Friday, May 3, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, May 3, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Marines had fired 60-mm mortars into Cell Block C of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay, after a group of convicts had seized an arsenal, killed two guards, one by machinegun fire, and then barricaded themselves in the cell block, taking ten guards as hostages for seven hours, shooting some of them and injuring all except one. Four or five of the mortars were placed in the shrubbery below the rocky cliff leading up to the Federal prison, as guards crept along a catwalk beneath the windows being used as pillbox portals by the prisoners, while other shells and tear gas bombs were lobbed through windows into the prisoner barricade.

The guards were rescued by the Marines in a gun battle. In addition to the two guards who died, thirteen were injured. The Marines landed 83 men on the island the previous night and were sending in 23 more this date, plus a shipment of grenades and other munitions.

Efforts were being made by the Marines to chop a hole through the roof of the cell block into the area where the six ringleaders were holed up.

Warden Clinton Duffy of San Quentin sent eleven of his experienced guards to assist the guards at Alcatraz after Warden James Johnston of Alcatraz told the State prison Warden that things were not going too well at the facility at the moment. Twelve Federal guards were sent from the facility at Englewood, Colo., to help in quelling the riot. Five more guards were being sent from Leavenworth in Kansas.

Boats circled the island with journalists aboard to record the events. They estimated that the prisoners for awhile were returning fire at the rate of five shots for every shot taken at them. The exchange of gunfire sounded as military battle.

George Draper of the San Francisco Chronicle was able the previous night to float on a small boat as close as 50 yards from the island, out of range of the convicts' fire, and reported that just above his location were guards lying on their stomachs firing rifles at the south corner of the building, out of the sight lines of the convicts; then advancing, and hitting the dirt again, military-style. On the roof, two guards were observed with their heads bobbing above the roof wall, as it appeared an attack was about to be initiated.

Ultimately, after two days and nights, three of the ringleaders were killed before the guards and Marines were able to restore order.

Three years earlier, Alcatraz had made front page news when four convicts sought escape from the maximum security facility.

The Government ordered a further cut in passenger rail service to conserve coal. Service would be cut by 25 percent from May 10-15 on coal-burning railroads, then by 50 percent thereafter. The order embraced three-quarters of the nation's passenger rail traffic. A general embargo on freight shipments, with certain exceptions, was also imposed.

It was predicted that all of industry would be crippled should the coal strike, begun April 1, persist for another 20 days.

The President stated that, in time, the walkout might be considered a strike against the Government, at which point the Government would act, presumably meaning seizure of the mines, as had occurred in 1943.

Chicago and two-thirds of Illinois, plus twenty-two counties of Northern Indiana, were undergoing a brownout to conserve electricity because of the coal shortage.

Harold Ickes, in his column, voices support for the request of Fiorello La Guardia on behalf of UNRRA, that the UMW mine enough coal for relief of Europe. Mr. Ickes recalls that John L. Lewis had not been reluctant to complain of the empty bellies of miners when they were able to eat a lot more than the starving of Europe currently had to consume.

Both Mr. Lewis and the coal operators were hard-boiled businessmen and it was not to be expected, therefore, that they would have any sympathy for the starving overseas. While Mr. La Guardia had directed his request to the mine operators, they had responded, correctly, according to Mr. Ickes, that it was up to Mr. Lewis who had staged the walkout. Mr. Lewis responded coldly to the request and The Mine Workers' Journal labeled it a political maneuver by Mr. La Guardia.

Mr. Ickes found the Truman Administration too meek for its own good, and Mr. Lewis was deftly taking advantage of that meekness. As America had fallen woefully behind in providing its quota of coal to Europe, transportation of food was impacted, as was the provision of heat.

Britain had no coal to spare for Europe, barely able to provide its domestic needs. It hoped that larger supplies of coal would come out of its mines when they became nationalized per the plan of the Labor Government.

America ought to have been undertaking therefore to fill the deficit, and, while John L. Lewis had no sympathy for Americans, he might at least feel for the victims of Hitler's warfare and atrocities. But thus far, he had only responded with a brutal, snarling "no".

The Charlotte City Attorney discussed with the State Attorney General sources of additional funding to meet budget shortfalls predicted for the coming fiscal year in Charlotte, but found no fertile ground for obtaining the necessary additional revenue, leading to further discussion regarding a liquor referendum to obtain the additional funding from legal sale of liquor through the ABC system. Even if successful, however, said Mayor Baxter, liquor revenue would not help the budget for the coming fiscal year.

Hal Boyle, still in Coburg, Germany, tells of a Bulgarian who had ruled the country for 34 years as King Ferdinand, from 1884 until 1918. He had once equipped thousands of troops during World War I with arms, and now was asking the American military governor for permission to have his old hunting rifle back, that he might seek out the auerhahn, a large mountain cock, in fulfillment of the family tradition which had it that one auerhahn had to be killed each year by each family member or face death.

The military governor was trying to arrange for a hunting license for Ferdinand so that the household would not come to harm by running afoul of the cock legend.

He had received ample payment from the Kaiser for bringing Bulgaria into the First World War on the side of Germany. According to his secretary of 28 years, he occupied his days with flowers, birds, books, butterflies, and newspapers. He reclined in his bedroom from 11 each night until noon.

Mr. Boyle was able to interview him—the results, for birdwatchers and butterfly catchers, appearing on page 7-A.

A photograph shows the arrival of Brundy von Ronstadt from Germany, brought aboard ship by an Army captain of Knoxville, Tenn., at a cost of $50 to $75. Brundy could not sing, but was excited by the view of New York which he surveyed through a porthole as the SS Cape Blanco sailed into port.

Brundy, judging by his visage, was clearly eager to hit the streets to chase chicks.

On the editorial page, "Demagogy Begins at Home" comments on the analysis of newspaper opinion anent the House bill which had emasculated OPA, as compiled by James S. Twohey of the Twohey Analysis of Newspaper Opinion. He had found that 28 percent of the newspapers opposed the amendments to the bill, four percent called for abolition of OPA, 14 percent straddled the line, and the remaining 54 percent favored curtailing the powers of OPA and ending subsidies, while charging that shortages were the result of OPA and the Administration, or engaged in attacking the agency while neither favoring nor opposing the end of controls.

Mr. Twohey—not to be confused with "Terrible Touhy", an entirely different individual—simply analyzed opinion for such clients as G.M., Standard Oil, The New York Herald Tribune, Columbia University, and CIO. He had no axe to grind and was presumably therefore reasonably objective.

He found that the press generally had misled the public by not engaging in debate on OPA to clarify the issues, instead criticizing the amendments while still favoring limitation of OPA, thus leading on to confusion.

The newspapers appeared therefore to have let down in their public responsibility and the matter was of great public concern as a result.

Politicians, it concludes, had no monopoly on demagogy.

"Labor's Two-Pronged Assault" comments on the campaign underway by both AFL and CIO to unionize the South, targeting especially the textile industry, with 100,000 of its 375,000 employees estimated presently to be unionized. The CIO would take an horizontal approach, but AFL, in keeping with its craft union orientation, would primarily seek plumbers, carpenters, and the like on a vertical basis—on the level and on the square.

The unions were seeking to prevent leftist organizations, including the N.A.A.C.P. and the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, from participating in the organizing effort. If it were to be successful, it would bring about significant changes in Southern labor relations. If the workers were to begin to side with the two unions, then a tide might sweep aside the old anti-union bias.

"Political Renaissance in Georgia" reports that Richmond County in Georgia, of which Augusta was the county seat, had seen record high registration, running to fifty percent of eligible voters, as against the usual eight percent or so even in presidential election years. Three fresh factors impelled the higher registration: that blacks could vote in the primaries, that the poll tax had been abolished, and that the voting age had been lowered to 18.

Most of the new voters were white, only about 12 percent being black. Many whites appeared to be voting in reaction to blacks having the franchise. But, regardless of cause, Georgia appeared on its way to its first truly democratic election in many years, and that was to the state's credit.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "The Letter and the Spirit", finds excusable an error in filing by J.J. Ingle of Winston-Salem for election to a position on the North Carolina Supreme Court occupied by Justice Wallace Winborne, when Mr. Ingle filed as the opponent in the general election of Justice Barnhill. The deadline for filing had passed before the error was discovered. The piece believes that Mr. Ingle should not be penalized for a short delay in the proper filing as no ballots had been printed and no harm had been done or expense incurred.

Drew Pearson discusses the increasing enmity between the two advisers closest to the President, DNC chairman and Postmaster General Robert Hannegan and RFC chairman George Allen. The impish Mr. Allen had led the Southern revolt against Mr. Hannegan after Mr. Hannegan had sought to get President Truman not to appoint Mr. Allen as RFC chair. The feud resembled that which had erupted between the late Harry Hopkins and Tommy Corcoran under FDR, with Mr. Hopkins eventually edging Mr. Corcoran out of the Administration.

In his "Capital Chaff", Mr. Pearson relates that Justice Robert Jackson was slated to return soon from his duties as lead American prosecutor at Nuremberg, with his probable successor to be Brig. General Telford Taylor of Vermont, former general counsel of the F.C.C.

Secretary of State Byrnes and Senator Tom Connally found it troubling that U.N. Secretary-General Trygve Lie appeared to be sympathetic with the Russians and were interested therefore in unseating him from the leadership position.

The Russians were moving out of Iran, but it was doubted that the evacuation would be completed by May 6, the date the Security Council had set to take up the matter again.

He next relates of Chief Justice Stone, while Attorney General under President Coolidge between 1923 and 1925, having advocated diplomatic recognition of Russia, that it did not matter what type of government Russia had as long as it was acceptable to the people of the country. But Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes opposed recognition and so President Coolidge rejected Mr. Stone's advice. Mr. Pearson remarks that had it been followed, the long period of isolation and consequent distrust by Russia of the U.S. would not have occurred, and the resultant distrust at present would not likely have been the case.

Finally, he remarks that, efforts of Hollywood notwithstanding, the French, to protect the rebirth of the French film industry, would not agree to import American films. Only 40 American films had been exported to France since the end of the war, those through the Office of War Information.

Marquis Childs finds Senator Theodore Bilbo's labeling of Clare and Henry Luce Communists as absurd as calling Cardinal Spellman and Herbert Hoover Communists. He was applying the label to anyone who disagreed with him.

The Senator had gone back to Mississippi to campaign for his re-election—which would be successful, but he would be effectively barred by his Senate colleagues from taking his seat and would die in August, 1947 from oral cancer. Mr. Childs suggests that the Senator's attack on the floor against the Luces, as well several newspapers, was a direct appeal to the voters back home, suggesting that these forces had formed a conspiracy to get rid of him.

He had accumulated a large campaign chest, derived from construction firms within Mississippi, who had profited from Government contracts during the war. Mr. Bilbo and his ilk wanted to maintain Mississippi close to the bottom of the heap in literacy, education, and health, as otherwise their power would be endangered. The state would accept Federal funding without strings attached, as when relief workers were sought for cotton mills during the Thirties.

Mr. Childs suggests that Mr. Bilbo had rushed back to begin his campaign because he and his type had to know, with Southern newspapers turning against them and such progressive lights as Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia on the scene, as well as new organizing efforts being undertaken by both AFL and CIO in the South, that their day was nearly done.

Samuel Grafton tells of driving to Bodie Island, N.C., in an old command car along the sand track with a guide, thinking of taking his usual informal poll via silence until the respondent would initiate the conversation. But the people he found on the North Carolina Outer Banks were not given to initiate conversation, even for hours at a time, and so finally he asked his guide whether people talked much about Russia, to which the guide responded that they did, all the time, but did not know what to make of it.

Mr. Grafton regarded it as a progressive attitude. The guide then commented that the Federal Government had built a fence along the sand dune to keep it from blowing away, giving local people a lot of jobs in the process.

He finally reached his bass casting spot and found the entire sandy stretch deserted of humanity, save his guide. But just as he started to cast his line, a stranger appeared out of nowhere and told him cryptically that fishing in the Rockies was much better. He was an industrial scientist who ventured the opinion that Russia did not trust the U.S. because of the maltreatment after the previous war.

Mr. Grafton says that it seemed odd to be discussing Russia on "this side of the moon", but then a life belt, probably from a sunken vessel during the war, had suddenly washed up on the sand and such discussion did not seem so odd or remote after all.

The people of the area produced many young soldiers who had fought bravely in the war and had the battle scars to prove it, but still appeared to have no deeply held political convictions or resolve to exert their will on the country. The most political talk he had heard was with a police officer regarding the legality of killing stray dogs, who proceeded to describe the particulars under which it could be done.

He resolved after this talk that the only thing to do was to return to his tiny hotel where a delegation of townspeople were debating whether to take a Taylor cub aloft to spot the channel bass and then, when found, go after them in a fast boat, "which shows you what methods they think some New Yorkers require to get a fish."

A letter writer, who had attended a religious-affiliated college, opines that the proposed move of Wake Forest from the village of the same name near Raleigh to Winston-Salem would, by the college accepting the tobacco money offered by the Smith Reynolds Foundation, not make it any the less Christian or educational. He had found at his unnamed college that fraternity membership was a sine qua non for engaging in campus politics, that drinking was rampant, that he was nearly expelled for proposing an investigation of excessive drinking at an off-campus football game.

Thus, he concludes that the Christian college was little different from the secular college or state supported institution. A few divinity students on campus did not cause the college to be more Christian than otherwise.

A letter from the president of American Relief for Holland, Inc., tells of the great need of the Dutch for clothing, states that Americans had already in the year since the end of the war supplied twelve million pounds of relief supplies through this organization.

A letter pays instant homage to Harold Ickes and the editors respond with instant thanks.


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