Wednesday, February 27, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 27, 1946


Site Ed. Note: Unusually taking up virtually all of the front page is one story this date, reported by Dick Young and Tom Fesperman, regarding the search by the Charlotte Police for a nineteen-year old nursemaid who had last been seen with a four-year old girl, both now missing from the family home of the girl, daughter of a prominent local physician, since the previous morning, when the nursemaid walked away with the little girl in Latta Park, leaving behind her six-year old sister. Her mother said that the little girl liked to talk and so was likely causing whomever she was with a lot of trouble.

The name of the physician, we would be remiss not to tell, was Andrew Taylor.

The young woman had worked for the Taylor family for only a week.

Rewards were in the process of being collected by the physicians of the state.

A bus driver from Winston-Salem reported that he had carried on his bus the previous night from Winston-Salem to Richmond, Va., a young woman and a child matching the description of the two. Another bus had carried them from Charlotte. The two appeared to be traveling with an older man and woman.

A conflicting report from Kannapolis, N.C., involved a sighting of a young woman with a frightened looking child at around 12:30 p.m. crossing a street.

Faintly written between two verses of I Corinthians, 10:18-19, in a miniature Bible found in the nursemaid's purse, left behind, were the words "Danville and R", leading police to believe that they may have traveled from Richmond to Danville. Moreover, a woman and child had bought a ticket in Charlotte from Richmond to Danville the previous morning, along with the ticket to Richmond.

Police were studying the verses to determine if they might hold clues to the abduction. Chillingly, in the context of an abduction, the verses speak of the Sacrifice:

16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.

Whether the young woman, subconsciously or otherwise, perhaps recalled an editorial in The News in November, 1943, anent a quip regarding the ancient city of Dan, as viewed from above by Secretary of State Cordell Hull at the time, was not indicated, but the police, notwithstanding the statement imputed to the woman by the ticket agent that she had family in Danville who would care for the child, might wish to examine that connection.

The extensive front page coverage of the abduction might have been triggered by the still unsolved murder in Chicago of six-year old Suzanne Degnan, kidnaped from the family home in early January, her body then found dismembered the following day within a short distance of the home.

The State Department indicated that it had sent to France and Britain a proposed statement regarding Spain but refused to comment on the contents of it. An anonymous diplomatic source, however, indicated that the proposal was for a joint statement of the three nations opposing the Government of Francisco Franco, and offering potential support to a replacement Government which would be representative of the people, but also assuring that the governments would not interfere in the domestic politics of Spain, that any overthrow of Franco would have to be undertaken by the people of Spain.

The statement came in response to the closing of the border frontier between France and Spain by the French and a request from the British and Americans for support in denouncing Franco following the reprisals taken, including executions of ten Republicans and arrests of many others, for seeking to re-establish the Socialist Party in Spain.

In Buenos Aires, Jose Tamborini was reported to be leading strong man Juan Peron, Vice-President of Argentina, in the early tabulation of poll results from Sunday's election for the presidency. It would still be another 30 to 45 days before the final vote could be totaled and no definite pattern could be discerned from the early returns.

On the editorial page, "Race Riots Require Two Races" comments that the reports of the violence in Columbia, Tenn., had carefully avoided using the term "race riot" in its descriptions; but it was that. For the same reports told of "the roar of riot guns" and informed of the State Guard cordoning off an area occupied by 200 black citizens.

The matter, per the usual case in such scenarios, had begun over a relatively slight incident in which a radio repairman allegedly had been pushed through a plate glass window at his shop by a black woman and her son, regarding a disagreement over a bill. The pair were charged with simple assault and released on bond.

A brother of the repairman appeared in the town square after a crowd of angry white citizens had formed, appealing to them to let well enough alone and not stir up further strife. The crowd remained deaf, however, to his entreaties.

The Mayor had stated that race relations had been good in Columbia prior to the incident and nothing would have forecasted such a result.

The piece eschews casting blame from such a distance based on sketchy reports. But the pattern was familiar. While the highway patrolmen were preparing to enter "Mink Slide", the black section of Columbia, a commander of the State Guard ordered dispersal of 25 whites with shotguns. The State Safety Commissioner, in charge of the highway patrolmen, announced the arrest of 33 blacks, twelve of whom were charged with attempted murder. (The report of the previous day had stated that 70 were arrested, 68 of whom were black.)

The piece commends the authorities for moving swiftly to restore order, but that they would quickly come to realize that it required two races to have a race riot.

"How Not to Build a House" tells of the housing bill reaching the floor of the House the previous day, but, as expected, stripped of the price ceilings on existing lots and homes, and also of the 1.6 billion dollars in appropriations to fund the program, including 600 million dollars worth of subsidies to builders. The ranking Republican of the Banking Committee, furthermore, promised opposition even to price ceilings on new housing, which would leave the bill gutted of all of its primary recommendations by the President.

There appeared no alternative proposal. And in the case of veterans, there was plain obligation of the entire country to help foot the bill to assure proper housing.

It finds the Congress, which had initially supported the President's proposal when made, to be acting, regardless of motive, in bad faith, in the face of an ever-increasing housing shortage, which stood as a national disgrace.

"The Loyal Democrats of Dixie" reports of Southern Congressmen visiting the President to promote Representative Frank William Boykin of Alabama to become the new Secretary of Interior.

His qualifications, as elucidated by the Louisville Courier-Journal, were that he favored the poll tax and possessed a voting record indistinguishable from that of reactionary John Rankin of Mississippi, when, that is, he was not absent from the chamber. He had no sympathy with collective bargaining, had made his money in the lumber industry and naval stores, and had voted against the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

Yet, 13 Southern Senators and 40 Southern Representatives favored his appointment at a time when the President's appointments already were in trouble. To their credit, there were no North Carolinians among the group, though there were three Congressmen from South Carolina.

Fortunately, the President had not listened and instead had appointed J. A. Krug, former chair of the War Labor Board, to the post the day before.

A piece from the Durham Sun, titled "But How Old Is 65?" tells of Governor Gregg Cherry favoring maintenance of close adherence to the State's mandatory age of retirement at age 65.

The piece wonders whether it was an advisable policy as it was common to see people working past age 65, doing a better job than ever before in their lives. Such a policy probably would not injure the State as its jobs were cut and dried, administering fixed policies, largely automatic below the elected and appointed positions. It plumps, however, for judicious application of such an arbitrary age limit in private industry.

Drew Pearson, for the fourth time in the previous two and a half years, writes an open letter to his sister. He tells of being present at her house in October when his brother-in-law was discharged from the Army and told by the local draft board that they would call him again if he were needed. At the time, it appeared as a joke. But now it seemed, in light recent foreign policy developments, no laughing matter.

There would be no huge Army again necessary in the atomic age, but the rudderless state of the country appeared causing it to drift toward international crisis again, less than a year after the end of the war. Meanwhile, Russia had a clear idea of where it wanted to sail.

He wrote his sister because the time was short, time to wake up to the idea that the nations were planting either the seeds of war or peace and that one or the other would grow from them.

Thus, he considered the Canadian spy leak of atomic secrets to the Russians to be a blessing in disguise, to expose the stakes and the dangerous rivalry afoot. He was aware that the story went much deeper than the State Department at present wished to admit, as Russian spies wanted not only to obtain the atomic secret but also to disrupt American communication systems.

There was something to the notion espoused by former Ambassador to Moscow Joseph E. Davies that all nations engaged in espionage, but he seemed to have overlooked the fact that at the time of the spying by the Russians in Canada, there was an agreement being worked out to share the secret through the U.N. when it could assure that it would be utilized only for peaceful purposes.

The country had wronged the Russians, however, many times, including isolation of the country in 1929, causing it to become one of the most suspicious lands in the world. It did no good to determine right and wrong, but rather to realize that if matters continued on their present course, the two countries were headed to war over Turkey, Trieste, Iran, and Manchuria.

He favors a showdown based on exchange with Russia of social and cultural relations, to establish a working friendship and mutual understanding between the two nations, applying the Sermon on the Mount to international diplomacy.

The U.S. would never again go to war against Great Britain because it knew the people too well and the countries shared a common language. The problems with Russia began with the language barrier and were complicated by the fact of the country being controlled by a small ruling clique of military men who did not want Russians to know of America or its people.

Presently, some 1,700 Russian agents were operating secretly within the country. But Russia wanted no Americans in Russia, even if innocuous and open, without shadowing them every minute.

He suggests getting tough with Stalin on this issue of reciprocity, that there had to be freedom to form friendships with Russia.

He concludes by saying that his nephew Johnny might otherwise one day have to take his father's uniform out of mothballs.

Marquis Childs indicates that at the final White House meeting before the wage-price formula was determined, Chester Bowles had brought up the hitherto taboo subject of John L. Lewis, suggesting that he might seek to cause another problem with the wage-price formula when it came time to negotiate the wages of miners, requiring another price boost to accommodate the demands. But the President responded that Mr. Lewis would need learn that he was not bigger than the Government.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lewis had called a meeting of the UMW policy committee for March 11. His views on price controls were nearly the same as the National Association of Manufacturers, that is, that Government restrictions on wages and prices ought be lifted. The UMW contract signed a year earlier could, by its terms, be re-negotiated on the basis of the new wage-price formula, meaning that a strike or lock-out could occur on April 1.

Mr. Lewis, when it served his purposes during the New Deal years, had formed the liberal-leaning CIO, but was now at odds with its liberal leaders, having rejoined recently the conservative AFL.

Mr. Childs offers that Mr. Lewis had his "carefully laid plans" of which the nation would soon be apprised.

Samuel Grafton begins by recounting a piece in The New York Times in May, 1919 by the New York City Commissioner of Accounts that tents could be allowed in public parks and squares as a means of relief from the housing shortage following in the wake of World War I, the Armistice having been formed six months earlier.

Tenants had banded together and refused to pay higher rents, raised after the war. Sometimes, magistrates would be accommodating, especially to veterans. But evictions became a routine course, to such extent that two churches in the city set out cots in their basements for those without shelter and warehouses had to be established by the City for the purpose of storing furniture of evicted tenants.

The "schleppers" of the furniture went on strike in May for higher wages given the harder work, affording tenants some relief. The City tried to raise taxes on landlords as soon as they raised their rents. But the move failed. Retail prices also rose, sometimes quadrupled, as in the case of shoes, complicating matters further. Moreover, the prices did not fall as demand leveled off.

A consumer strike followed in which men began wearing overalls to work instead of suits. Retail prices fell sharply, sometimes below wholesale. Unemployment rose, with five to six million people out of work. Soon came depression.

He concludes that perhaps, therefore, OPA and its wage and price controls were not so bad.

A regular letter writer, who had written a particularly interesting missive on January 3, comments, in advance of the Bikini test, that if the test were successful against ships, then the country would maintain the Big Stick and most of the Navy would be rendered obsolete; if not, and the force of the explosion did not go much beyond conventional bombs, then the country could no longer assume such military prowess in the world. If it were to exceed expectations, then it would mean a drastic reduction in military personnel.

Don't worry. The next Congress would insure that the nation would have ample need for a strong and large military for the ensuing four and a half decades.

Another letter takes issue with the letter which had found the Vatican to be totalitarian in its approach to political matters. He assures, as a Catholic for over 50 years, that the Catholic Church did not favor Nazism or Fascism.

Another letter wonders whether the writer of the same letter understood the persecutions by the Nazis of Jews, Protestants, and Catholics.

A fourth letter comments on the February 20 editorial, "Washington's Angry Man", praising the job of Chester Bowles in keeping the lid on post-war inflation. The writer, however, wonders why the editors would write such an editorial when Mr. Bowles was Public Enemy No. 1 to the South and its cotton mills.

Also, "He is known to be a NEGRO-LOVER."

He was proved a "LIAR" in his argument with Henry Ford.

And the author goes on to spread forth more all-capitalized print for several sentences, which rub the eyes the wrong way.

The editors remark: "Come on down into lower-case again, Mr. Armstrong. You've had an overdose of Hearst editorials."

Incidentally, bear that in mind, please. There is nothing that brands a writer an amateur kook more quickly to most readers than writing out WORDS in CAPITAL LETTERS. It is also wise to compose a bit and try to use some readable form of the English language, or some other language in which the writer is comfortable. Gibberish sits there on the page as invitation to ridicule and sport, not only now but for posterity.

If angry, write it out, hold onto it, wait a day, then edit, critically. If you still feel compelled to capitalize or the functional equivalent, then stop writing. You are not equipped for the task just yet.

We can imagine nothing worse than someone ridiculing some racist gibberish 67 years after original publication as a letter to the editor. Bear it in mind should you write one. It will be there for a long time to come on the microfilm, and possibly on the internet. Times change and you want to be ahead of them, not woefully behind, stuck somewhere in the 17th century, when witches were being burned in Salem.

Whether, incidentally, the "Gould" to whom Mr. Armstrong had referred as having apparently railed against Mr. Bowles in the Hearst-owned New York Journal-American was supposed to be Charles L. Gould, future publisher of the San Francisco Examiner from 1961-75, we don't know, and, frankly, don't care.

In any event, it rained again in Charlotte this date.

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