The Charlotte News
Saturday, September 24, 1955
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Sumner, Miss., the all-male, all-white jury had rendered a verdict of not guilty for the two half-brothers, J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant, who had been charged with the first-degree murder of 14-year old Emmett Till on August 28. The jury had deliberated for only one hour and seven minutes before delivering the verdict, and the jury foreman stated that they reached their verdict on the third ballot, that there had been three undecided jurors on the first ballot and two on the second, with all others voting not guilty each time. He said that the jury had ignored the testimony of 18-year old Willie Reed, who had testified that he had heard "licks and hollering" coming from a barn owned by Mr. Milam's brother and had seen Mr. Milam go to a well outside the barn and take a drink of water, carrying a pistol in his pants, and then returned to the barn where the sounds of pain and whipping continued at around 8:00 a.m. on August 28, some five and a half hours after the half-brothers had admittedly forcibly abducted Emmett from his uncle's home where he had been staying for two weeks during a vacation from his home in Chicago. Willie Reed had also testified to having seen four white men, none of whom he recognized, in the cab of a 1955 green and white Chevrolet pickup moving down the road some time prior to hearing the screams coming from the barn, and that in the bed of the pickup was a person whom he believed resembled the pictures he subsequently had seen in the newspapers of Emmett Till, though he did not know Emmett, and that three black men were sitting on the side of the pickup bed, none of whom he recognized. The jury foreman also said that the jurors had rejected the testimony of Emmett's uncle, Mose Wright, who had testified to the abduction at gunpoint by the two codefendants, pointing both out in the courtroom and identifying them as the perpetrators of the kidnaping. The foreman said that they were not impressed by the testimony of Emmett's mother, who had come from Chicago to testify to her positive identification of Emmett's body, insensitively commenting that "if she had tried a little harder, she might have got out a tear" during her testimony. She had in fact cried when shown a picture of the battered head of her son and was asked to identify him, which she did. The jury foreman claimed that there was a reasonable doubt raised by the defense regarding the identification of the body, the primary defense having been that the corpus delicti had not been adequately shown beyond a reasonable doubt. Three witnesses, including the Tallahatchie Sheriff, H. C. Strider, a physician, and an undertaker who embalmed the body, testified for the defense that the body appeared to have been in a state of decomposition when retrieved from the river for at least eight days since death, when the body had been recovered only three days after August 28, when Emmett had first been abducted. The prosecution did not offer any expert testimony to counter those claims, but instead relied on the identification of the body as Emmett by his mother and uncle, and the fact that a ring had been on his finger, bearing the initials "L. T.", which were the initials of his deceased father Louis Till, and the testimony of Emmett's mother that the ring had belonged to her deceased husband and that she had given it to Emmett prior to his trip to Mississippi. But the jurors rejected all of the testimony provided by the black witnesses in the case, in favor only of that provided by some of the white witnesses, ignoring, too, however, the testimony of the LeFlore County sheriff and deputy that the two brothers had admitted the abduction, but had claimed that they had released Emmett after the wife of Roy Bryant had said that he was not the boy who had caused her trouble in the family store on Wednesday evening, August 24, while the two defendants were away.
The NAACP said in a statement from its New York headquarters: "The verdict is as shameful as it is shocking. The jurors who returned it deserve a medal from the Kremlin for meritorious service in communism's war against democracy." The NAACP praised both the trial judge and the prosecutors for their handling of the trial.
There had been no demonstration by courtroom observers at the announcement of the verdict and the two defendants had accepted it calmly. Carolyn Bryant, wife of Roy Bryant, whose testimony had been excluded from the jury because the victim's prior behavior, to which she was prepared to testify and had related out of the presence of the jury, was not an issue in the case, stated that she was very happy and felt a lot better than she had the previous day while on the witness stand. (Later, she would recant her testimony regarding the events to which she attested as occurring in the store while she and Emmett were briefly alone as he purchased bubble gum on August 24, though she had only referred to the "nigger man" who had entered the store and not to Emmett by name, whom she did not know. And so it is little wonder that she did not feel very good during her lying testimony the previous day.)
Other newspaper accounts went further to provide excerpts from final summations, excerpts from the jury instructions, and more information regarding the potential for a kidnaping indictment. How the defense was able to argue the speculative possibility that some outside organization or group might have placed the body in the river, without a shred of evidence having been presented to support any such theory, is beyond understanding, as normally attorneys are limited to arguing only the evidence presented at trial and theories of the case based on that evidence. While the three defense expert witnesses testified that the condition of the body indicated that it had been in the river substantially longer than three days, and the defense was permitted therefore to argue that point and the contradiction to the facts which allowed at most for three days in the river since the abduction and disappearance of Emmett, that does not lead to an inference that someone planted some other body in the river to stir up trouble from outside the state, as the defense argued, even conjuring up a prior case from years earlier where such circumstances had supposedly occurred, knowingly playing, therefore, on the current and past defensiveness of locals to "outside agitators". To call the allowance of such latitude in argument bizarre is an understatement. The lack of a transcript of the final summations makes it impossible to determine whether the prosecution objected to that argument. If not, it was dereliction of duty and one which obviously was highly prejudicial to the State's case, inviting the jury to speculate on matters outside the record, speculation which obviously impacted the jury's decision, as the foreman attested, contained in the final edition version of the second page of the above-linked New York Daily News report, that is on the third page of the linked report.
The acquitted defendants remained in jail the previous night, as they still faced the prospect of kidnaping charges in neighboring LeFlore County, where the admitted kidnaping of Emmett from his uncle's home had been initiated. Emmett's body had been found in Tallahatchie County in the Tallahatchie River, and so the murder had been tried in that county. The judge, at the request of the Tallahatchie prosecutor, had dismissed an indictment for kidnaping in Tallahatchie County, in deference to the prosecution to occur in LeFlore. The grand jury would meet in the latter county in November to consider an indictment for kidnaping, but would decline to return one. Thus, despite the admission of the kidnaping by each of the half-brothers, interviewed separately by the LeFlore sheriff and his deputy on August 28 during the afternoon, after the abduction of Emmett had been reported to law enforcement by his uncle, they would never be prosecuted for that crime, which also carried the potential for the death penalty or life imprisonment, or, if the jury did not specify the punishment, up to 30 years in prison, as indicated in the note earlier in the week.
The reason for the grand jury not ultimately indicting on kidnaping remains, at this point in time, a mystery, but perhaps it might become clearer at the point in November when that event is reported. From this vantage point, it appears most likely to have been that the grand jury considered that the acquittal for murder in some manner also worked as an acquittal for kidnaping, since the admission of the kidnaping had been before the trial jury, even though the pending kidnaping indictment in Tallahatchie had not been before the jury during the trial, deferred pending the kidnaping indictment in LeFlore, and so the jury could not have convicted the defendants for that crime at the end of the trial. But, it appears that we are not dealing with the world's swiftest people in these little towns in Mississippi at that time. Whether the LeFlore grand jury, as well as the Tallahatchie petit jurors who acquitted the brothers, were just blinded by their petty prejudices or plain stupidity is not quite clear, but one or a mixture of both had to be at work. No legal bar existed to the kidnaping indictment, as the facts of the kidnaping had to have been considered separate by the jury in the murder case for them to have returned a not guilty verdict, after the LeFlore County sheriff and deputy testified to the admissions of the defendants to the kidnaping, admissions which were not in any manner refuted by the defense, other than through rejected arguments outside the presence of the jury that the admissions should be excluded as having come under conditions of informal interrogation without benefit of counsel being present. Thus, there could be no contention of double jeopardy on the kidnaping charges on the theory that the kidnaping occurred as part of a continuous course of conduct with the murder. For their verdict to make any sense, the jury had to accept the contention by the brothers in their admissions that they released Emmett after they had abducted him. If the grand jury decided that the purported release absolved the brothers of guilt of the kidnaping, then they were operating outside the law. The return of money several hours after a bank robbery does not absolve the robber of guilt, even if it might be mitigating at the sentencing stage. Moreover, such considerations would be for a court and petit jury to determine at trial, not for the grand jury, whose only consideration is whether there is probable cause, some reasonable legal basis backed up by some substantial evidence, to indict. There is no question that such existed in this case for the crime of kidnaping, notwithstanding the acquittals on the murder charges.
While there was no justice at the time for Emmett Till, his justice would come after his brutal murder with impunity would serve as the impetus for the modern civil rights movement, initiated by Rosa Parks the following December when she refused to obey a bus driver's directive to surrender her seat on a municipal bus in Montgomery, Ala., leading to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose pastorate at the time was in Montgomery, being thrust into the national spotlight for the first time, as he led the boycott of the Montgomery buses until, forced by economic reality and the Federal courts declaring unconstitutional the statutes and ordinances mandating the segregation, the company ended its policy of forcing black passengers to surrender their seats to white passengers when there was inadequate room for all white passengers in the forward portion of a bus.
It would be no mere coincidence that the gathering on the Mall in Washington in front of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, to hear the speech by Dr. King regarding his "Dream", was scheduled for that particular day, it having been decided by the organizers that they would hold it on the anniversary of Emmett's death. It was one of the more lasting and moving speeches in American history.
In the end, the perpetrators of the murder lost in the spiritual battle, as was made inevitable by the brutal violence attendant their acts, founded in ignorance and unrestrained primitive impulses exerted to advance some nebulous sense of chivalry and preservation of something which they regarded as disappearing, when, had they merely used some degree of reason, they would have realized that they were only being helped by those changing circumstances in society out of their primitive status, which was consigning them generationally to destitution of the mind, if not also of the pocketbook, resisting reality through insistence on obscurantism.
In Denver, the President had "suffered a digestive upset" during the night and had failed to arrive at his office at the usual time during the morning. The assistant White House press secretary, Murray Snyder, told newsmen that the President's personal physician had been summoned during the night and was with the President again a few minutes prior to 8:00 a.m. It was the first known illness of the President in many months and he appeared in good health as he had proceeded through his working vacation in Colorado since August 14, with visitors reporting that they had never seen him looking so fit. He had returned to Denver the previous day after four days of trout fishing and general relaxation at a Rocky Mountain ranch in Fraser, 70 miles northwest of Denver. He would turn 65 on October 14. In fact, it would be reported Monday that the President had suffered a heart attack.
In Raleigh, Governor Luther Hodges this date angrily called on Federal officials to "let us know what you can do" to help the hurricane disaster victims of Hurricane Ione, which hit the state on September 19, the response coming at a conference of state leaders with Civil Defense administrator Val Peterson and Undersecretary of Agriculture True D. Morse. The Governor said that he was sorry to raise his voice but that he was sick and tired of the delay, responding to Mr. Morse having said that "self-help is important" among the farmers suffering from storm damage. The Governor said that he resented "even an implication that the people of North Carolina won't carry the burden" of the recovery work from the three hurricanes which had hit the area since mid-August, including Hurricanes Connie and Diane, hitting the state on August 12 and August 17, respectively. Ione had been by far the most costly of the three hurricanes, with preliminary estimates placing damage at 160 million dollars, of which 75 million represented crop losses, while the combined estimates for the damage from Connie and Diane had ranged up to 100 million, including about 65 million in crop losses. Officials of the Farm Home Administration had provided assurances that regulations could be relaxed to permit farmers to carry some part of the year's crop debt over through the coming year on FHA loans. The chief item of controversy was a delay encountered by state officials in seeking emergency feed supplies for livestock farmers who had suffered losses in Ione. Mr. Peterson had assured the group that all Federal aid possible under the law would be forthcoming, but that price tags could not be placed on disasters and that early estimates were often far beyond actual losses. The previous night, Senator Kerr Scott had issued a statement asserting that Federal officials were "holding back" in rendering assistance to farmers, indicating that the FHA officials had insisted that it would be illegal for them to refinance the existing loans of farmers.
In Bridgetown, Barbados, it was reported that Hurricane Janet had caused at least 25 deaths on Barbados, with additional casualties probable, as broken communications lines hampered accurate estimates. About 150 persons had been injured and 2,000 left homeless when the storm had come across the island on Thursday, with an early estimate of the death toll being about 100, and property damage estimated at about five million dollars. The latest reports from the Weather Bureau in San Juan, Puerto Rico, placed the center of the storm about 400 miles southwest of San Juan and about 1,300 miles southeast of Miami, with maximum wind speeds at 115 mph over a small area near its center and gales extending 140 miles to the north and 100 miles to the south, moving west-northwest at about 15 mph in forward speed. If the storm continued on that course, it could follow the same path taken by Hurricane Hazel the previous October, which had killed hundreds of people in Haiti before coming ashore in the United States at South Carolina and North Carolina and proceeding northward to Canada. An Anglican minister on Barbados, Rev. Jonathan Graham, president of Codrington College, had gone by car and foot about his parish as the storm raged, helping those in danger and bringing them back to the college for refuge.
In San Francisco, hundreds of policemen continued to search for a week-old infant who had been snatched from the Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco the previous Monday by a blonde woman. Police said that she was stealing diapers and apparently did not know much about caring for a small infant. The mother of the child, according to her physician husband, was struggling to maintain her grip, after having lost both of her parents and her brother in Nazi concentration camps during the war and being smuggled out of Germany, eventually making her way to England, and meeting her husband in Philadelphia in 1948.
In Mexico City, it was reported that a truck loaded with dynamite collided with a train the previous night near Torreon, about 200 miles west of Monterrey in north central Mexico, causing a chain of explosions with another truck loaded with dynamite, killing more than 40 persons, possibly as many as 70, with another 150 persons injured. Authorities said that the two trucks had been racing without lights when the lead vehicle collided with the train.
In Asheville, N.C., former Senator William Smathers of New Jersey, 64, uncle of current Senator George Smathers of Florida, had died in the hospital this date. He had been elected to the Senate for one term, starting in 1937, after serving as a State Senator. He had been born in Waynesville and had studied at Washington and Lee University and at UNC.
In Chicago, an eight-year old boy
was caught chewing gum in his classroom at school, and as had been
the custom in the classroom, his fellow students voted on his
punishment, to which the teacher had agreed, and so stuck the wad of
gum in the student's hair. Subsequently, another unidentified teacher
had taken a pair of scissors and cut the gum from his hair, leaving
him with a bald spot. When he returned home, his mother was so upset
that she had to be treated by a physician, complained to the district
school superintendent, who had told her he would investigate. She
said that her son was worried whether his hair would grow back in
time for his first communion of the following month. Meanwhile, he
was pursuing his third-grade studies
In New York, a 47-year old woman said that she was a Cleveland Indians baseball fan and had been carrying a bat around for two years to hex the New York Yankees, but, while it had worked the previous year when the Indians had won the American League Pennant over the Yankees, the previous night, it had failed, as the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 3 to 2 to win the pennant. The woman had been charged with felonies for using her bat to swat a bus driver, smash his window and strike at a police officer. The charges stemmed from a minor automobile accident in Manhattan on Thursday when her car had collided with a bus, after which, according to the driver, she pulled out the bat while he was exchanging license information with the woman and took a swing at him, hitting him on his left shoulder, and after he closed the bus window, shattered the glass with a second swing. The patrolman arrived and she swung at him as well, but missed. Authorities showed that she had been charged five times in the previous two years with other unlawful use of her bat, including wild swings in two Connecticut towns, and on each occasion the bat had been taken away from her, only to have her then go out and buy a new one. The judge set bail at $500 on the third-degree assault charge and violation of the Sullivan weapons control law, notwithstanding argument by her lawyer that he should at least wait to set bail until after the World Series.
Also in New York, New York Giants manager Leo Durocher quit and Bill Rigney immediately was named his successor. The latter had been with the Giants organization for eight years, and had managed a minor league team for two seasons. The Giants, who had won the World Series over the Indians the previous year, finished in third place in the National League race this season. Mr. Durocher reportedly had been receiving a salary of $50,000 per year, and had been a manager for 17 years, coming to the Giants in mid-season in 1948, winning pennants in 1951 and 1954. He did not announce any future plans, but had often expressed interest in movie and television work. His wife was movie and television actress, Lorraine Day.
On the editorial page, "Red Ink on Charlotte's Safety Books" suggests that promoting safety required education and discipline and that Charlotte, with more cars and greater traffic woes than any other city in the state, had a poor safety record because it had been lax in both education and discipline.
City Manager Henry Yancey had proposed a safety bureau, which it finds salutary and filling of a great need. Traffic deaths and injuries had increased in Charlotte during 1954 and only two cities in its population group had more traffic fatalities.
It indicates that traffic safety was the responsibility of all segments of society, business, industry, schools, local civic organizations and the public. But when government played an ineffectual role, efforts of nongovernmental agencies lost much of their potential effectiveness, without regulatory control to support the educational programs.
It suggests that a safety bureau would help but that thought also should be given to establishment of a school for traffic violators and expansion of driver training programs in the City schools, as well as better, stricter law enforcement, including better regulation of pedestrian traffic, that none of those items should be neglected.
"Politics Again" indicates that Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, outraged by location in the South of combat training camps for military reservists, had said that the Defense Department was playing politics with camp locations by ignoring the need for teaching soldiers how to fight in bitterly cold areas such as Korea.
It indicates that the Senator had not provided the detail of his charges, but that they sounded reasonable, that the Pentagon was no stranger to politics and that the Army had spent millions researching cold weather survival techniques which ought to be taught. But it also says that seasons changed and that summer came to Korea as hellishly as winter, that basic training under a hot Southern sun also had its purpose, and that if the camps were moved to a cold state like Wisconsin, the result would also be politics.
"The Poem the Perons Didn't Read" indicates that in a workshop in Pietrasanta, Italy, stood a 53-foot white marble statue of Juan and Eva Peron, the sculptor of which was now puzzled as to who would want it, after he had spent three years sculpting it. In Buenos Aires, people were now experiencing freedom for the first time in a decade and were tearing down huge portraits of the Perons and throwing them, along with marble busts, into bonfires. "And if Peron's 'sainting' of Eva took, her angel wings must by now be singed and black."
It indicates that it was a pity that the brilliant minds of the pair had not appreciated the poets who had distilled wisdom and made it free to all who cared to read. Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had died in 1832 at the age of 30, had delivered odes to statuary and pottery, one of which was under the title "Ozymandias", which, it posits, had the Hitlers, Mussolinis and Perons of the world believed what it said, they and the world would have been happier, proceeding to quote from it verbatim, concluding: "'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings;/ Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'/ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay/ Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/ The lone and level sands stretch far away."
It concludes that there were a lot of dictators in South America, even with Juan Peron gone, but that there was a lot of sand, too.
"For Wide-Awakes, an Update" tells of a cure for insomnia created by British engineers, which consisted of a teddy bear which plugged into an electrical socket and would breathe 10 to 12 times per minute, which would induce the person to breathe in imitation of it, causing eventual sleep, as that was the rate at which sleeping adults breathed.
It wonders, however, what would occur if the bear stopped breathing, whether the insomniac would also stop breathing and drift into eternal hibernation, or if the bear were to start breathing at the rate of 40 times per minute, the sleeper might suddenly bolt from bed and start sprinting. It supposes the fears were silly to contemplate but until it learned to accept such advances in technology, it would continue to count sheep. It admits, however, that the bear would likely cut down the suicide rate, as no one had ever heard of taking an overdose of teddy bears.
A piece from the Richmond News Leader, titled "The Vindication of Dr. Watson", indicates that for many years American admirers of Sherlock Holmes had been discontented at the manner in which the master detective's friend and biographer, Dr. Watson, had been depicted to the general public, that those who had read the Arthur Conan Doyle series knew that the doctor was a magnificent, sturdy, loyal, dogged sort of man, the ideal foil for the brilliant, incisive Mr. Holmes.
Many more Americans, however, had known the duo only through the movies, disturbing the scholars who had studied the novels and short stories. While actor Basil Rathbone playing the role of Mr. Holmes was all for which one could ask, the late Nigel Bruce, playing Dr. Watson, had left much to be desired, playing the role as a fop, stupidly and blindly loyal, rather than one who was sturdy, with none of the perceptive understanding of Mr. Holmes which the real Dr. Watson had displayed.
When the Holmes series of movies
It indicates that at last, justice
was asserting itself and the fans of the written versions were breathing
easier, as a new Sherlock Holmes television series
It hopes that a Richmond television station would soon begin showing the new series because those who wanted to see it could not venture several hundred miles each week just to watch an episode in which Dr. Watson was portrayed correctly.
You don't seem to understand that young people have the ability to discern characterizations and look beyond the superficialities. The fact that Dr. Watson was portrayed in the film versions as a lovable buffoon added to the character's depth, with his occasional bumbling insights endearing him to audiences, especially youthful audiences, whereas ten minutes of viewing that later tv series, leaves the viewer accustomed to the film series feeling in the same manner as one accustomed to whole milk suddenly being forced to drink skim milk, watered down, vapid and without any real substance. We regard the television series as mediocre at best. But you have it your own way, Richmond. We shall stick with the film versions. Who cares about whether they were faithful to the novels and short stories? as no one with any sense thought that they were, anyway. No one can top the duo for acting ability in those two roles, and to have presented an overtly sapient Dr. Watson instructing Mr. Holmes would have ruined the entire thing, as did the series, presenting essentially an officious intermeddler to the discerning but erratic erudition of Mr. Holmes, rather than as a complementary old companion who occasionally comes up with an unassuming, unwittingly brilliant contribution which solves the puzzle, obviously deriving from the doctor's sensibilities acquired through intense scholarship as a young man and retained subconsciously beyond his own conscious recognition into old age, while showing the mild condescension of Mr. Holmes to fit perfectly with the pecksniffian detective who arrogates himself to the accomplished professional, thus providing depth to the characterizations, mirroring reality, rather than following the staid, old conventions of Victorian novels. Wake up, Richmond. It is not 1890, no matter how much you wish it so to be.
And, by the way, you had better hustle up to get the local tv station to carry the program, as there will only be one more episode before it's torpedoed, for the reason, we suspect, that it was only a two percent solution and the rest water.
Drew Pearson indicates that Republican leaders were presently grasping at any straw which they could to bolster their hope that the President would run again in 1956, with two of those straws having developed at Denver after the President had made a discouraging statement that the party should not be dependent on one man. The first such straw had developed at a private session with Republican leaders during which the President was briefed by Congressman Richard Simpson of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Republican Congressional committee, on the outlook of House races for 1956, with the President having been especially interested in marginal contests for the seats in various states, urging Mr. Simpson to concentrate on winning as many as possible, causing Republican leaders to conclude that the President would not have made such a suggestion unless he had plans to run at the top of the ticket. The second such straw had come in the form of a joke told by RNC chairman Leonard Hall regarding a businessman who had been asked by a friend if he thought that the President would accept renomination, to which the reply had been: "Well, if he doesn't, I'll jump off that bridge when he gets to it." The President had laughed quite heartily at the joke, and the Republicans concluded that had he not been planning to run, he would not have had such a reaction. While they were meager straws, they had nevertheless encouraged Republican leaders, such as Mr. Hall, who had stated facetiously that he would commit suicide if the President did not run again.
Former President Truman was working behind the scenes to sidetrack the presidential bandwagon of Adlai Stevenson for renomination in 1956, despite having supported Mr. Stevenson in 1952. The former President's secret strategy was to line up an array of favorite-son candidates to tie up the votes to block the Stevenson nomination, and that as the convention would develop, the favorite sons would then throw their votes to the strongest candidate, with the former President expecting it to be either Governor Averell Harriman of New York or Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. Mr. Truman had assured Democratic insiders that there was nothing personal about his maneuvering to disallow the nomination to Mr. Stevenson, that he still believed the latter would make a fine president and had the highest respect and admiration for him, but was more convinced than ever that he lacked mass appeal, as demonstrated by the outcome in 1952.
A letter from a representative of the Southern sales division of B. F. Perkins & Son, Inc., says that having read editorials in the newspaper and other Southern newspapers in the previous few months regarding the problems which the textile industry faced in relation to the President's granted concessions to Japan and other countries on imports of finished cotton textiles, he believed that it was time the people did something about it. Competent persons in the textile industry had decried the action taken at Geneva, and Governor Luther Hodges, with many years of experience in the textile industry, had criticized it as well. He thinks it was time for the textile workers and union heads, the textile machinery and chemical manufacturers, the merchants and consumers, to denounce the move as a menace to the textile industry. He urges that the Southern press organize a campaign among textile-worker unions, as well as the textile workers and the other groups he had mentioned, to write letters to Washington protesting the move.
A letter writer indicates having read a review in the newspaper recently of the new motion picture, "The Cobweb", which he regards as the worst review he had ever read. He says that the review had ignored the performances of the cast, including John Kerr, whom he thought had done an excellent job despite it being his first appearance in a movie, as well as ignoring the other performances, the direction of the film and anything else regarding it, that the review had only summarized the plot, which he regards as having spoiled the suspense. He advises the reviewer either to apply for a job at the Celanese plant or ask to be transferred to the department which wrote Garden Hints or provided Advice to the Lovelorn, as he was "certainly a painfully long way from being a motion picture critic."
The editors respond that their movie
critic, Emery Wister, had never reviewed "The Cobweb"
What does that have to do with it? Damnit, he didn't like the movie review, whether it existed or not in the newspaper being beside the point.
A letter writer from Monroe finds that UNC's past deportment had been inconsistent with the supposed liberality which was synonymous with higher education, and now, at the behest of the Federal Government, was being forced to pursue a democratic policy by desegregating its undergraduate programs. He indicates that no black college within the state had the qualifications or facilities to offer a degree in journalism, and that having been denied the right to pursue that chosen profession because of his race and the segregation policy previously at the University, he felt a measure of personal satisfaction in knowing that the undemocratic racial bars were being dropped forever. "Long may democracy and racial harmony prevail at the State University, for irrespective of jurisprudential tactics of reactionary delay, democracy is inevitable." He indicates that the Supreme Court had made its position clear on segregation in state-supported institutions and that the people of North Carolina could now look with pride to a democratic university dedicated to the enlightenment of all mankind.
A letter writer who withholds his or her name, indicates that sometimes people became so busy criticizing that they never got around to encouraging the good in the city, indicating that a letter writer in the previous Wednesday edition of the newspaper had apparently forgotten that the Bible says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." The person indicates that the cities made up the nations and that the writer's family was one who was proud to live in a city which still put God first in dedications of its facilities, thanks those responsible for keeping God in His proper place in the program, and prays that all of the leaders of the city would have the courage to seek and follow His guidance in phases of city life.
Now, play ball!
A letter writer responds to the same letter, saying that if the church were head of government throughout the world, he was sure that the previous writer would find a much happier and contented existence, suggests that Russia and China presented prime examples of the contrary, and that there was too much emphasis on material things and not enough on spiritual thoughts. He says that he would be ashamed of himself to admit that he believed that anything else headed the church, even the U.S. Government.
But you are not the only citizen within the United States.
A letter writer wonders what all of the nonsense was about fishing being bad for American youngsters because "it teaches them to be cruel", as an unnamed magazine was trying to suggest. He believes it "the craziest thing" of which he had ever heard and that the newspaper ought do something about it. He indicates that Robert Louis Stevenson, who had known a lot about children and fishing, had once written that "there is no music like a little river… It quiets a man down like saying his prayers."
But what if Dr. Jekyll, while
fishing, suddenly turns into Mr. Hyde, starts trying to hook you
A letter writer from Lincolnton responds to a letter by a man who had refused to make predictions about the 1956 elections, although implying, while writing deliberately in the vernacular, that certain changes might be made. The writer had said that he was not too smart in making predictions, and this writer recalls that in 1954, the previous writer had predicted that Mecklenburg County would go to the polls, and it had, the problem having been that the previous writer had picked the wrong candidate for Congress.
Well, who do you pick, with your feet in Poughkeepsie?
A letter writer responds to a letter writer who had offered to send blacks back to Africa, wishes to inform him that it was not a problem of money which was delaying the return but a simple matter of sense. As a black person, she says that she does not think that the previous writer's "great, white forefathers would be at all pleased with his suggestion. I don't believe they brought us over here to learn of the 'civilized' ways, and then send us packing back because we seem to be learning too well. In the first place, who's going to take the responsibility of sorting out the 'Negro by color' from the Negro by blood percentage or the good from the bad? Believe it or not, it takes the best that's in the worst of us and the worst that's in the best of us to get along in this world with any of us. And the sooner each individual realizes the fact that not any of us is any better than the rest of us, and learns the art of getting along with himself, he can then get along with anybody. And that goes for the whole human race."
A letter writer from Mount Holly says that it did not add to the prestige of her favorite newspaper to publish occasionally such letters as those produced by the brain of J. R. Cherry, Jr., that his latest "outburst" was a very ungentlemanly attack on one of the world's ten greatest women, Eleanor Roosevelt, demonstrating Mr. Cherry's caliber as a man. He quoted from a suggestion made by Senator Estes Kefauver that Mrs. Roosevelt should have been invited to attend the Geneva conference as a member of the President's delegation, calling the suggestion the most stupid of the year. She says that Mrs. Roosevelt had been chosen as one of the only two women in a list of 100 of the world's greatest people, with Queen Elizabeth of Britain being the other. Mrs. Roosevelt's persistent championing of human rights had caused her to be so listed. The writer says that Mrs. Roosevelt needed no defense from such scurrilous attacks as those contained in Mr. Cherry's previous letter, but that those who were not so blindly partisan that they could not keep up with world events resented such attacks on such a great lady.
A letter writer responds to a letter which had been published on September 20 regarding juvenile delinquency, in which the writer had questioned the efforts of the courts to discourage juvenile delinquency, indicating her agreement with the previous writer, finding that delinquency and crime by both juveniles and adults were being encouraged by light sentences frequently handed down for serious crimes, especially when the persons involved were black. She says crime was encouraged by the apathy of citizens who contributed their money, time, energies and interest to every phase of community life rather than to what went on in the courts. She finds that courts, juries and judges were not infallible and needed to be watched by an interested and informed public. She asserts that judging from the sentences provided for husbands and wives murdered among the black population, murder was much less heinous than robbery, especially robbery by a black person of a white person. Murder often brought a suspended sentence, whereas robbery rarely did. She wants more consistent and impartial justice meted out in the courts.
We would like to see a single
example where a conviction for murder had brought a suspended
sentence, when usually even manslaughter convictions, save perhaps vehicular manslaughter under certain exceptional circumstances, result in
substantial jail time. You may have been watching too many tv shows.
Obviously, two scoundrels got off in Mississippi the previous day,
but they were not convicted because the stupid jurors were oblivious
to reality and probably had never read a book in their lives outside
of comic books or their functional equivalent. At least, that is what we discern from such an
outrageous verdict which ignored all of the evidence presented to
them, save that which fit their obviously preconceived outcome, a good indicator of how serious these twelve angry men were taking their responsibilities
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