The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 13, 1942

FOUR EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note:

"I don't think they'll fight any more to-day," the King said to Hatta: "go and order the drums to begin." And Hatta went bounding away like a grasshopper.

For a minute or two Alice stood silently watching him. Suddenly she brightened up. "Look, look!" she cried, pointing eagerly. "There's the White Queen running across the country! She came flying out of the wood over yonder--how fast those Queens can run!"

"There's some enemy after her, no doubt," the King said, without even looking round. "That wood's full of them."

"But aren't you going to run and help her?" Alice asked, very much surprised at his taking it so quietly.

"No use, no use!" said the King. "She runs so fearfully quick. You might as well try to catch a Bandersnatch! But I'll make a memorandum about her, if you like--she's a dear good creature," he repeated softly to himself, as he opened his memorandum-book. "Do you spell Ďcreature' with a double 'e'?"

At this moment the Unicorn sauntered by them, with his hands in his pockets. "I had the best of it this time!" he said to the King, just glancing at him as he passed.

"A little--a little," the King replied, rather nervously. "You shouldn't have run him through with your horn, you know."

"It didn't hurt him," the Unicorn said carelessly, and he was going on, when his eye happened to fall upon Alice: he turned round instantly, and stood for some time looking at her with an air of the deepest disgust.

"What--is--this?" he said at last.

"This is a child!" Haigha replied eagerly, coming in front of Alice to introduce her, and spreading out both his hands towards her in an Anglo-Saxon attitude. "We only found it to-day. It's as large as life, and twice as natural!"

"I always thought they were fabulous monsters!" said the Unicorn. "Is it alive?"

"It can talk," said Haigha, solemnly.

The Unicorn looked dreamily at Alice, and said "Talk, child."

Alice could not help her lips curling up into a smile as she began: "Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! I never saw one alive before!"

"Well, now that we have seen each other," said the Unicorn,"if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you. Is that a bargain?"

Elaine the fair, Elaine the loveable,
Elaine, the lily maid of Astolat,
High in her chamber up a tower to the east
Guarded the sacred shield of Lancelot;
Which first she placed where the morning's earliest ray
Might strike it, and awake her with the gleam;
Then fearing rust or soilure fashioned for it
A case of silk, and braided thereupon
All the devices blazoned on the shield
In their own tinct, and added, of her wit,
A border fantasy of branch and flower,
And yellow-throated nestling in the nest.
Nor rested thus content, but day by day,
Leaving her household and good father, climbed
That eastern tower, and entering barred her door,
Stript off the case, and read the naked shield,
Now guessed a hidden meaning in his arms,
Now made a pretty history to herself
Of every dint a sword had beaten in it,
And every scratch a lance had made upon it,
Conjecturing when and where: this cut is fresh;
That ten years back; this dealt him at Caerlyle;
That at Caerleon; this at Camelot:
And ah God's mercy, what a stroke was there!

We suggest reading the comments in the Congressional Record, reprinted on todayís editorial page, of Representative John Rankin of Mississippi. He rails at what he calls the Communist organ of propaganda, PM, for publishing an editorial stating that the Red Cross was mixing unlabeled Japanese and African-American blood with that of Caucasian blood, to be supplied to soldiers. He assures that this claim is false and maliciously intended to stir up race hatred in the country, as were the "radical, communistic elements" who had sought to stimulate this disgraceful, raceless blood mixing. He further assures that the blood provided servicemen would continue to be labeled separately, "white", "colored", or "Jap"óthough we take colorful liberties with his actual language in the latter regard.

PM, published by wealthy Chicago businessman Marshall Field III, was an experiment in commercial-free publication, accepting no advertising. Although it employed some known Communist writers, they were in the distinct minority and the official editorial policy opposed Communism. One of its regular contributors, a well-known Com-mmm-munist among the younger set, was Dr. Seuss.

Mr. Field, grandson of the department store founder, slowly let the newspaper die in 1948 after he founded the Chicago Sun. Another of his well-known Com-mmm-munist ventures was his support of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Didnít they employ that Jew, Leonard Bernstein? And then he wrote the music for that play about the Puerto Ricans, didnít he?

Now, getting back to that issue of mixing blood and refusing to label it: Do you suppose a dying soldier there in the Pacific, having his body loaded with shrapnel, would have paused to ask the medic whether the blood he was receiving was black, white, red, brown, yellow, or pink in its origin?

Weíd venture that the whole tempest in a teacup, in characteristic fashion, was stirred up by some Mississippi redneck crackers among the constituents supporting Mr. Rankin, consistently a racist and segregationist throughout his long political career.

Mr. Rankin, in 1945, referred to "niggers" in a speech on the floor of the Congress, prompting newly-elected Representative Adam Clayton Powell of New York to call for his impeachment.

In 1949, during debate on an incident in which a riot had occurred between protesters of a concert by Paul Robeson in Peekskill, New York and supporters of the concert, Mr. Rankin stated, again on the floor of the Congress, that the American people were not in sympathy "with that niggra Communist and that bunch of Reds who went up there." Another House member promptly objected, declaring that Mr. Rankin had used the word "nigger" and moved that, in deference to the two elected African-Americans in the House at the time, the word be stricken from the record. Rankin countered that he had used the word "nigra", whereupon House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas allowed the comment to stand.

Of course, in deference to Mr. Rankin, "nigra" was a common pronunciation of "Negro", both in the North and South, even into the 1960ís, and it did not of itself necessarily connote racism, but rather only a soft accent, even if annoying to ears accustomed to the more precise pronunciation. Cash, you will note, in his 1941 Texas commencement address, uses precisely that old pronunciation, though he wrote the word "Negro", always capitalized, unlike many of his contemporaries in the press throughout the country who styled it "negro", after the nineteenth century convention.

That some people retain accents and find it hard to avoid the pronunciations with which they have grown up is no slant either to their intelligence or their personalities or necessarily an indicator of prejudice. Indeed, undue reaction to words and verbiage and pronunciation of words may lead to prejudice against those who so react. Some folks can avoid those accents or drift around them, while others find it difficult or see no need to change their speech from that with which they became familiar in their first five years of personality development. Moreover, when one parent enunciates plainly, without noticeable accent, while the other evinces the original tongue, one can grow up ambidexterous with regard to having accent or not, depending on which side of the brain one might be reliant of the moment.

But, in this instance, that which Mr. Rankin spoke, insofar as the American people not being in sympathy with Mr. Robeson and those who supported his singing concert, was indeed true, that is, so long as one limits the word "American" to xenophobic racist rednecks who managed somewhere along the line, after the Communist Revolution in 1917 in Russia, to equate "niggers" and Communists in their minds and so believed, naturally, that all "niggers" were Communists, and therefore Red.

But we think that seeing black or brown as red indicates a mental problem of some sort, or at least significant impairment of oneís perceptions. In truth, though, Russians have never looked red to us. They appear Caucasian. Perhaps, we are color blind that way.

Incidentally, while mentioning Paul Robeson, his name is pronounced Robe-son, as with a robe. Robeson County in North Carolina, from which the controversy of late had derived over the Catholic-run USO hut, is pronounced "Rob-a-son". Donít feel badly if you have mispronounced it; we have heard many native North Carolinians do likewise.

On April 23, 1952, Mr. Rankin offered these remarks on the floor:

They whine about discrimination. Do you know who is being discriminated against? The white Christian people of America, the ones who created this nation... I am talking about the white Christian people of the North as well as the South... Communism is racial. A racial minority seized control in Russia and in all her satellite countries, such as Poland, Czechoslovakia and many other countries I could name. They have been run out of practically every country in Europe in the years gone by, and if they keep stirring race trouble in this country and trying to force their communistic program on the Christian people of America, there is no telling what will happen to them here.

Mr. Rankinís term as a Congressman, after 32 years in that post, came to an end with his defeat in the 1952 Democratic primary after his district had been gerrymandered somehow, probably by some Communists. He died in 1960.

He was co-sponsor of the legislation which brought to Appalachia the good of rural electrification in the form of TVA and supported generally New Deal policies, being a good Democrat. But, like many of his fellows of the stripe, he could never rise above his Southern roots and raising as a dyed in the wool racist and segregationistóor at least insisting on representing his constituents of that stripe as he found them, following them, not leading them with his own education back from the edge of the precipice. He was a member of HUAC and supported its view that insufficient evidence existed to investigate Ku Klux Klan activities, terming the organization "an old American institution".

An old institution for the mentally ill, we suggest.

Mr. Rankin also bitterly opposed the creation of the United Nations, believing it portended an evil world government, also emblematic of his Revelationist mindset.

Raymond Clapper today writes of the Roosevelt statesmanship in pressing to uphold the Atlantic Charter principles guaranteeing the sovereignty of nations against the desires stated by Russia for guarantees of post-war territory in Poland and Finland, as well as all of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Bessarabia, and Bukovina. Mr. Clapper sees FDRís stand as one which portended a genuine post-war United Nations organization, which Russia had pledged to join, dedicated to preventing the kind of extra-territorial aggression which had created this world war.

"Touch and Go" predicts that the turning point in the Pacific had occurred with Midway and the Coral Sea and that the battle ahead in that theater, while likely to be long, would be henceforth downhill, a hunt for Japan, rather than the defensive effort it had largely been in the previous six months. It remarks that 25 carriers were earmarked in the budget for building on the ways.

It also tells of the feint toward the Aleutians, that which is assumed to be a propaganda ploy so that the Japanese might tell at home of their having "invaded" the United States. This view, however, appears to be the result of delayed reporting. As the feint actually had occurred just prior to the beginning of the attack on Midway, it was more likely the effort simply to reconnoiter to determine the probability of retaliatory response against Japan, especially as much talk in the press had preceded the attack in recent months regarding the establishment of a substantial U.S. base in the Aleutians to supplant the token defense which was at the time stationed there, as well as supplying a position from which could be launched an attack on Japan.

"Sad Aftermath" tells of two Charlotte natives, 1st Lt. Gilmer Holton, Jr. and 2nd Lt. Walter Gurley, both friends, both roommates at Davidson College from which they had just graduated that year, both Army air corps navigators, who lost their lives in the Battle of Midway while serving with six other crewmen aboard one of a squadron of B-24ís pursuing fleeing Japanese ships from Midway toward Wake (Otori) Island on June 7. The squadron was led by Major-General Clarence Tinker, who had been assigned to re-organize the air defenses in Hawaii after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Mr. Holtonís step-brother, Jesse Rushing, died at Normandy on June 6, 1944.

Incidentally, General Tinker was one-eighth Native American. Whether Mr. Rankin would have objected to him giving blood to any of his stricken crew had the matter ever come down to it, no one may say.

And, whether Lt. Gurley was perhaps related to young Miss Annie Lee Gurley of Monroe who had written to The News several times the previous spring of 1941, starting with a letter printed April 11 expressing objection to old Superman and Red Ryder in the comic strips for their violence--as we noted with approbation in our note associated with July 9, 1941--and then subsequently requesting the lyrics to an old folk song in April, the affirmative response to which she had provided her heartfelt thanks in a letter appearing May 1, we donít know.

In the mere space of thirteen months since those letters had been written, the world had vastly changed, especially within the United States. Every family was now subject to being directly impacted by the war, if not by the loss of a close relative, by the loss of a neighbor, a friend.

On this date in history, as we pointed out a couple of days ago, the Office of Strategic Services went into operation and Coordinator of Information William "Wild Bill" Donovan became its Director, the first agency in the history of the United States whose function was solely devoted to collecting and analyzing intelligence information. At the time, it was necessary to combat the Abwehr in Nazi Germany and the spy agencies employed by the Italian and Japanese governments operating within the United States and abroad. After the war, it should have been broken into a thousand pieces and cast to the wild and unpredictable winds from whence its origins were aboriginally compelled.

Now Jackie's gone a-sailing with trouble on his mind.
To leave his native country and his darling girl behind,
Oh, his darling girl behind.

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