Saturday, July 27, 1946

The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 27, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that William Heirens was prepared to confess to three murders in Chicago, including the Suzanne Degnan murder of January 7, the murder of Frances Brown, 33, a former WAVE, on December 10, 1945, and of Josephine Ross, 43, on June 3, 1945. The victims were, respectively, strangled, shot and stabbed, and slashed across the throat. Thus, there was no discernible common pattern of method among the three killings. The reason for the confession was so that the 17-year old could avoid the death penalty.

Georgia Governor Ellis Arnall offered a reward of $500 per individual brought to justice from information on the members of the mob of 20 to 25 white men who had waylaid an automobile on Thursday near Monroe and removed and shot to death two black couples, after one of the men had just been released on bail following a charge of stabbing his employer, a white farmer. The reward, said the Governor, could total $10,000 or more.

Captain Joseph Garsson, the son of Murray Garsson of the Batavia-Erie Basin combine of companies under investigation by the War Investigating Committee, stated that he wanted to be shipped overseas during the war but his requests were blocked and he was told that his superiors had orders to keep him stateside. Eventually, he was able to get the protective orders rescinded.

He believed that generals in the chemical warfare branch of the Army had provided his protection and that his father had not asked Representative Andrew May to use influence for the purpose of protecting him from court martial when he refused an order which he thought unreasonable. Eventually, he was given a suspended sentence.

He spent more than 300 days in combat and was awarded the Bronze Star. A general who had been his commanding officer stated that he was never aware of any special protection afforded Captain Garsson.

The committee was preparing to examine the matter to determine if improper influence was exerted to give Captain Garsson special treatment.

OPA, its life extended by a year, placed automobiles back under June 30 price ceilings.

Secretary of State Byrnes departed for Paris to participate in the 21-nation treaty conference set to begin Monday.

Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin of Britain was ordered to rest for at least a week and Prime Minister Clement Attlee was scheduled to take his place at the conference.

In Frankfurt, Germany, one Jew was killed and thirteen persons were wounded in three separate incidents involving displaced persons camps. The attack involving the fatality was directed from a camp at Wolfrathaussen against German civilians on Wednesday night.

In Atlanta, another hotel fire, the fourth in the previous two months, took place at the Piedmont Hotel. No one was killed this time and only two persons were injured.

In Los Angeles, band leader Artie Shaw, formerly married to Lana Turner, now married to Ava Gardner, was being sought for $2,000 in back support from another wife, who was seeking to levy against his assets.

Actress "Boots" Mallory Cagney, sister-in-law to James Cagney, took three minutes to obtain divorce from movie producer William Cagney. They had been married since 1933.

In Huntington, W. Va., an eighteen-month old baby learning to walk, slipped in watermelon juice and broke his left leg.

On the editorial page, "Talmadge's Whirlwind of Hate" suggests that the lynching of the two couples at Moore's Ford Bridge near Monroe, Ga., had demonstrated the temperament of the core supporters of Eugene Talmadge. It supposes that, continuing the logic of some that the opposing press and the Federal Court decisions which had provided the vote to blacks in the Georgia primary had been responsible for the backlash which led to the election of Mr. Talmadge, such "outside interference" would also be blamed for the lynchings. But if anyone was to be blamed beyond the actual lynchers, it would have to be Mr. Talmadge for his fiery rhetoric during the campaign, serving to encourage unsanctioned violence against blacks, assuring, as he did, virtual impunity for such violence if he were elected.

The one consolation was that Mr. Talmadge was beginning to reap the whirlwind of hate which would eventually destroy him. The reign of terror which he had countenanced would cause Georgians who had not actively supported him not quiescently to accept him, as they appeared to have been doing thus far. The four who died would, it predicts, come to be regarded as casualties in a war between decent Georgians and the minority of "warped and violent men" following the lead of Gene Talmadge.

"Some day they will take their place among a great state's honored dead."

The names of the four were Roger Malcom, the man accused of stabbing his employer, a farmer, during a fight, his wife Dorothy, and their neighbors, George Dorsey and his wife, May, merely along for the ride to pick up Mr. Malcom at the jail upon his release on bail. The $600 bail apparently was posted by the white farmer who was transporting them, Loy Harrison. Mr. Harrison, like the stabbing victim, also had employed Mr. Malcom. Mr. Dorsey had served in the Pacific war for five years and had been discharged only nine months earlier.

The Moore's Ford Bridge was along a route back to the couples' homes, albeit stated in some accounts as being the "long route", and so it is pure speculation that Mr. Harrison had anything at all to do with the murders. His eyewitness account was obviously the only one contemporaneously available and if one is to conclude that he was complicit, obviously, aside from the physical evidence of multiple wounds in each victim and dozens of bullets having been fired at the scene, there is nothing to corroborate the allegation of there having been 20 to 25 men involved. Also, if he was a co-conspirator, it is difficult to imagine why he would have not contended that the men were hooded to conceal discernment of identity and better protect his own claim of non-involvement. If, in fact, the route he took was longer than an alternative route, many reasons which are innocent might account for that. If it was someone at the jail who informed the Klan of the time of release, a fact which would be common to many such lynchings, including that of the three civil rights workers, Mickey Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, near Philadelphia, Mississippi, June 21, 1964, then, obviously, it would have been easy enough to have spotters to determine the route being followed by Mr. Harrison.

Simply because Mr. Harrison happened to be white does not in the least make him an accomplice. That he failed to recognize anyone at the scene is, of course, unlikely, but that form of silence was typical for such small communities in those times, fearful of the Klan or its equivalent, and dependent as they were for their livelihoods on the continued good will of the very people involved in such heinous crimes—even if to remain silent was, in the abstract, cowardly and allowed the system to be perpetuated through time, costing the lives of many more. The black community was also equally responsible for remaining silent, and so no one could fault either black or white for being mum in the face of such real and readily actionable threat to life, livelihood, and reputation, or that of family members, especially when it was known or strongly suspected in a given locale that law enforcement was involved in the cabal.

Had the perpetrators been brought to justice and either executed or given lengthy prison terms, the Klan violence which killed in the fifties and sixties might have been checked. And aside from violence, it must not be forgotten that the activities of the Klan or their Clannish compadres, still very active to this day in the South, will ruin the reputations of good people whenever they think someone is "out of line", be they black or white.

So, it is difficult to stand firmly in judgment of someone in the shoes of Mr. Harrison who may have only been acting to bail out from jail one of his valued farm laborers. Surely there would have been severe repercussions to his life, especially since he was also a former member of the Klan by his own admission, had he stepped forward and begun to identify the perpetrators. But the system of fear was, and is, in some communities, how such machinations continue to co-exist among seemingly "honest and decent folk", just as it was in Nazi Germany. The seeds of mutual distrust among those who would fight it, even among those who would fight it vehemently, are sown with assiduity by the nefarious through planned and systematic practice, learned by tradition in families and neighborhoods.

Ploughing up and eliminating that garden of weeds and crab grass, often full of snakes, can be a daunting task requiring unity and breaking of the cycle of fear and brainwashed paranoia, while minding not to fall victim to the very type of tripe which the editorial was discounting and discouraging, blaming for the problem the very people trying to dig it up and eradicate it, in the end thus perpetuating it.

We should note also that it is quite incorrect and disserves history to say, as some accounts do, that this lynching was the last mass or multiple lynching in United States history. That classification completely ignores two of the most celebrated lynchings in modern times, that of the four little girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham on September 15, 1963 and the murders of the three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964, the latter lynching being one which, more than any other, sparked nationwide outrage and helped cement the conscience of the nation around the 1964 Civil Rights Act, signed into law by President Johnson on July 2. That two of the civil rights workers, Mr. Schwerner and Mr. Goodman, were white does not make it any the less a racially-motivated crime. It was certainly not ordinary murder and inevitably was in response to the passage of the Civil Rights Act by the Senate two days earlier. It is a pattern of Klan violence through history that it erupted not always out of heated passions of the moment but from coolly calculated timing to coincide with national events, to send their little message of reaction and displeasure. The whole order is founded in symbology. The issues motivating the violence are rarely only parochial, as the pattern of timing through history attests.

"We Need a Traffic Plan—Now" discusses the need in Charlotte for long-range plans to widen streets. Congestion in downtown around Independence Square was prohibiting growth.

Other communities in the area, such as Greenville, S.C., had undertaken such planning prior to the war.

"Don't Louse Ol' Dizzy Up" finds the previous day's piece reprinted from the Asheville Citizen to be adequate defense of baseball broadcaster and former pitcher Dizzy Dean's malapropisms. But Mr. Dean, himself, had also contributed markedly to his own defense. He had, for instance, stated that his use of "slud" was perfectly appropriate: "What do they want me to say—slidded?" And when he had said that Stan Musial was in "hitterish form", nine times out of ten they did hit. "Who cares what they call it?"

He regarded himself as a teacher, referring to "this beer outfit that hired me to learn the people baseball." He could learn a person what was a ball or strike, or vice versa.

The piece suggests that he was simply a scientist at work with his own argot for the diamond and English teachers did not need to fear infection of youth with it any more than from any other particular field of endeavor with its own special terminology. They could focus on the sports pages with far more effect. One example which had recently appeared ran: "Cooled Cards: Bums Praise Jints".

Sportscasting and sports writing, it contends, had its own corner and English had little, if anything, to do with it.

We again find ourselves in disagreement, would like to proceed to the umpire's box for an amicable bit of dialectic with respect to this defense of neologism.

And, as we have said of late, more than once, stop the hell using "icon" to describe everything you like. It is not "iconic" just because you or your friends, or everyone you have ever encountered, like it. Keep using it and "iconic" will become so ironic that you who insist upon using it will become the laughing stock, soon to be rendered laconic for your histrionics over what amounts to popular idols of this year or yesteryear, but not in the least "icons".

No, Dizzy Dean was not the "iconic" sports announcer.

Use "representative of his time" or "exemplar of his day" or, in truly exceptional cases, "paradigmatic". But, unless this or that is to be elevated to religious status, stop calling it "iconic". It is nerve-wracking, not to mention trite, jejune, and altogether communicative of a lack of imagination and education. Not awesome, Not cool.

We have not yet heard or read anyone so brave and grandiose, yet, as to term something or someone "iconicker" or "iconickest". But the time is probably not far away.

A piece from the Wilmington Post, "It's the Same Old Thing", begins by engaging in a bit of hyperbole, saying that Alf Landon had been defeated by FDR in 1936 by an electoral vote margin of 5,532 to 8. It was actually 5,531 to 9. In any event, the Kansan had said that he did not understand how the Republicans could be dumb enough to lose the next presidential election.

He would find out, as the piece predicts he might, by the Republicans making some of the same old campaign promises through candidates who could not inspire the imagination of the people, such as Harold Stassen might.

Drew Pearson discusses Willie May, the nephew of Congressman Andrew May of Kentucky, under scrutiny by the War Investigating Committee for improper exertion of influence on war contracts. Willie May had little when the war started, but finished the war as a millionaire, serving nine days in the Army and obtaining discharge to work for General Tire & Rubber Co. Through the aid of his uncle, he obtained an appoinment to West Point for the son of a General Tire executive, whose name we hope was not Spare. He was now building houses for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Mr. Pearson relates of the detail of this rags-to-riches saga at the behest of Willie's Uncle Andy. He speculates that perhaps some of the lumber from the Cumberland Lumber Company, which Congressman May had purchased as conduit for the Garsson brothers, went to Willie May's General Tire Co. as wooden boxes, explaining where in the hazy scheme the lumber from the phantom lumber company had gone.

He concludes by noting that Congressman Frank Boykin of Alabama was running for the seat of deceased Senator John Bankhead. He was taking credit for every positive thing which had occurred to Alabama during his twenty-year tenure in Congress.

Marquis Childs discusses the tidal oil lands bill which had passed both houses of Congress and was headed for the President's desk where he would undoubtedly veto it. It had passed so overwhelmingly in the House that it would depend on the Senate to provide the more than one third vote to sustain the veto. It had passed 44 to 34 and so the President already had a third of the 94 living Senators in his corner.

It was right, according to Mr. Childs, to uphold the veto as America needed its strategic reserves, depleted by the war. Other reserves, such as lumber and minerals, had also been depleted measurably and needed conservation. An amendment placed in a bill to provide strategic stockpiles had included a clause to require purchase of American goods unless the purchase required unreasonable expense or was inconsistent with the public interest. This clause thus needed to be carefully used with an eye toward its exceptions, to prevent depletion further of strategic reserves.

Samuel Grafton writes from Los Angeles that one of the "sweet and lovely" things about the war was that the country developed a strong social sense, a sense which had significantly dissipated in the wake of the war. An example was in higher food prices which were causing people to say that at least things like butter were now available. But if to many the cost was not available, then neither was the product.

It communicated a post-war feeling permeating the society that as long as things were available to the well-heeled, all was copasetic. Such thinking would not have been expressed during the war.

A recent report that a record harvest of wheat might generate more light-colored bread was not something of great priority but must have appeared odd to the British who were suffering under severely rationed bread of any kind, causing, in some instances, bread riots. India and China were on rations below a thousand calories per day. During the war, no such statement would have issued from the Department of Agriculture.

The country, which had come together so well to win the war, had fallen into self-interest in its aftermath. It seemed bent on transforming the collective victory into "tiny, individual defeats".

A letter from Inez Flow, Dry representative, comments on an editorial from the previous October 27, complimenting the Wine Control Association for its temperance program, giving the Dry forces credit for impelling this association toward that end. She found that on July 8, an editorial, "The Beer Trade Stays in Line", showing that the beer industry's self-regulation had worked to raise standards and cooperation with law enforcement against unlicensed sales, again credited the Dry forces with keeping the beer industry honest.

She asks why it was that the Beer Committee had called upon the State to investigate nearly 10,000 establishments for violations, that it was humiliating to the State for the liquor interests to be involved in self-policing.

The editors respond that without self-regulation, it would be more humiliating.

A letter writer joins a previous writer of July 12 in recommending presentation of The Great Conspiracy Against Russia by Sayers and Kahn, to counter-balance the serialized I Chose Freedom, disagreeing that publication of censored Moscow reports in The News provided that balance to the presentation of the latter work by Victor Kravchenko.

He found also the publication of articles in Life of June 3 and 10 by John Foster Dulles on Russia to be war-mongering. The writer had told Life to cancel his subscription unless they were willing to publish replies by someone of the stature of former Ambassador to Moscow, Joseph E. Davies. Re Mr. Dulles, he recommends an article in the June-July issue of The Protestant, "John Foster Dulles—Christian Statesman?", by J.M. Freeman, suggesting that in the name of peace and justice, Mr. Dulles was leading the Protestant churches into a trap.

A letter objects to the tidal oil lands bill which had passed Congress, giving to the states the right to royalties off the Federal tidal oil lands, finding it piracy.

He does not seem to gather that the President would likely veto the bill and that the Senate would probably sustain it, as explained by Marquis Childs.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.