The Charlotte News
Friday, September 23, 1955
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at the U.N. in New York, Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov had this date called upon the Western powers to reduce their armed forces and liquidate their foreign military bases without waiting for an international agreement on disarmament. At the same time, he told the U.N. General Assembly that Russia was giving careful consideration to the President's proposal for mutual aerial inspection of weapons and bases over both Russian and U.S. territory. He submitted a resolution, urging the Assembly to endorse a study of the plan, along with proposals submitted by Britain and France. He indicated that there had been recent Soviet reductions of military forces and the surrender of the Soviet naval base of Porkkala to Finland. He called on the other major powers to show by similar deeds that they really wanted to end the arms race. He challenged a statement by Secretary of State Dulles the previous day that "limitation of armament is virtually unattainable", saying that it cast doubt on the work of the Disarmament Commission set up by the General Assembly. He made no reference to a message sent to the President earlier in the week by Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin, but made it clear that Russia wanted to link the President's plan to Russia's demands for a ban on atomic and hydrogen weaponry. He urged that the U.N. had to speak up emphatically against the arms race and in favor of reducing armaments, outlawing atomic and hydrogen weapons and removing the danger of another war. He spoke in mild tones and avoided the sharp attacks which the delegates had heard often in previous years from Soviet representatives. Mr. Molotov had not appeared at the U.N. since 1946.
In Buenos Aires, Maj. General Eduardo Lonardi, new provisional President of Argentina, made a triumphal entry into the capital this date to take control of the provisional Government on behalf of the victorious rebels in the overthrow of the regime of dictator Juan Peron, after the latter had been in power for a decade. Thousands of citizens had crowded around the airport limits, cheering wildly and waving flags, to greet the new President, as military guards held them back but made no attempt to dampen their enthusiasm. As General Lonardi rode in a Cadillac to the center of the city, crowds along the route held up signs, some saying, "Now! La Plata", referring to the town which had its name changed back from "Eva Peron", for the late wife of El Presidente. Another sign criticized Standard Oil of California and supported the Argentine Government oil company, YPF. El Presidente had signed a contract with the California company to allow it to prospect for oil in Argentina, and nationalists had criticized that contract, resulting in it not being ratified. An order had been issued in Buenos Aires from the provisional Government for the arrest of all supporters of Sr. Peron in the national Congress, after the new regime had dissolved the Congress, in which the Peronista Party members held all 34 Senate seats and all except 12 in the 155-member lower house. Violence had erupted in Rosario, Argentina's second-largest city, as students and other foes of Sr. Peron had moved to eradicate evidence of his power, with street fights occurring also throughout Buenos Aires the previous day despite efforts of armed patrols to prevent crowds from gathering. Several Peronista Party buildings had been wrecked, and pictures and busts of El Presidente and Eva had been torn from the walls and destroyed.
In Hong Kong, two American civilians, long detained in Communist China, had reportedly boarded a ship at Shanghai this date, according to U.S. consular officials, and four others were expected to leave by ship during the ensuing two weeks. Only one of the promised 16 American civilians for immediate release had as yet not been returned, a Houston cotton man, but speculation was growing that he would also be aboard the ship, as his physical condition was reported to be poor.
In Sumner, Miss., the last day of trial of the two half-brothers, Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam, accused of the first-degree murder of 14-year old Emmett Till on August 28, had begun during the morning hours this date, with the attorneys for both sides having expressed expectation to complete their final summations to the jury prior to noon, after the defense had finished its case, presenting six character witnesses, three for each defendant. The State had rested its case the previous day after presenting testimony of a percipient witness, Willie Reed, 18, whose testimony begins at page 210 of the trial transcript, that he had seen a person, who appeared to him to resemble the photographs of Emmett he had subsequently seen in the newspapers, sitting in the bed of a green and white 1955 Chevrolet pickup truck being driven by a white man, with three other white men in the cab, and three other black men sitting on the side of the bed of the pickup as it went by him down a road early on the morning of August 28, about five hours after the abduction by the defendants as described by Mose Wright, Emmett's uncle, during his testimony two days earlier. Willie Reed did not recognize anyone else in the truck and did not know Emmett at the time. He did not see J. W. Milam, whom he knew, in the truck. Subsequently that morning, at around 8:00, he had observed Mr. Milam outside a barn or shed taking a drink of water at a well, then saw him go back into the barn, from which he had "heard somebody hollering, and ... heard some licks like somebody was whipping somebody," several licks and several shouts of pain, both before Mr. Milam came to the well and after he departed to return to the barn, as stated at pages 222-224 and at 243 of the transcript. At the time when Willie saw Mr. Milam at the well, the latter had a pistol on his belt. Willie's grandfather, Add Reed, also testified, beginning at page 245, that Willie had left the home early that morning and was still gone at around 8:00 when Mr. Reed left to slop some hogs near the Milam barn, where he saw a white pickup truck parked and observed Leslie Milam, another brother of the defendants, in the area of the barn, but saw no one else. When asked by the prosecutor to tell what, if anything, he heard coming from the barn, the defense raised an unspecified objection, which was sustained. It is not clear why the objection was sustained, except with reference to similar sustained objections during Willie's testimony, though the prosecutor, after several tries, had eventually laid adequate foundation therein to enable Willie to testify over objection to what he heard coming from the barn, as the question to Mr. Reed was not leading, did not call for inadmissible hearsay, and was plainly of the utmost relevance to the case. The prosecutor posed no further questions to Mr. Reed and the defense asked nothing of substance. As its final witness, the State called Amandy Bradley, 50, whose testimony begins at page 250, testifying that she lived on Leslie Milam's place, where the barn in question was situated. She said that Willie Reed, whom she knew, had come to her house at between 6:30 and 7:00 on the morning of August 28, telling her that he had seen and heard something unusual, (not relating the conversation for the hearsay objection, though it should have been admissible to rebut a claim of recent fabrication implicit in the defense cross-examination of Willie and his ability to hear the sounds and observe Mr. Milam from his distance from the barn, on which he was uncertain and gave varying responses), in response to which she had looked out her window in the direction of the Milam place and could see four white men, none of whom she could identify, in the area of the barn, coming and going back and forth in and out of it, and that there was a pickup truck parked there. At one point, she had seen a tall, bald man—which fit the general description of J. W. Milam—, come out and take a drink of water from the nearby well and then return to the barn. Eventually, the men backed the pickup truck underneath the shed or barn, and after a few minutes drove away. She could not see what they were doing inside the shed at the time. There was no cross-examination of Ms. Bradley by the defense.
After the State then rested, the judge denied defense motions for a directed verdict on the basis that the State had not adduced sufficient competent evidence that the corpse which had been retrieved from the Tallahatchie River on August 31 was in fact that of Emmett Till, invoking the corpus delicti rule, which requires for conviction of murder proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the person whom the defendants are accused of murdering was in fact dead. As their primary defense, the defendants were contending that there was insufficient evidence to establish the corpus delicti. They presented as their first witness Sheriff H. C. Strider of Tallahatchie County, where the body was found in the river, who testified, starting at page 281, that the body appeared to have been in the river for at least 10 days, if not 15 days, whereas the murder was alleged to have occurred on August 28, just three days before the body was discovered in the river. The prosecution objected to his opinion in this regard as he was not a doctor or qualified as a forensics expert, but the court overruled the objection—erroneously—on the basis that he had testified that he had previously examined bodies taken from the river at the same time of year, though the prosecution can be faulted generally for not calling, in rebuttal, at least one forensics expert who could establish that such decomposition, as described by the defense experts, could occur in as little as three days under the circumstances of the case, as it obviously in fact had. (Sheriff Strider had come up with the preposterous theory that the body was not that of Emmett, during the first hours after the body had been discovered, freely sharing it with the press, claiming not only that the body had been in the river longer than three days, by the appearances he observed, but also suggesting that it appeared to him to be of a much older person than fourteen. He had also suggested to the press that the body may have been placed there by some organization of "outside agitators", such as the NAACP, to stir up controversy.) Dr. L. B. Otken, a physician from nearby Greenwood, testified, starting at page 293, that the corpse was beyond physical recognition, even, in his opinion, by the mother or brother of the deceased—testimony to which the prosecution raised objection which was overruled, and which should have been sustained as pure speculation, beyond the scope of expertise of the witness, able to testify to what he could or could not ascertain but not what someone else might or might not be able to determine. He placed the time that the body had been in the river after death at between eight days and two weeks. H. D. Malone, an undertaker, testified for the defense, starting at page 306, that the body had been in the river for a period of between 10 and 25 days. All three of the witnesses said that the body was bloated and badly decomposed, but during cross-examination, the State elicited testimony from both the doctor and Sheriff Strider that a body which had been badly injured would decompose more rapidly than an uninjured body, as admitted by Sheriff Strider at pages 290-291 and by Dr. Otken at page 302.
Defense attorneys appeared confident that the all-male, all-white jury would free the two defendants, principally based on the three witnesses who attacked the identification of the corpse. Privately, prosecutors voiced doubt that they would obtain a guilty verdict. Mamie Bradley, mother of Emmett, who had testified the previous day that there was no doubt in her mind that the body sent to her in Chicago and that which was depicted in the photographs taken by the police photographer of the body retrieved from the river was Emmett, would be quoted in the newspapers the following day as also saying she had not anticipated a guilty verdict.
Following summations this date and
the reading of the final instructions to the jury, read, under
peculiar Mississippi practice at the time, by each of the sides
requesting them after approval by the court, none of which,
unfortunately, is included in the available transcript of the trial,
the jury would retire and deliberate for only an hour during the
afternoon before returning their verdict of not guilty
It might be questioned whether, after the testimony of the three defense witnesses regarding the accelerated decomposition of the body, the prosecution, which included a representative from the State Attorney General's office, assigned by Governor Hugh White, had begun by the conclusion of the defense case, dropping the ball badly in terms of not adequately rebutting that latter defense testimony, to lose confidence in their own case, that there was a hint of question in their minds as to whether in fact the body was of Emmett Till. The absence of the transcription of the final summation by the prosecution, though excerpts were related in the following day's newspaper accounts, leaves a hole in the record which might help to dispel or confirm this notion. There appears no understandable reason, either strategically or logistically, why at least one expert could not have been employed by the State to express briefly an opinion on the state of decomposition of the body, to drive home the point to the jury. Instead, knowing full well the realities of the time and place where the trial was being held, the prosecutors decided to rely solely on the testimony of Emmett's mother and uncle, and the physical evidence of the ring on Emmett's finger, which belonged to his father, the latter point, however, also requiring for verification reliance on the testimony of Emmett's mother, to establish identity of the body. The addition of the postmortem photographs, in comparison to photographs of Emmett while alive, likely only served to confuse the members of the jury, especially given the testimony of Dr. Otken, challenged as they obviously were by their preexisting biases, made evident by the foreman's post-verdict remarks, which included his callous, insensitive observation that Emmett's mother "might have managed a tear" during her testimony, apparently finding her generally stoic demeanor while testifying disingenuous, not accounting for the fact that when someone endures a sudden, shocking tragedy of this type and then goes through a period of intense grief thereafter for a week or two, the tears clear and the result often is a spiritual reckoning with the tragedy, producing a stoic, even euphoric, reaction and reconciliation to the loss rather than stewing in bitterness and desire for retribution. Newspaper accounts of the previous day indicated that Mrs. Bradley broke down crying when shown the photograph of Emmett's corpse during her testimony. It, of course, would have also helped to have had a professional autopsy performed prior to embalming and burial of the body, but by the time of trial, that was too late, after tampering had taken place with the evidence by the undertaker and his pals, notably Sheriff Strider, the result of local politics and the administrative procedures in place at the time, rather than the probable fault of the prosecution.
Of course, the brothers would admit their guilt for the murder to reporter William Bradford Huie in the Look Magazine article, to be published the following January. They did not do so out of guilt but rather out of apparent hubris, proud of their deed on behalf of the South and the cult of Southern womanhood, in which they were obviously steeped from early in their development, lock, stock and barrel.
It should be noted that the above-linked Associated Press report this date on page 2-A of The News cleaned up the testimony of Carolyn Bryant, given out of the presence of the jury, regarding her allegations of Emmett's inappropriate conduct in the store with her alone for a few minutes on the evening of August 24, proffered by the defense only to establish a record on appeal in the event of conviction after the court ruled that her testimony was inadmissible under Mississippi law as the previous behavior of the victim was not properly in issue in the case. The report this date quotes her as referring to a "Negro man" in the store. In fact, she spoke of a "nigger man" and that then "this other nigger" had entered, as transcribed at pages 266 and 272, which references should not have been cleansed as it misrepresents her attitude toward black people to suggest that she used the quite acceptable term in the 1950's, "Negro", when in fact she displayed instead her unrestrained racial bias in the matter and apparent lack of basic awareness of the inappropriateness of that term to the world in 1955, outside the tiny Mississippi town of Money wherein she and her husband resided, suggesting how completely out of touch with any semblance of reality these people, including the jury, were.
The Government this date reported that seasonally lower food prices had caused a slight decline in the cost of living in August, reversing a moderate upward trend which had occurred the prior June and July. Lower prices on fresh fruits and vegetables, as more abundant food supplies reached the market, had been responsible for the decline in price of food during August, while earlier summer produce prices had been high because of short supply after a spring freeze. The cost of living index had declined two-tenths of a percent in August to 114.5 percent of the 1947-49 average, compared with 114.7 percent in July and 114.4 percent in June. The August level was .4 percent below August of the previous year.
In Chicago, an AMA investigator stated that cancer quacks profited by some 50 million dollars per year, causing thousands of deaths among persons who sought their cures and treatments, while not obtaining early diagnosis from competent physicians. He told the American Cancer Society meeting that if and when a cancer cure was found, the medical profession would make it known.
In Toronto, evangelist Billy Graham had drawn a crusade audience of 9,500 to the coliseum in the Canadian National Exhibition grounds the previous night, with a five day total attendance of 41,500. The crusade would continue until October 16 in Toronto, and Rev. Graham would be in Ottawa for one night early the following month, then would return to Toronto to complete his crusade.
In Fort Bragg, N.C., two paratroopers, who got their main chutes entangled, had plunged to earth, slowed only by one reserve chute in a training jump the previous night, resulting in one being killed and the other hurt seriously. They were members of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division.
In Raleigh, it was reported that the President had directed that every Federal Government resource should be utilized as fully as possible in extending assistance to the stricken areas of the eastern part of North Carolina hit by Hurricane Ione earlier in the week. Federal Civil Defense administrator Val Peterson had wired Governor Luther Hodges that information this date, indicating that he was coming to the state to inspect the following day. The Governor had invited every member of the state's delegation in Congress to attend a meeting with the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, True D. Morse, who would arrive the following day to discuss crop losses during all three hurricanes, including Hurricanes Connie and Diane of mid-August.
In Miami, the Weather Bureau indicated that Hurricane Janet, packing 115 mph winds, this date was leaving a great amount of destruction on Barbados, the only island of the Windward group which was known to have been hit by the storm, with its current position being 1,500 miles southeast of Miami. The chief storm forecaster in Miami said that the winds may have reached a higher velocity than 115 mph and that they hoped to have further information during the course of the day. The storm was traveling toward the west or slightly north of west, and was expected to reach the central Caribbean probably late the following day, where it would encounter light and variable winds which could cause some change of course more toward the northwest, but no abrupt change in direction was anticipated. The storm had flattened wood structures on Barbados, in which the poorer of the island's 200,000 people lived, had shattered buildings and knocked down trees, which blocked the main highways. No accurate estimate of damage was yet available, but relief work was underway. There was no indication as yet that Janet would hit the mainland of the United States.
In Cape Town, South Africa, it was reported that two stowaways, both brothers, of the British Gold Coast colony, who could not obtain a receptive port, were on their way back to the Middle East for the second time aboard a Norwegian tanker. They had stowed away aboard the tanker in Iraq and local authorities at all ports which the ship had visited had refused them permission to disembark. The vessel was not scheduled to return to any Gold Coast port. They had already made two trips to South America and one to the Persian Gulf aboard the tanker, and were presently headed toward Iraq again. One of the ship's officers said that they had no papers and that no port was willing to take them off their hands, that they had to guard them, for if they would escape, the company would be heavily fined. He said they did little work aboard ship but certainly could eat.
On the editorial page, "Charlotte Can Learn from Atlanta" indicates that Atlanta had arrived at Charlotte's goal, becoming a major city in every sense of the word, growing center of industry, business, transportation, education, the arts and sports, essentially the hub of the South.
It suggests that Charlotte and Atlanta were, in many ways, sister cities, as both were merchants, conveyors, manufacturers, doctors and entertainers to a vast surrounding area, with both growing at a phenomenal rate, that growth being a mixed blessing, however, for both cities with the same basic problem, how to grow orderly, gracefully and economically, "rather than as a well-nourished plant grown wildly to weed."
There had been a time in Atlanta when thousands of new residents so choked the downtown streets with automobiles that a rush-hour ride down Peachtree Street was a time-wasting, nerve-wearing agony, a time when industry had located in residential areas and given citizens unwelcome smoke, noise and odor, in turn finding itself short of growing room and ease of transportation, and when residential streets had to share thoroughfare traffic, becoming threats to the happiness and safety of children and adults alike. Atlanta had solved those problems or was in the process of doing so, but was also suffering for not having dealt with the problems much earlier through planning and organization for the growth.
By way of several bond issues, residents of Atlanta had cooperated in cutting out many of those problems, building a north-south expressway for the city, clearing of low-taxed slums, supplanted by high-taxed industrial sites, development of new residential areas with easily accessible schools, stores and recreation areas, and construction of streets protected from heavy traffic. Much still remained to be done at a cost which could have been prevented had planning been undertaken earlier.
It indicates that Charlotte also had its troubles and needed to recognize that early planning would cut down on cost and ensure health and safety of the residents in the era of growth ahead. The fact that the City employed hard-working planners did not ensure that there would be adequate planning for the future, as the planners offered prospective plans, but it was the citizenry who would determine whether those plans would be put into effect through bond issues.
Presently, the planners were working on zoning classifications in the perimeter areas, which were rapidly growing. Public hearings were to be held the following week and it indicates that though the subject might sound dull, nothing could be more important to the future of the city, and urges citizens to turn out to hear the recommendations by the planners.
They are probably too busy getting over all the excitement generated in the community by the hunt for Vicki, the international fugitive brought finally to heel by patient measures, which involved no final shootout, as with the unfortunate, nameless steer who had decided to bolt the inevitability of becoming steak. The steer story, we notice, did not excite national or international coverage, as the story regarding Vicki, which had the whole world on edge and chattering for more than a week, eclipsing all else, including international peace and other stories.
"Outdoor Dramas: Deep Are the Roots" indicates that someone had once said that Hugh Morton was the only person who could take pictures of azaleas in Wilmington and get Grandfather Mountain in the background, and the piece has no doubt that he could, as an ace photographer, take pictures in eastern North Carolina and obtain his mountain, in the western part of the state, in the backdrop, provided anyone could, though it doubts the possibility. Yet, his idea of bringing the coast to the mountains and vice versa, might yet pay off, with his suggestion that "The Lost Colony", presented annually in Manteo, be moved to Boone, to supplant temporarily "Horn in the West", shown for the previous four seasons in that latter locale, and move the latter drama to Manteo, to bolster sagging audience attendance of both plays.
It suggests that it was a reasonable plan to save the two dramas, but that it would also be a tragedy to uproot "The Lost Colony" and haul it hundreds of miles to surroundings without historical connection with the events which it depicted, as it was a moving experience to sit in the amphitheater by the water and listen to the words of the Minister which opened each presentation: "Friends we are gathered here this evening to honor the spiritual birthplace of our nation and to memorialize those heroic men and women who made it so." It finds that it would lose much of its magic if presented anywhere else in the world other than at Fort Raleigh on Roanoke Island, where it had occurred in the latter 1580's, during the time of William Shakespeare, the Elizabethan Age in mother England.
"In a New Era, Portent or Promise?" finds that the speech the previous day before the U.N. General Assembly by Secretary of State Dulles had been a cautious recognition of the fact that an era of "renewed hope" was at hand, as he had stated a year earlier.
It questions whether the international "freeze", however, was really thawing and whether a period of peace was really developing. To determine the answers, the nation had to appraise the fundamentals of the situation, attempting not to be misled by peripheral, superficial considerations. While the country could never admit discouragement until peace would become a sustaining principle of action, it also had to be admitted that many basic problems remained unsolved, such as the solidarity of NATO, the role of Germany within the balance of power, the unrest in Asia and the problem of Communist China, as well as problems in Africa and the Middle East. There were also issues regarding the recent Soviet policy, with the Soviets, in spite of their broad smiles and champagne toasts, having an increasing edge in certain key areas of armament, especially in intercontinental ballistic missiles, the most efficient and presently least preventable means of delivery of hydrogen bombs over the North Pole to targets in the U.S., as warned during the week in a column by Joseph Alsop anent the Killian Report issued to the President and National Security Council.
It concludes that it would be folly to suggest that the way ahead did not contain major problems, quoting from the New York Times recently that "free peoples have still to realize the value of freedom, have still to learn how much it costs, before they can attain the relative tranquility of 'coexistence'—two worlds agreeing to disagree and living together under some code of international law."
The editorial concludes that while the U.S. had to work steadily for peace, it could not afford to lull itself into a false sense of security, had to remain alert and work steadily to surmount the continuing peril.
A piece from the Dallas Morning News, titled "Murder in High Places", indicates that the Utah Legislature had wanted revived by Congress a storage project on the Colorado River, including a dam at Echo Park, and they had passed a resolution to that effect, signed by Governor J. Bracken Lee, calling on Congress "to promptly, thoroughly and fairly consider and favorably act" on the project.
The piece deems the latter language to be a split infinitive which had never before been split "so promptly and thoroughly" within the English language, "if not altogether fairly or favorably". But, it concludes, that considering what had happened to the atom, they should perhaps realize that it had to come sooner or later.
Well, you just started a sentence
with "however", which should never be the case, to be in
favor with appropriate style. But we wholeheartedly agree with your
calling to task the Utah Legislature for its split infinitive, which
we now see more regularly than not in newspapers and online, daily
and by the minute, a testament to the television age, we suppose. It
is never appropriate to split an infinitive, and, with few
exceptions, it is equally inappropriate to end a sentence with a
preposition, as one simply starts the whole damn thing, as former
Prime Minister Churchill had once remarked, over again, not "again
over". How, after all, would Hamlet's famous soliloquy sound if
he had said, "To be or to not be, that is the question"?
Drew Pearson indicates that the usually frank RNC chairman Leonard Hall was being more frank than usual when he let down his hair with newsmen recently in Denver, indicating, in response to a question, that the Republicans intended to defeat Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon by attacking him for attacking the President, going on to explain that few Senators had criticized the President and that those who had were going to pay for it in the 1956 elections. He said that if the President did not run, he would commit suicide. A small but quieter Republican group did not agree with Mr. Hall's campaign strategy, believing that, while they wanted the President to run again, there was no necessity of placing all their bets on that prospect, with some of them pointing out in Denver that the Republican convention, to be held the following August 20, would be on the latest date in recent political history and that the party could be left dangerously out on a limb. They also pointed out that the President had already given ample and repeated warning that he did not plan to run again, with his first warning having come at a stag White House dinner in December, 1954, and then later, talking to Senator George Bender and other Ohio Republicans, had warned that if he ran and won, he would be the oldest President in history, and finally, at Denver, repeating his warning that the party should not rely on any one man. Mr. Pearson indicates that those reasons were why a small part of the Republican realists not only disagreed with the necessity of having the President run again but claimed that the present was the time to have another candidate ready in the wings in case he did not.
Congressman James Roosevelt of California had been in his home Congressional district in Los Angeles since the Congressional recess, while his pet cat remained in his other home in Washington, in the custody of a woman who had once worked for his father and President Truman, and now worked for the House Small Business Committee, of which Congressman Roosevelt was a member. Since few telephone wires were untapped in recent times, especially those of a Congressman, renowned for his feminine admirers, who was the son of a late President, quite a few people were surprised at a conversation intercepted between Los Angeles and Washington recently, in which Congressman Roosevelt asked the caretaker for his cat how Truman was doing, to which she had responded that she had taken him to the hospital, had been worried about him and that he did not seem at all well. The following day, Congressman Roosevelt had called again to inquire about Truman, and the woman told him that he was much better, had just eaten a large meal and was out in the yard asleep. That of which the people who had listened to the conversation were not aware was that "Truman" was the name of the cat. It was a good thing that Truman had not climbed a tree, necessitating that the woman report to the Congressman that she had been forced to summon the fire department to get Truman down.
The Congressional Quarterly indicates that regardless of the result of the general election in 1956, it could mark expansion of Republican inroads in the traditionally Democratic South, as demonstrated by a survey of the Quarterly regarding party plans and expectations, plus a detailed analysis of the 1952 general election and the 1954 midterm elections. The results had shown that in several Southern states, Democrats foresaw trouble in holding their own, while Republicans were very confident of gains. Much would depend on the identity of the presidential candidates of each party. RNC chairman Hall conceded that his optimism was based on the assumption that the President would run again and again prove popular in the South, as he had in 1952. DNC chairman Paul Butler was prepared for a serious fight in the South, indicating that he would consider the individual Southern states as being open to potential defeat and would campaign accordingly. Both parties were aware of the changing character of the South and were seeking to adapt their tactics to it.
In 1952, the President had carried five of the 13 Southern states, including Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, plus coming close in Kentucky and South Carolina, while winning 47 percent of the popular vote over the entire region, leading his party by a wide margin in down ballot races.
It points out that Republicans had not even contested a majority of the 120 seats in the House held by Southerners, but in the 46 districts where Republican candidates had entered the races, they had averaged about 37 percent of the vote, while in those same districts, General Eisenhower had received 50 percent. In 1954, when the President was obviously not running, Republican candidates had entered 48 races in the South, averaging 32 percent of the vote. There was also evidence that the President's personal popularity was a major factor in helping to elect four new Republican Representatives, three from Virginia and one from North Carolina. In each case, the President's percentage of the vote had been greater than the Republican candidate for Congress. Those four victories gave the Republicans 221 seats to 213 Democratic seats in the previous Congress, indicating that without them, the Republicans might not have been able to control the House between 1953 and 1955.
It reminds that there was no assurance that the President would do as well in the South in 1956 or whether Adlai Stevenson would again be the Democratic nominee. Issues had changed and new factors were emerging, and now the Republicans would be the challenged rather than the challenger. The Quarterly's analysis of the 1952 election suggested that, with all other factors held equal, increasing urbanization in the South might prove to be a boon for Republicans. It explains the statistical basis used for its analysis, with the basis formulated for three groups of districts, the 52 districts which Governor Stevenson had carried by 55 percent or more in 1952, the 29 districts won by General Eisenhower by a similar margin, and 39 districts, 20 for Governor Stevenson and 19 for the General, which had been won by less than 55 percent.
The results were that for every 100 persons in the strongest districts for the President, 58 had been urban dwellers, while in the marginal districts, 47 had been in that status, and in the strongest districts for Governor Stevenson, only 34 percent had been urban dwellers. Conversely, farm workers were twice as numerous in the heavily Stevenson districts than in the heavily Eisenhower districts, with the marginal districts falling midway between them. Black voters were substantially more numerous in the Stevenson districts than in the Eisenhower districts, and manufacturing workers were in about the same proportion between the two sets of districts. But since the statistical bases for the analysis had been predicated on the 1950 census, and because there was reason to believe that proportions of urban dwellers, farmers and factory workers had changed in many parts of the South during the previous five years, as in other regions, Republicans hoped for advances from those changes, while Democrats were reorienting their approach, seeing gains on such issues as falling farm prices and the Administration's opposition to expansion of public power and support of desegregation policies. But both parties were preparing for a hard battle for Southern votes in 1956.
It concludes that three times since World War I, in 1920, 1928 and 1952, the Republicans had won the presidency by large majorities and had, in the process, picked up a number of House seats in the traditionally Democratic South. But in the midterm elections following 1920 and 1928, the Republicans had lost more than half of the Southern seats which they had won two years earlier.
To avoid contemporary confusion, it should be noted for current times in 2022 and since the early to late 1970's, having begun the transition in the 1950's and steadily increasing thereafter, that the one-party rule in the South decisively switched gradually from the Democrats to the Republicans, with the same phenomenon observed regarding the attendant problems of one-party rule, as discussed by W. J. Cash in The Mind of the South and by other commentators, historians, political scientists and sociologists. That one form of one-party rule has been supplanted by one-party rule under the aegis of the other party, essentially with the same principles, most usually charged with racial issues, governing both such one-party satrapies, does not cure the problem but only exacerbates it. It is long past the time when a true two-party South should be finally established, getting rid now of prolonged predominantly Republican one-party rule to achieve balance. The same might be said of the Central Midwestern and relatively sparsely populated Western states to the east of the West Coast. The devil is in one-party rule in a given state or region of the country for a prolonged period of time, not the label of the one party ruling. We urge this correction of confusion as there are many young people, urged on by Republican charlatans masquerading as "news" organizations, who read the earlier history and consider the Southern Democratic Party through the 1950's to suggest the Democratic Party of subsequent years, when a keener understanding of the political realities of those earlier times is necessary, irrespective of party labels, to understand the forces and ideas behind those labels at any given point in history before gleaning any clear comprehension applicable to the political realities since and at present.
The only way to rid such one-party rule is assiduously to educate voters to their actual political, economic and social interests, rather than having them governed perennially, as robotic automatons, by particular, recurring ad hoc hot-button issues, such as "pro-life" and "law and order", with undercurrents of racial politics always in the mix, usually including strong stands favoring the death penalty, somehow squaring that stance with "pro-life", always presenting nonplussed incredulity to anyone who discerns at once the decided contradiction in those inherently antithetical positions when posed in reality over the long-haul, as it is the unwanted child who, more often than not, though not always, freighted with the baggage of rejection and consequent dejection from the earliest years, eventually winds up in prison or on death row
A letter writer makes a suggestion to the Mecklenburg Historical Association regarding its program for Mecklenburg Declaration Day, May 20, 1956. He indicates that President Washington had visited Charlotte in 1791 while on a tour of the Southern states and had been entertained at a grand banquet held at Cook's Tavern on West Trade Street, and the writer suggests that in commemoration of that event, one of many in which Charlotte had participated during the time of the Revolution and the early years of the country, the city should sponsor the "return" of President Washington so that he could be entertained with a banquet at the Selwyn Hotel, less than 100 feet from the site of Cook's Tavern. He suggests that there were several men in Charlotte who could impersonate the first President. (But do any of them have wooden teeth?) He goes on, proposing a toast to be presented at the banquet, to be followed by the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration—which was putatively signed on May 20, 1775, though considerably in dispute as to whether that actually occurred more than a year before the Declaration which was signed in Philadelphia.
President Washington might not like that presentation, and so you had probably better consult with him first, lest your cherry tree get chopped down.
A letter writer indicates that for several years her home had been in Norfolk, Conn., a few miles from Winsted, which had suffered severe flood damage during Hurricane Diane in mid-August. The previous week, she had written to ask about the organizations performing the rehabilitation work there and had received a reply which paid high tribute to the work of the Salvation Army and the Red Cross, and she wishes to impart excerpts from it, as both organizations were performing the same humanitarian work along the coast of North Carolina. The letter to her is reprinted verbatim.
A letter writer indicates that two of Charlotte's largest institutions were soon to begin, the Christmas Carrousel, growing larger each year, with Christmas, supposed to represent the birthday of Jesus, becoming more commercialized than any other holiday, greed having made it a season for getting rich and turned it into a great show. He does not believe God was pleased with that commercialization. Afterward would come the campaign of the United Appeal, wherein employees of most industrial plants and stores were nearly forced to contribute so that the plant or store could report delivering on 100 percent of the goal. Many employees contributed only because they were in fear of losing their jobs otherwise. The goal would be a million dollars, and the Appeal always wanted more each year. During the current year, more people were employed than ever before during peacetime, and he wonders why people should be asked to give so much, wonders whether it would ever cease.
It will cease the day when World War III begins.
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