The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 28, 1940



Site Ed. Note: For more on Southern lynching as discussed in "Lynch Record", both statistically and generally, see "A Distinction", July 9, 1939, "Case Report", February 17, 1940, "Clean Bill", July 5, 1940, "Dubious Test", October 10, 1940, "The Remedy", December 17, 1940, comment in "Southland Turns to Books with Full Vigor", book-page editorial of October 18, 1936, poem by Claude McKay in "The Negro and His Poetry", book-page editorial of April 11, 1937, "North Carolina Faces the Facts", Baltimore Sun article of August 29, 1935, and of course the original October, 1929 "Mind of the South" article in the American Mercury, accessible in the Mercury links, above.

Idle Thought*

Raised by Dick Young's Column on Parking Places

In Dick Young's column on this page today is raised the question of a City-owned and perhaps City-operated parking place. Dick neither argues for it nor invokes against it.

He shows simply that many city governments do own and operate parking places, some mainly as a service and some as self-liquidating enterprises, and he wonders if this city will someday undertake something of the kind.

It's a new notion, and our opinion of the advisability or inadvisability of it hasn't yet come out of the drying room. But right off the bat we think of this, and forthwith set it down.

Most municipal governments are run by politicians. It is the way of politicians to reward lesser politicians with jobs. If the City ran a parking place, it would, in all likelihood, be a large one, requiring quite a few attendants.

Now, would those jobs all go to the lesser politicians and would a fellow be safe in parking his car there if he had voted the wrong ticket?


In True Color

Axis Clearly Aware of Our Ill Will and Intentions

According to a story from Mexico City, the one German and nine Italian ships in Tampico harbor are likely to make a break for it despite the British cruisers patrolling the sea lanes. Orders are believed to have come from Berlin and Rome to take the chance that already has led to the scuttling of one ship by her nervous captain and the sinking of two others to avoid seizure by British war vessels.

The way the Mexican Navy Department hears it, Italy and Germany would as soon lose their ships as to have them seized and interned by the Mexican Government at the request of the United States Government. And if there is any truth to that reading of the Axis state of mind towards this country, it may prove something.

For one thing, that despite the maintenance of a certain semblance to peaceable relations with Germany and Italy, our attitude is currently understood to be governed by outright hostility. And for another, that any actual seizure by the United States of the ships belonging to the Axis nations or nations conquered by the big end of the Axis, ships that are tied up in ports here, would be no more than an action to suit what they already recognize for enmity.

In short, this rumor tends to show that we are already suspected of harboring the intention and only delay through caution or discretion or non-necessity to do the deed that would be bound to bring a declaration of war. And rumor or not, that is about as accurate a statement of the case as could be made.


Lynch Record

This Form of Violence Is Almost Entirely Extinguished

So long as a mob takes the law into its own hands and lynches a single victim, public opinion and the law enforcement agencies cannot relax their vigilance. At the same time, there is comfort in the lynching figures for 1940 which it would be senseless not to take.

According to Tuskegee Institute, the year saw only four lynchings. This compares with three for 1939, six for 1938, and eight for 1937 and 1936, and so on back into the shameful past when lynching ran into the tens and even, before the turn of the century, into the hundreds.

Rarely enough, one of these four alleged persons was a white man. The others were Negroes, as usual, and the states in which the lynchings occurred were the usual Georgia (two), Alabama and Tennessee.

In only one of the lynchings was the offense purported to have been the traditional justification, the attack of a Negro man upon a white woman. The others were "wife-beating and drunkenness," "attempting to qualify to vote," and "an altercation with a white man."

As a hedge against the annual report of the Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which is alert to classify as lynchings what looks more like plain murder, Tuskegee points out that there are six cases in which information is regarded as uncertain or incomplete, so that the figure of four may have to be revised upward. That would be a setback to the belief that lynching is in full retreat before public opinion and the stout defense of law enforcement agencies.

But against that possibility is the redeeming fact that in 22 reported instances officers of the law prevented lynchings. Once mobs everywhere are given to understand that the police, backed up by public opinion, will stand for no snatching of prisoners, the crusade against lynching in the South will have been won without benefit of Federal law.


Fascist Proof

In Can Be Made To Fit Anything the Boss Wants

In answering Churchill's appeal, the (Italian) Government statement declared that... "English solidarity with the Italian Renaissance has been historically demonstrated to be false."

Which probably set many an old scholar and printer of Florence and Venice to turning in his grave, and undoubtedly made Shakespeare, already troubled in his tomb at Stratford, invoke the curse on his headstone for those who should disturb his dust.

The Italian Renaissance was a movement which, above everything else, ushered in the age of the individual. Previously, even the greatest men had submitted to having their thinking and conscience limited by authority. But now men began boldly to strike out in forbidden realism and to examine all things.

And it was the English who brought the spirit to final flower. Isaac Newton was a direct descendant of the Italian Renaissance and before him Francis Bacon, like Shakespeare, was immediately under its influence. All the great English philosophers--Berkley, Hobbes, Hume, Mill--stem from the same strain of thought. And it was in England that the habit of inquiry yielded its fullest fruit in conscience and invention. Charles Darwin was of the same intellectual tradition as Leonardo da Vinci.

Finally, it was in England that the individualistic tradition reached its apotheosis in the form of political democracy.

It is Italy, not England, which has betrayed the Renaissance, for this Fascism is the antithesis of the whole spirit of that movement. But Fascist stooge historians are of course up to any feat, including the invention of rigamarole to prove that black is white.

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