The Charlotte News
Tuesday, May 21, 1946
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Truman ordered seizure of the bituminous coal mines, which were threatened with resumption of the UMW strike on May 25. It was unclear whether the miners would remain on the job under Government operation. John L. Lewis made no comment on the development. Solid Fuels Administrator and Secretary of Interior J.A. Krug would operate the mines.
Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley of Kentucky emerged from his weekly conference with the President to inform that the railroad strike appeared "hopeful", but also issued the caveat that the press should not make its report on that basis too "leady".
Senator Arthur Vandenburg of Michigan stated that the Paris peace conference of foreign ministers, which he had attended as a delegate, had developed a "positive, constructive, peace-keeping, bi-partisan foreign policy for the United States". He blamed Russia for the failure of the conference to reach agreements on important issues such as the disposition of Trieste.
In Tehran, Prince Firouz, Government Director of Propaganda, stated that all Russian troops had evacuated Azerbaijan Province by May 6, as determined by the Government's mission sent to investigate the matter. He stated that the report had been transmitted to the Iranian delegate to the U.N., Hussein Ala, in New York. He disputed any continuing Russian interference in Azerbaijan, as Mr. Ala had been quoted as contending, saying that the claim was the delegate's own personal view but not that of the Government.
At Vishofen, Germany, near the Austrian-German border, 4,000 American soldiers struck by surprise at dawn against an Hungarian river fleet suspected of smuggling SS fugitives, ammunition, and black market supplies along the Danube. The troops boarded and searched nearly 400 vessels, finding machineguns and other weapons, as well as radio equipment, and U.S. Army food and clothing.
In Dachau, Lt. Virgil Lary, Jr., of Winchester, Ky., identified Georg Fleps of the First Waffen SS Panzer Regiment as the defendant who began the Malmedy massacre by firing two pistol shots, one killing a prisoner, toward the group of 150 to 175 prisoners standing with their hands clasped behind their heads. The massacre involved the murder of 71 unarmed American soldiers taken prisoner by the Germans on December 17, 1944 at the start of the Battle of the Bulge. The bulk of the prisoners were shot with machineguns positioned on the sides of vehicles.
The prosecution was contending that the Germans were allowed to hunt American prisoners for sport and had orders to take no prisoners.
The House Appropriations Committee recommended a budget for the Navy of 4.639 billion dollars for the coming fiscal year.
In Oviedo, Spain, Generalissimo Francisco Franco wound up a 45-minute tour of the rich coal and iron mining area by assuring a crowd of 6,000 miners at Sama that Spain had a strong, united Government able to provide them with housing and health insurance, and rich Corinthian leather seats in the new car they would soon own for their personal pleasure. He said, "The future of Spain depends on you increasing your production," to pad his bank accounts so that he could bring many cows from Corinth to produce the leather for the seats.
In Havana, the United States gave to Cuba two airbases constructed early in the war, at San Antonio de los Banos, 30 miles from the capital, and at San Julian, 200 miles to the west.
The seismograph at Weston, Mass., registered a strong earthquake 1,960 miles south southeast of Boston, in the vicinity of Venezuela.
Hal Boyle reports from Berlin that werewolves were eating doughnuts at dusk. They were two German children camped outside his front gate, between them consuming at least nine doughnuts a day. Manfred was especially friendly to Mr. Boyle, calling him "Onkel Amie" and launching himself into his arms every time he saw the American approach. His friend was Karin, shyer than Manfred. After he took them to the press club and fed them doughnuts and soft drinks, they became hooked and daily waited for him at his gate.
Manfred carried a small box in which he collected cigarette butts for his father. Both spoke only a small amount of English, and Manfred said he was either three, four, or five years old, depending on the day asked. He was stealing tennis balls from the press club court for unknown reasons, as he could only obtain a one-year contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. They could bribe him into returning balls, however, by promising doughnuts in return.
Manfred was ready to go to America and would leave his mother in the care of his father.
In New York, a twin engine Beechwood Army transport plane crashed under overcast and fogged skies into the 58th floor of the fourth tallest building in Manhattan, the 71-story Bank of Manhattan, killing all four occupants.
In Hollywood, Primula Rollo, the wife of actor David Niven, died from injuries received in a fall down a stairway the previous Sunday night at actor Tyrone Power's home. Mr. Niven had met her during an air raid in 1940 in England when she was a WAAF and he was a colonel in the British Army, and they were married shortly afterward. At the conclusion of a dinner party, just six weeks after her arrival in the United States, Mrs. Niven had opened a door of what she thought was a closet and fell 20 feet down a stairway into a basement, cracking her skull. Apparently, it occurred in the context of a game of "sardines", a form of hide-and-seek.
In Washington, Representative Harold Cooley of North Carolina was fighting a 30-day eviction notice from his rented three-bedroom home in a fashionable part of the nation's capital.
He could always employ Charlie and station him on the roof to resist the eviction.
On the editorial page, "A Fresh Note in Diplomacy" reports of Waldo Ruess of Hollywood becoming the most celebrated wolf of modern times, stirring up already tense Russo-American relations in the process by having allegedly made a pass at a Russian actress while in a car, or, as the Russians described it, committed "insolent acts" against her.
The State Department was defending him on the charge on the basis that he enjoyed diplomatic immunity in Russia from criminal prosecution. The Russians claimed he was a "hooligan" and should be so prosecuted.
Some believed the incident was an attempt by Moscow to get even for the arrest in Oregon of Lt. Nicolai Redin on charges of espionage.
But, the piece suggests, maybe the Soviets had simply swung far to the right in their moral code. "If so, we'd better give up: our position becomes indefensible."
"Strike Cure Is Bitter Medicine" suggests that the strikes presently besetting the country were typical of a post-war period, had similarly dogged the nation after World War I, until 1920 when they suddenly ended because of the depression of the early twenties which brought layoffs, lower consumer prices, and a plentiful number of job seekers for few jobs.
It predicts that the current wave of strikes would likewise not end as long as the labor supply was slim and prices were high—until encountering a similar economic impasse as in 1920. But, unlike the Twenties, the current workers would not suffer so badly, with unemployment compensation in place, plentiful savings from the war, and strong unions.
"A Man Who Survived His Era" remarks on the passing at age 76 of Booth Tarkington, who penned Penrod and Sam, young immortals to a generation, and such other works of merit as Monsieur Beaucaire, Alice Adams, and The Magnificent Ambersons.
It wonders whether the current younger generation would appreciate the loss; for, if they read at all, they were not reading of Penrod. The passage of time had dated his art, but it had been art nonetheless in its day, accurately portraying the American family and the youth who managed to grow up straight and strong despite hooliganism practiced with ardor in youth.
Mr. Tarkington had achieved no literary success until he began to write of his own native Indiana and its people. His work made the current crop of "message" writers, says the piece, appear "a little mean and dingy".
A piece from the Atlanta Constitution, tilted "A Week to Try Men's Souls", takes the line from Thomas Payne in 1776 to describe the week in which the threat of coal and railroad strikes beset the nation. If both industries struck, it would begin a long and bitter struggle in the greatest industrial crisis since 1933. Prices of food, clothing, and all commodities would increase and shortages would quickly develop or become more acute, such as in vegetables, steel, and building materials. Transportation would cease.
While damage had already been done, were contracts soon formed, the results would not be so severe that production could not quickly be resumed. Prices would begin to fall within a year and within 16 months, building supplies would likely be plentiful, production of housing moving apace.
The filler at the bottom of the column: "A strike for prettier teachers
Drew Pearson comments on the insistence on collegiality and Senatorial courtesy during debate on the floor of the Senate, such that no Senator would take to task another, even though quite willing to criticize others outside the body, even on trivial matters. It probably explained why the Senate had not sought to investigate the cotton futures trading practices of Senators John Bankhead of Alabama and Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma, both of whom actively traded in cotton while openly debating price controls on the commodity, causing thereby fluctuations in the price.
He next tells of the specific demands set forth by John L. Lewis with respect to the demanded welfare fund for miners, and the special plea made by the President to both Mr. Lewis and the miners to resolve their differences so that the coal needs of the country could be met.
Marquis Childs discusses the Washington U.N. Food Conference which had just convened, and on which depended the prevention of widespread starvation overseas. The failure of the Paris conference, he suggests, could be likened to a time bomb, with its results not to be registered for another five, ten, or fifteen years. But the Food Conference would, if it failed, have chaotic consequences within a year.
There appeared general agreement on establishment of a five-year commission to take over when the UNRRA would end its work at the conclusion of 1946. Former President Hoover had proposed that the commission handle 30 percent of the world food trade. But Sir John Boyd Orr, head of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N., and Fiorello La Guardia of UNRRA both advocated complete control by the commission of all exported food, to avoid black markets developing which could restrict supplies.
Those who had planned the Food Conference were not hopeful, as Britain remained a question mark and Russia had not sent a delegate.
Samuel Grafton discusses the uncertainty of the independent voter since the death of FDR and the conclusion of the war. They did not appear to know what to believe in a world where the lines had become blurred. Many appeared to gravitate toward world government, and with a fervid passion. Others strongly supported the U.N., but in practice it meant support of Britain and the United States in the Security Council. Trying to find true internationalism in the U.N. was difficult, as it had developed a schism, the big powers and the smaller nations.
The independent could find nothing to support in the two major political parties, the Democrats having become somewhat less internationalist and the Republicans somewhat more so, but both appearing to embrace the dichotomy between major powers and smaller nations. The independent thus sensed that even another conference between the President and Prime Minister Stalin would not bridge the gap to form one world, would only lead to further bickering over boundaries.
"The independent looks for answers, and he remembers the happy time when FDR had them; but today he feels himself being swept along, sucked up by forces greater than he is, and he looks backward to where in the diminishing distance, a pin-point of light remains of the glow that was once scheduled to spread over the earth."
"Is the Conservative South a Myth?" by University of Florida political science professor William Carlton, from The Virginia Quarterly, as recommended to The News in a letter printed the previous Saturday from Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace, is reprinted in part.
In support of his thesis that the South had a liberal tradition continuing to 1946, he cites the South as nurturing and putting forth such exponents of liberalism as Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, both of whom received overwhelming support from the South. While in the case of President Jackson, the plantation owners and textile mill operators supported the Whigs, they were no match for the Southern yeoman farmers.
During the fifteen years following Reconstruction, the South, as the country, turned to Bourbon conservatism and big business. The bogey of "Negro rule" from reconstruction brought about Jim Crow segregation in reaction.
By the mid-1890's, hard times, Government deflation policies, and the cumulative effects of fast industrialization had pushed Southerners into rebellion in the form of Populism which eventually became the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, supporting William Jennings Bryan's Progressivism in three elections and piloting Woodrow Wilson into the White House in 1913. The same Southern liberalism also formed the sine qua non for the nomination of FDR in 1932.
"In the 1890's, the Populists sought to unite poor whites and poor blacks in a common protest against economic exploitation. The Populists sought 'political equality' for the Negroes. Said Tom Watson, fiery Georgia Populist, 'The accident of color can make no difference in the interests of farmers, croppers and laborers. You are kept apart,' he told the two races, 'that you may be separately fleeced of your earnings.'"
Presently, Professor Carlton continues, the fear of the black man was diminishing in the South and the old cry of "Nigger" used to divide liberals had lost its magic. It had been tried and failed against Senator Claude Pepper in his bid for re-election in 1944. It had likewise failed against Senator Lister Hill of Alabama. In South Carolina, Senator "Cotton Ed" Smith had been defeated by Olin Johnston, despite the former trying to dust off the Red Shirt slogans from the turn of the century.
There was evident an inclination, as in Georgia, to repeal the remaining poll taxes in the South.
The region still grappled with poverty, problems among sharecroppers, wage and income differentials, poor schools, and small endowments for colleges and universities, relative to the rest of the nation.
But Southerners still, by and large, voted liberal on basic issues. And with disappearance of the poll tax, consequent increased voting by blacks, and the growth of labor unions, the South would likely become more liberal.
"The South has not failed liberalism. Where in the whole region west of the Mississippi River is there a college president as consistently liberal as Frank P. Graham? Where in that region is there a judge as consistently liberal as Hugo L. Black? And now that George W. Norris is no more, where in that region is there a statesman as consistently liberal as Claude Pepper?"
The quoted paragraph above on the Populists seeking a coalition between poor whites and blacks was, incidentally, that for which the piece was cited at footnote 29 in the Appellants' Brief of 1953, submitted in Brown v. Board of Education, as we referenced on Saturday.
This notion is, in simple, that put forth in 1941 with greater complexity, yet with a considerable number of contingencies attached to the Movement's seemingly progessive outlook, by W. J. Cash in The Mind of the South:
Passing on now to the consideration of the poorer whites, we find that their fate under the cotton regime was even worse than that of their superiors. For upon the crackers and smaller yeomen who turned themselves and their holdings to the production of the staple, the summons to return to the old frontier heritage, to exhibit the qualities of energy, thrift, and pushing hardness, bore with greatest force of all. For them, indeed, the choice was posed with naked and brutal simplicity. Planted on the lands which returned the leanest rewards, and having no great holdings to be consumed piecemeal while they considered the problem, they had to measure up immediately and completely if they were to keep their heads above water.
Yet, as follows from what we know, they were in general perhaps the least fitted of all groups of Southerners to meet such a demand. Descending from those who in the beginning had had the smallest portion of industry and thrift and acquisitive will—and stripped progressively, through all the intervening years, of these qualities by the passage out and on of those who had been fortunate enough to be born with them; they had been so shaped by long absence of economic and social focus, so habituated to indolence and easy, improvident, undriven living, that they were no more capable of successfully encountering the situation than the softest and most squeamish of their countrymen at the other end of the scale.
Nor, having once succumbed to the lure of cotton-growing, could they ever thereafter fall back to their old way. For the end of the first year or two almost invariably found them heavily in debt to the supply merchant, who drove them with the club of his mortgage to continue in the production of the only crop which meant cash for his hand.
The upshot was that, in mounting numbers, they crashed into disaster. Every year saw thousands of them fail, to be sold out and cut adrift in the world.
Thus, out of the wholesale expropriation of the cracker and the small farmer; and out also, let me be sure to notice, of the extinction of appreciable numbers of the larger farmers and even of people who had been properly called planters, there arose in the South the white tenant and the white cropper, the head and front of the poor-white class from that day to this: a mighty and always multiplying horde of the landless, who, in order to eat, must turn to laboring for their more fortunate neighbors on whatever terms the latter offered.
6. It was a capital development, of course. For here was an end for these people of the independence and self-sufficiency, the freedom from direct exploitation and servitude, which had been so primary for the preservation and growth of the old frontier individualism, for the suppression of class feeling, and the binding of the South into its extraordinary unity of purpose and outlook. The relation of master and man, patron and client, was pouring over into the taboo confines of white men. And the old essentially voluntary and emotional grouping about captains was moving now toward becoming a genuine paternalism—acquiring a basis in force for the exercise of compulsion, and the turning of traditional right and duty into true prescription.
And this, you may think, at first glance, might naturally have been expected to act to overturn and reverse the effect of all that I have been saying previously: to swing these unfortunate ones, and with them the whole body of those common whites who stood in peril of sharing the same fate, back to a clear economic and social focus and to generate in them a sharp class awareness.
Yet, in reality, it was not to be. There was some current set up in that direction, certainly. All through the eighties and the early nineties the common whites may be said, I think, to have been groping in some dim, obscure, and less than conscious fashion toward perception of their position in the Southern world and to have been gathering anger against it. That was one of the elements in the growth of the Farmers' Alliance movement, and the great Populist outbreak of the nineties in which the movement culminated: in the emergence upon the scene of the Southern demagogue as a type, with Ben Tillman of South Carolina as the first great exponent of the role.
But to take it as the decisive element—to make these phenomena testify to the emergence of this groping to the even momentary realization of class awareness in any full sense—to do this, as some of the chief historians for the period have done of late, seems to me to go far beyond the fact. This movement which ended in Populism was essentially only a part of the national agrarian movement; it represented an outburst of the farmer interest against the great cities of the East rather than a class movement within the South itself. The forces behind it here, like the forces behind it in the Middle West, were blind and diffuse rather than clear and pointed: the rage and frustration of men intolerably oppressed by conditions which they did not understand and which they could not control, the most vivid conviction that something was wrong without any comprehensive view of what it might be.
Its attack was directed primarily, not against the planters, and, for all the opposition to the lien laws, not even very definitely against the supply merchants, but against the railroads and two Yankee creations called the Money Power and the Cotton Exchange, its prevailing objective was the seizing of the national government for putting down these monsters. In the beginning it had no extensive local program, and such local program as it afterward developed, though including some desirable minor reforms, like the popular election of United States senators, never really struck into the heart of the internal social problems of the South.
I am not suggesting that there was not something of reality in the notions and objectives of the agrarians. There was. Even the Old South had been pretty much in the position of a European colony set down in a nation side by side with, and forced by the tariff to buy everything it needed from, an economy with a much higher and continually mounting standard of living. For more than half its cotton was sold in the European market, and the price of all of it was fixed, not in New Orleans
or Charleston or Savannah and not even in New York or Boston, but in Liverpool ; and so not on the basis of the living standards of the North, but on those of Lancashire and Flanders.
But after the Civil War this position had been made greatly worse. Because of the falling price of cotton, for one thing, of course. Because, for another thing, living standards in Yankeedom were genuinely rising to a striking extent. But also, and perhaps above all, because the tariff gang had now got a completely free hand. The South in the nineties, having to sell its product for the lowest prices in history, was having to buy its wants at prices held to the very highest level that even the Yankee standard of living would bear—by far the highest level in the world. Which is in effect to say that a very great part of even such poor wealth as it could manage to create was being drained off to fatten the pockets of the masters of the North.
And for all this the popular fee-faw-fum of the Money Power—or, as the phrase went and goes, Wall Street—answered with a considerable degree of accuracy. The great banking interests of New York were an integral, and in the last analysis probably the most essential, part of the tariff gang. And, for that matter, these banking interests were guilty of exploiting the South in other ways on their own private account, the whole system of cotton financing I have described here being in large part simply a reflection of the terms imposed by them on Southern bankers and merchants or those persons in Yankeedom who supplied Southern bankers and merchants.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that, so far from proceeding fundamentally from internal division in the South or representing a revolt of the commoners against the ruling orders, the movement with which we deal here distinctly began as a union movement of all the agricultural classes—with planters and yeomen in the van and such poor whites as participated trailing along with more or less of listlessness. "To organize the cotton belt of America so that the whole world of cotton raisers might be united for self-protection"—such, precisely, was the watchword of Macune, the great moving spirit in the growth of the Farmers' Alliance. And Ben Tillman himself was no poor white but a considerable landowner, who got into politics, according to his own account of the matter, because he was tired of falling in and out of bankruptcy and of seeing his neighbors, both great and small, performing in the same manner, and wanted to see if something couldn't be done about it. Nor was his dominant theme ever the plight of the tenants and the croppers as such, but that of the cotton-grower in general.
And if this movement did eventually bring on division in the South? It brought it on only when the national issue of Free Silver was injected into the case. Moreover, the division which took place along the line of this issue was very far from being clearly a division according to class. True, the majority of the planters and of the old chieftains of the Democratic Party—good conservatives, like the holders of great property and power in every time and place—fled aghast, and henceforth labored arduously to destroy the whole agrarian movement. True, the majority of the yeoman farmers promptly got their backs up on the other side, bitterly denounced the "gold-bugs" as enemies of the poor and friends of the Yankee harpies, and set themselves fiercely to turning the "Bourbons" and the "brigadiers" out of power at home. But even here the break was by no means coterminous with class. Not a few planters and even some of the old party captains went with the Populists, and a considerable wing of the yeoman class cast its lot with "sound money" and the "Bourbons."
And the tenants and the croppers—the poor whites in the strictest sense? Here is the conclusive test. The majority of them never departed in the least from their ancient allegiance, held fast to the side of their old captains. And of those who did go in for Populism, the greater number continued always to exhibit that lack of intense enthusiasm I have already noted.
No, we cannot take the movement here as proceeding from, or as testifying to the appearance of, an overt and realized class awareness in the South. None the less, it did have in it, as I have said, that element of groping. It did testify, in some secondary but real manner, to the festering of that irritation and resentment which had existed in the depths of the common white even in the Old South—to the advance of at least a great many of these common whites along the way.—from Book Two, Chap. II, "Of Quandary—and the Birth of a Dream", Sections 5-6, pp. 160-165, 1969 ed.
...But when it came to fixing a grievance continuously in view and methodically preparing for a strike by regularly paying union dues, they were quite incapable of it. And as for winning a strike—they hadn't a chance. So much follows from what I have just said, from the lack of coherent organization and the absence of a war chest. It followed, too, from the very carelessness of their psychology—from their willingness, once they had discharged their irritations, had their lark, and begun to get hungry, to drift cheerfully back to work, regardless of the fact that even their immediate aims had not been accomplished. But it followed for far vaster causes—which, however, we can more conveniently examine later on. It is enough here not only that unionism had no hold in the South in 1914 but that there was as yet no soil in which it could really take root—that the worker's irritation at his estate was still far too nebulous and discontinuous.
Nevertheless, I think what I have said is true—that in some dim manner the cotton-mill worker of the South was beginning perceptibly to respond to the logic of the circumstances, and that some degree of irritation was here. And for better and more decisive proof than the sporadic strikes, we may turn to politics—that characteristic field of Southern focus—and, specifically, the election of Cole L. Blease as Governor of South Carolina in 1912. For Blease was the first of the Southern demagogues to appeal directly and consistently to the cotton-mill workers as their peculiar candidate and champion. Back in the nineties Tom Watson of Georgia had, indeed, tried it for a moment, but had hastily dropped it; and thereafter nobody had taken it up again until Blease now employed it with success.
Blease was not in truth, however, a protagonist of the actual interests of the mill people. And his rise did not at all testify to the entry of economic realism into Southern politics. On the contrary. He had no program for the benefit of the factory workers. And once he had come into power, his single accomplishment in their behalf would be to fling open the gates of the South Carolina penitentiary through the pardoning power—a deed which was very gratifying to them as to other common South Carolinians, because of the conviction (not without ground) that the pardoning power in the state had hitherto been used with gross favoritism, but which, for all that, obviously had little to do with their true needs.—from Book Three, Chap. II, "Of Returning Tensions—and the Years the Cuckoo Claimed", Section 2, pp. 249-251
...As for lynching, it is clear enough without further pursuit of the theme, I trust, why, quite apart from the question of personal fear and hate for the Negro on general racial grounds, even when such fear and hate were strongly present, the masters of the towns were often inclined to frown on lynching, and in large numbers to exert themselves to see that the police put it down in their boroughs and in the country that surrounded them.
To the point here also is the fact that the ground was increasingly better prepared for their success in weaning those below away from it. The general considerations I have set forth in regard to the town applied to the underdog too, but there were special factors in his case as well. Thus, since no Negroes lived in the cotton-mill villages and few even passed in and out of them, the whites there lived almost completely removed and insulated from the black man, save as they encountered him briefly in the streets on their Saturday excursions.
But that, you might reasonably think, suggests a great fall in the substance of their fear and hate rather than mere divorce between these emotions and the lynching pattern. So, logically, it does—on first thought, at any rate. But my own observations bear out the conclusion reached by nearly all those who have observed the matter closely, that in fact the cotton-mill worker was likely to fear and hate the Negro even more than the poor white on the land.
It may be that their very isolation had something to do with that. Contact between the Negro and the rural poor white had always been and remained peculiarly intimate after a fashion. Though they scorned him in their way, yet white croppers and tenants at least would not infrequently sit on the black man's steps and even in the kitchen with his family, talk with him of the hazards of the seasons and the elements which they faced in common, laugh at his cunningly humble little jokes, and expand their egos in the comfortable sense of sitting among inferiors, who were yet not unpleasant, as a friendly dog is not unpleasant. The cotton-mill worker, on the other hand, was left to nurse his inherited tradition of fear and hate, so to speak, almost in a vacuum, viewing the black man for most of the time at a distance which stripped him of all personal and even human characteristics.
Furthermore, his occasional closer contacts with the blacks were likely to be of a sort perfectly calculated to stir up the fires of fear and hatred. For the Negro, with his quick perception in such cases, had promptly grasped the peculiar attitude of contempt with which upper-class white men regarded the mill worker, and had taken it over on his own account—made his scorn for "po' cotton-mill trash" as manifest as he dared on every available occasion.
Nevertheless, if the isolation of the mill people did not diminish their fear and hate but instead increased these emotions, it still did operate very largely to remove them from the stream of circumstances which gave rise to lynching. And something of the same kind was probably true of the common sort in the towns generally, for they, too, usually lived in some degree more remote from the Negro than was the case in the country. At least, they were in less active economic competition with him. Hordes of blacks had poured into all the towns from the first, and in many cases they made up from a third to more than half the total urban population. But most of them had gone into domestic service or other menial callings despised by the whites. Only relatively small numbers of them even attempted to enter the mechanic trades. And when competition in a trade did develop, as when white men began to move into the barber shops, once almost exclusively manned by Negroes, the latter were routed so quickly and thoroughly that there was no time for trouble to develop. Occasional angry conflicts did occur, naturally, but on the whole they were too inconsiderable and too infrequent to give rise to widespread feeling.
20. But now in the years after the war, as I have said, fear and hate of the black man, having diminished greatly in activity and even to a considerable extent in potential, was beginning to swell again—never to rise even close to its old Reconstruction and Populism levels, and never to be potent enough to reverse or halt the downward trend in lynching, but still powerful enough to demand more active outlet.
For here in abundance were circumstances to make the South's feeling that the black man had been mastered, never completely secure, less and less certain.
A salient and obvious thing was that the Negroes who had served in the army had tasted strange experience which fitted ill with their established role in Dixie. They had seen Negro officers, and the spectacle of Southern white soldiers, cursing bitterly under their breath, perforce saluting them. In fact, a few of the Southern Negroes had themselves been officers, to the vast joy and pride of all their kin and acquaintance—of the whole people, for that matter. And in France they had seen stranger things still. In that topsyturvy land the Negro soldier had encountered a white people who, if they were not wholly without prejudice against him, were only mildly touched with it. So far as the prostitutes were concerned at least, he had even found himself allowed to approach and enjoy the white women of this people—had sometimes actually found himself preferred by them.
Inevitably, therefore, these blacks came back home now with a bolder lift to their heads, a firmer, more rolling step, and a new light in their eyes, which, lying half hidden most of the time, was yet calculated periodically to flash out into open insolence or provocation on the slightest pretext or sometimes none at all.
Something of the same sort was true, too, of the Negroes who came back to live in the South after a period of life in the Northern cities (many of them moved back and forth between the sections as Northern employment fluctuated up and down) or even only to visit and show off for a few days or weeks. As they were quickly to discover, the Yankee, confronted with the presence and the competition of large numbers of them, would not react very differently in essentials from the Southerner. The race riots in St. Louis and Chicago in the early post-war years were the worst the country has known. And restrictions and discriminations of all sorts would, in practice, continually increase. None the less, these Negroes had experienced at least nominal and legal equality. Their children generally went to the same schools with the white children; Negroes could and did crowd into the front of street cars and busses, sit with white people in trains and theaters and in many restaurants—in fine, were free of the irksome network of Jim Crow laws that had held them since the time of their birth in Dixie: a thing immensely and even disproportionately warming to the heart of a simple and wistful people greatly susceptible to and enamoured of the outward appearance of things. Furthermore, those who had lived in such districts as Harlem had often acquired the over-sleek dress and chatter, the jazziness and naive "sophistication" affected there, and, in their simplicity, returned to the land of their origin with only half-veiled scorn, not only for their stay-at-home black cousins but also for the generality of the white people, and particularly the rural white people.
And of course the example of these and the returning soldiers did not fail of effect, varying in measure but often quite evident, on the body of the Southern Negro population, one of the most suggestible on earth.—Ibid, Sections 19-20, pp. 316-320
Associate Editor Harry Ashmore would, after becoming Editor of the Little Rock Gazette, publish in 1954 The Negro and the Schools, which was distributed to the Justices of the Supreme Court during its deliberations in Brown v. Board of Education. Chief Justice Earl Warren subsequently informed Mr. Ashmore that the Court had relied in part upon the work when rendering its implementing decision of 1955, with its now infamous implementing phrase, "with all deliberate speed", which became a dark joke in the segregationist, reactionary part of the South, a way of using a favorite obscurantist ploy to combat any effort at erudition, semantic twists not for pedantic fun, but rather for perverse resistance to reality, puns to thumb not through books but rather their noses at liberalism, the Supreme Court, the Fed'ral Gov'ment down heya, and all who sought racial justice across the Great Divide
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