverages by county officials in court.

Emery Wister of The News reports that the Reverend Billy Graham would dedicate the 4.7 million dollar Auditorium and Coliseum complex the following day, helping Charlotte realize a dream which had been first formulated approximately 20 years earlier when the late Clarence Kuester, head of the Chamber of Commerce, had sought a new auditorium to replace the old Armory-Auditorium, which had since burned down the previous year. The original plan was to build an auditorium in the downtown area, but a site which had been available was eventually bought for erection of a nine-story building for the Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Co. Shortly after World War II had ended, the City resumed talks about building a new auditorium and the proposal had first gone before the voters in 1947 for approval of a 2.5 million dollar construction bond, which was defeated. For a time, the talk of establishing a new auditorium then died down, but David Ovens and others revived the discussion, confident that, eventually, the proposal would be approved by the voters. When Victor Shaw was elected Mayor in 1946, he had promised the voters he would see what could be done about building a new auditorium, and then, on taking office, appointed a committee to study the project, to determine the type of structure needed and how much money it would cost, with the committee soon reporting its findings to the City Council. Mr. Ovens had been a member of that committee, which ultimately recommended two buildings, one a large arena for such entertainments as ice shows, circuses, basketball games, and conventions, with another, smaller venue for plays and cultural entertainment.

Some 13,000 persons were expected to attend the dedication ceremonies the following day, with doors set to open at the Coliseum at 10:00 a.m. for the 2:30 program, with Rev. Graham as the principal speaker, followed by an entertainment show at the Auditorium beginning at 4:00, with 2,500 expected to attend the latter program. Those possessing free tickets would be seated first and those without tickets would be allowed to fill vacancies. Well, what if you don't get there until a little late and you have a ticket? There is something rotten in the state of Denmark.

In Brevard, N.C., Private John Fisher, formerly of the Confederate Army, would be laid to rest this date in Toxaway Cemetery, next to the grave of his father. He had been captured in Kentucky and imprisoned in Rock Island Barracks in Illinois, where he had died of smallpox in February, 1864 and was therefter buried. In 1921, his grandson of Brevard had begun searching for him, and in 1946, discovered that he had been buried in Illinois, in the interim the family having made arrangements for reinterment of their lost relative at Brevard. His family had erected a tombstone for him a long time earlier, and he would finally be placed beneath it. Private Fisher's father had been a member of the Continental Army and had been in the area when Lord Cornwallis had surrendered to General Washington at Yorktown.

Be sure and tune in tonight to the television premiere of "Gunsmoke", coming direct to your living room from the "Gomorrah of the Plains", so that you will have a better appreciation come tomorrow afternoon of what Rev. Graham is discussing.

Which brings to mind that this date in 2022, we heard an ad on the radio, coming from North Carolina, regarding the Senate race there, contending that the Second Amendment unequivocally gives the "right to keep and bear arms", in "plain English", and that the Republican candidate understands that language while the Democratic candidate favors all kinds of controls on your unfettered right to keep and bear arms. The NRA, not the Republican candidate, was, of course, the sponsor of the deceptive ad, which, as always with such propaganda, blinked in its haphazard reading the crucial dependent clause of the Second Amendment, regarding "a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state". In any event, we recommend to voters that if you are a sado-masochist and like reading about shootings in public places of gathering, and the killing of innocent people at random, a real wild West show on a weekly basis in Dodge City, then you should definitely vote for the Republican candidate. The NRA convinced us.

On the editorial page, "New Auto Safety Devices Offer Hope of Sharp Reduction in Accident Toll", a bylined piece by News editorial writer Perry Morgan, writing from Dearborn, Mich., tells of the automobile industry for years having been selling horsepower but now shifting to safety engineering, at least at Ford, which had sponsored a national safety conference in Dearborn to demonstrate its new safety devices for the 1956 cars and trucks it was about to release for sale to the public. Ford had developed five new optional equipment items designed to reduce the number and severity of accident injuries, providing impressive laboratory evidence that such devices would work, as long as the public would accept them. They included seat belts, steering wheels with the spokes projecting inward rather than flat, safety door latches, rearview mirrors made of safety glass, and padded instrument panels and sun visors. Some of those devices had been offered by other companies in the past without causing much of a stir. But the impact of the Ford program was in the newness and detail of the research behind the devices and the fact that the company was going to conduct a massive, deliberate effort to convince the public of their efficacy.

If it succeeded, then competitors would likely follow suit. Chrysler had already matched a Ford grant of $200,000 to Cornell University's crash research program. The basic research conducted by Ford would be available to the entire automobile industry.

Safety engineering had always had some place in the manufacture of automobiles, as with continually rising horsepower had come improved steering, brakes, tires and windshields, resulting in the accident rates per mile steadily declining. But the increased number of vehicles on the road and the increase in miles traveled had, nevertheless, caused highway death tolls and injuries to rise precipitously in recent years.

The safety concept introduced in the marketing campaign of Ford admitted the inevitability of accidents, seeking to protect the driver and passengers during the misshapened mishap. The safety door latch, for example, was designed to prevent passengers from being ejected from the car, at which point the chances of injury were doubled. The safety padding was designed to absorb and spread the force of someone being thrown into the dashboard or sun visors. The new steering wheel design was also intended to spread the force of impact and keep the driver from contacting the sharp steering post, not to mention the chrome-plated and often gaudily Jane-Russelled horn-ring for the entertainment of the booboisie as they drive their machines along, studying their bent reflections in the hyperbolic schism thus adduced à la mode, watching the while their colorful dials rather than the abruptly forthcoming road, while the shatterproof rearview mirror would reduce cuts and lacerations from broken glass. The seat belt was also designed to keep passengers and the driver from being thrown against hard surfaces within the vehicle, as well to guard against ejection through the optional half-glass canopy.

The Cornell research showed that doors thrown ajar, the windshield, the instrument panel and the steering wheel accounted for 56 percent of bodily injuries in a crash, with 40 percent of all injured drivers receiving their injuries from the steering wheel assembly and about 38 percent of passengers riding in the front seat being injured by hitting the steel dashboard, with about 4 percent of the passengers in the front seat being injured by striking the rearview mirror. The data had been gathered by state and municipal police organizations from accident scenes in cooperating states, including North Carolina. Physicians had also contributed detailed descriptions of accident injuries. Photographs taken of injuries and at the scene of accidents also supplemented the reported information. Cornell would supplement its study by looking at the newly designed automobiles after crashes to determine what effect the new devices would have on the injury rate and types of injuries.

Ford estimated that the 1956 devices, if placed in general usage, could reduce injuries by 35 to 50 percent, based on tests involving staged collisions of cars carrying dummies designed to simulate human injuries, with the dummies having recording devices in their head and midsection areas to record their movements and the forces encountered during the collisions.

Mr. Morgan concludes that the Ford devices constituted a logical extension of a new and vital research program, with the automobile industry now being aware of exactly what interior surfaces of cars caused injuries and what could be done to alleviate those injuries. He suggests that if the industry as a whole put its mind to the problem, it could further reduce loss of life and injuries on the highway, that the Ford program offered strong hope that an industry-wide effort would be made.

But then will come in 1959, in response to the popularity of the little Volkswagen, among other foreign imports, Chevrolet's all new compact, rear-engine, swing-axle suspensioned Corvair, a rolling testimonial to safety if there ever will be one. Not to be outdone in the safety field, Ford will produce the Pinto, starting in 1971, another fortress of protection against the intrusion of steel and glass, concrete and asphalt exploding from the outside world into your inner sanctum of safety and security.

Drew Pearson's column, still being written by staff while Mr. Pearson was on vacation, indicates that UMW leader John L. Lewis had borrowed a phrase from the past when he had castigated the merger of the AFL and CIO as "a rope of sand". Many years earlier, Samuel Gompers, founder of the AFL, warned against large unions trampling the rights of small unions in the AFL by declaring: "If you destroy the voluntarism of small unions, you are building a Federation no stronger than a rope of sand." There was reason to believe that Mr. Lewis was seeking to emulate Mr. Gompers with more than words, as Mr. Lewis, for a long time, had been in favor of founding a new labor movement, and the plight of the small unions within the merged labor organization might provide the impetus for doing so. There was also reason to believe that the RNC was taking more than a passing interest in the plans of Mr. Lewis. In discussing the possibility of a another union organization in recent meetings with a number of labor leaders, Mr. Lewis had met with Guy Brown, a strong Republican and head of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.

The merger was bound to play into the hands of Mr. Lewis as some of the CIO unions would be gobbled up by AFL counterparts and vice versa, with the smaller unions being swallowed up by some of the bigger ones. The charter of the new organization provided the executive council with arbitrary powers to establish the sovereignty of merged unions. The council would be composed of 29 members, 19 from AFL and ten from CIO, heavily dominated by the big union leaders. The column indicates that, in fairness, some unions had to be sacrificed and numerical strength was the fairest yardstick of supremacy, as there would be no point otherwise in merging the organizations if the individual competing unions from each organization would continue to compete with each other within the merged organization. Blowups, however, were certain to occur, though the leaders of each organization were seeking to prevent such things as walkouts by rebelling unions at the merger convention in December in New York.

It indicates that when the rebelling got underway, Mr. Lewis could find himself in some strange alliances. James Carey, CIO vice-president, had once been an ally of Mr. Lewis when the CIO separated from the AFL in 1937, but in recent years had opposed Mr. Lewis. It was no certainty that the union headed by Mr. Carey, the International Union of Electrical Workers, would emerge triumphant over the rival AFL International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in the merged organization, in which case Mr. Carey and his followers might find it advisable again to team up with Mr. Lewis in a new labor movement.

Walter Lippmann tells of Adlai Stevenson having authored an article for Look Magazine, in which he had been severely critical of the manner in which foreign policy was being conducted by the Administration. Mr. Lippmann indicates that he believed that as of the present, the Democrats could not legitimately and effectively, however, take issue with the Administration in foreign affairs, not because the record of the Administration was above criticism, as it was far from it, but because by the support and silence of the Democrats, they had forfeited the opportunity and probably the right to take issue with the President's foreign policy.

While he allows that things might appear differently a year hence, at present, they had no real argument. Their primary criticism was that the Administration had zigged and zagged and talked tough and soft in getting where it was at present, though the results were not the subject of Democratic criticism, as they had not opposed the method while it was transpiring. They also had no record of their own on which to base criticism of the President's record.

He indicates that the President had made a great, unique and necessary contribution to reduction of the probability of a third world war by maintaining military power and the alliances of the country, while clarifying fundamental policy in the Far East. The country had pulled back from positions of weakness where it was overextended, to positions which the country and its allies were strong enough and willing enough to hold. It was how the truce in the Far East had been developed, in Formosa and South Korea, while disentangling the U.S. from the ambitions of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in Formosa and President Syngman Rhee in South Korea to push forward into the Chinese mainland. He posits that it was reasonable to assume that the relaxation of tensions in the Formosa Strait had resulted from friendly mediators convincing Communist Chinese Premier Chou En-lai that the U.S. would defend Formosa but would not try to reinstate Chiang on the mainland.

Joseph Alsop discusses the prospects for the President running again in 1956, with the forces in the White House aligned against it having as their most notable members First Lady Mamie Eisenhower and their only son, Maj. John Eisenhower, both of whom believed that the President, at his age, should not again bear the heavy responsibilities of the office, having served his party and his country for one term. But the forces in favor of his running again included every member of his staff, every Republican politician of any consequence with the exception of Senator McCarthy, and virtually every member of the President's inner circle of close personal friends.

The favorable results of the Geneva Big Four summit conference, out of which the country's reputation on the world stage had been increased immeasurably, largely based on the President's own personality, presented him as an indispensable man in terms of foreign affairs, even if, on the domestic side, the President's own insistence that there was no "indispensable man" might prove to be the ordinary case. Thus, the forces in favor of his running for a second term now had a convincing argument to make to the President that he owed it to the country, not merely to his party, to run for a second term, to assure perpetuation of that much improved reputation of the country on the world stage.

It was, however, becoming increasingly likely that the free half of the world would suffer disastrous defeats in the Far East in the ensuing six to eight months, and those events could diminish the President's post-Geneva aura of victory.

Mr. Alsop concludes that the only other potential roadblock might become doctors' orders to the President not to run again for health reasons, in which case he could make a sound argument against it, relying on doctors' advice, the only argument which was not sure to be shouted down.

Robert C. Ruark, still in Palamos, Spain, indicates that he had once been a copy boy, but the art was nearly passed from the scene at newspapers because of the stringent rules of the newspaper guild, confining specific duties to specific classes of employees. He had been talking to a man recently who had been a copy boy in Houston in 1937, Bill Roberts, who now wrote one of the hottest columns in the Southwest, a good portion of which occupied the front page of the Houston Press, while he also had two television shows per week and owned large portions of several businesses. But he had started out mixing paste and supplying Cokes for reporters.

He indicates that copy boys had a certain pride of achievement about which others could never know. He had been a copy boy on the Washington Daily News, "the finest foundry of reportorial Oliver Twisting" which he had ever known. He earned $15 per week and only fetched and carried papers to and from the composing room or supplied coffee and cokes, sandwiches and "occasionally a pint of inspiration" to the "deep thinkers". If there had been a shortage of reporters during the late shift, the copy boys would cover rapes, murders and fires, as well as secondary sporting events and entertainment.

He worked for two papers for about seven months, having the worst college degree among his fellows, an A.B. from UNC, while others had degrees from the Sorbonne, Harvard and Yale. One copy boy had been so rich that he lived at the Wardman-Park Hotel and drove to work in a green Lincoln convertible, but yet jumped when the city editor yelled for him. He tells of the various staff who taught him various skills, including reading backwards for the sake of reading the print set in lead on the linotype machines. He says that the News had graduated more copy boys into high places than probably any other single newspaper in the world, as one was fired if unable to do three or four jobs well. He had been the 21st candidate for a low-rung sports reporting job, and those who had stuck it out learned and, for the most part, had made their way to the top afterward. He concludes that the piece was running too long but that he would like to take it up again soon.

What's the point if, as you say, the job is virtually extinct in the present newspaper business? Why bother, except to gratify your considerable vanity in humbly explaining how you made it to the top?

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