The Charlotte News

Friday November 8, 1940



Site Ed. Note: Francis Perkins remained as Secretary of Labor until 1945. After heading the United States delegation to the International Labor Organization in Paris, she was appointed to the Civil Service Commission by Truman where she remained until 1953. It is a little odd that Cash seems to have profound distaste for her, as an early experience she had at age 31 witnessing the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, which killed 146 workers trapped in a building without fire escapes, formed her tenacity to fight sweat shop conditions and colored her remaining adult life. Cash, himself, had garnered much of his editorial fire from early experiences viewing downtrodden conditions in local cotton mills in and around his hometown. Always a strong advocate of unions, Ms. Perkins drew fire in 1939 from conservative elements when she refused to deport west coast labor organizer, Harry Bridges, about whom Cash often editorialized favorably, as he always did generally with regard to unions and union organizers, though with some tempered enthusiasm at the conflicts which developed by 1940-41 between labor's insistence on increased wages in the face of the necessity to increase dramatically defense build-up. Perhaps, on balance, Cash saw the reactionary backlash to her policies as doing more harm than her positions did good for labor conditions, especially in the South, where the dusty, combustible mill environs were always more atrocious than in industries in other parts of the country, sometimes still are.

Squeeze Play

Honest Harold Turns the Heat on a Stubborn Lady

The resignation of Harold Ickes looks pretty obviously like a squeeze play to get rid of Madam Francis Perkins as Secretary of labor. Harold very pointedly suggested to all his Cabinet colleagues that it became them to follow his example.

Nobody really expects the President to accept Harold's resignation. He refused it in 1936, when Harold offered it. Ickes has a faculty for making a great many people mad, and the President might do himself a service in many quarters by getting rid of him. But on the whole he has been an excellent Secretary of the Interior, and his loyalty to his Chief is unlimited. These qualities are likely to decide Mr. Roosevelt.

But if Harold is not going, then there are only two old members of the Cabinet left-Mr. Hull and Madam, and nobody believes Mr. Hull would be allowed to go if he tried hard. All the other Cabinet members are new appointees, whom the President can hardly want to get rid of so soon.

It seems clear, therefore, that Harold was really talking to Madam. The lady has long been a millstone around the Administration's neck. But in view of the feminine vote, it did not dare get rid of her on the eve of election. Instead, it compromised by stripping her of most of her authority.

But now, with John Lewis slated to step down as CIO chief, the prospect for healing the split in the ranks of Labor is pretty bright, and the Administration plainly wants to chalk that up as one of its first achievements. And to do that it needs a strong Labor Department. Hence, if Madam would just accept Harold's hint and step out gracefully...

Will she? Ah, masters, there is the question. So far Madam has proved herself totally immune to hints.


Fading Voice

Progress Threatens To End An Army Institution

The cavalry hasn't been reduced entirely to a core of mechanics and grease monkeys. On the contrary, the Army is right now engaged in buying 26,000 saddle horses for nascent Jeb Stuarts and Nathan Forrests.

But the Calvary has been streamlined even when it remains a horse-riding corps. In the past the Army has been accustomed to buying up broken or half-broken horses from the range country of the West, and putting it up to the soldiers to train them to the saddle and bridle.

But not this time. The Army is very carefully picking horses it is buying, with a view to giving the recruits a break when they set out to learn to ride. All of which, no doubt, is well in deed. But the trouble with progress is that it is always destroying the picturesque. The old cavalry top sergeant, for instance.

Wherever there was a remount station he could be heard. Heard is the word. Somehow you never seem to remember having seen him. But nobody ever forgot hearing him, for he had the fanciest vocabulary ever dreamed up by man and was a great artist when it came to improvising profanity. Now, however, he'll probably disappear along with those unbroken nags.


By the Record

The Germans and Italians Didn't Vote as Was Predicted

One of the things which was widely said before the election was that the German and Italian populations in New York City were going to vote solidly for Mr. Willkie, and that much the same thing was going to happen in all the other states with big German and Italian populations. The more gloomy pro-Roosevelt men shook their heads sadly and said that it was a business of voting for the Axis. Oh, no, the more reasonable and kindly among them said, it might not be, probably wasn't, a matter of Willkie himself. It was just hatred of Roosevelt. Still there it was. And it could be, and even probably was going to be, the decisive element in electing Willkie, and wouldn't that be a come-off?

But if any part of that turned out to be true in practice, you will look in vain for the evidence in the election returns as developed to date.

The President carried New York State by a majority of approximately 350,000 fewer votes than in 1936, when his total vote fell off only about 30,000. The explanation is that Wendell Willkie piled up approximately one million more votes than Landon. But observe the net gain was mainly upstate where the Germans and Italians do not live, and the President's lead in New York City itself was almost as overwhelming as in 1936, more overwhelming than in 1932.

In New York City there were in 1930 a total of 237,588 persons of German birth, 440,250 of Italian birth. Some of them were not old enough to vote, of course, and some of them were not citizens. But count the second and third generation Germans and Italians, who are generally reckoned with them, and you probably have at least six or seven hundred thousand voters. Obviously, then, the supposition that these voted solidly or even almost solidly against Mr. Roosevelt runs against the probabilities.

To suppose it, you have to suppose him making enormous gains in other groups. Undoubtedly he made some among the Poles and the Scandinavians, perhaps among the Jews. But the evidence of reports gathered before the election indicated that none of these were voting solidly, and that the Jews were split about half and half.

Elsewhere the evidence is the same. Only one of the great urban states in which the Germans or Italians are mainly gathered went for Willkie, and most of the great cities with the heaviest German and Italian populations-Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, St. Louis, Kansas City, etc.-went heavily into the Roosevelt column.

The states which voted for Mr. Willkie were rural, save Michigan. Several of them, indeed, have considerable German population-North Dakota, for instance. But if you suppose them grouping entirely on national lines, it is still plain that they had little to do with deciding the outcome in the state. North Dakota has 10,114 German-born, 42,743 Scandinavian-born, 2,128 Polish-born. Supposing the latter two groups to have been only 50 percent for Mr. Roosevelt-a quite reasonable one, certainly, in view of the assumption about the Germans-it is manifest that the Germans were canceled out over two to one.

That nationalistic feeling, admiration for Hitler and Mussolini, the high pressure propaganda and threats by Axis agents in the country, did enter into the sentiments in many Germans and Italians is highly probable. But the evidence does not indicate that was on any such scale as was prophesied. Rather, it seems to suggest that great numbers of them made their decisions like other Americans, on all sorts of grounds.


Framed Edition
[Go to Links-Page by Subject][Go to Links-Page by Date][Go to News Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.