Thursday, August 8, 1946

The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 8, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Paris Peace Conference had been thrown into turmoil by the rejection by Russia of the Rules Committee voting rules which had been adopted 15 to 6 the previous day, providing for a two-thirds majority vote for a positive referral of an issue to the Foreign Ministers Council, while a simple majority would obtain a recommendation to the Council, with the Council having final say. Herbert Evatt of Australia then accused V. M. Molotov of attempting to dictate to the conference.

Mr. Molotov appeared to object to the allowance of a referral by only a majority vote, but appeared petulantly objecting for the sake of objection, as the basic rule was one he had favored from the start.

The British High Commissioner of Palestine, Lt. Gen. Sir Alan Cunningham, stated that the Palestine Arab leaders had rejected a proposed meeting in London to discuss the plan of the British to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab sectors. The Arab leaders would not discuss any proposal to partition the country. The Arab propaganda office, not necessarily reflecting the views of Arab leaders, favored inclusion of Russia as a party to the Palestine talks, as Moscow had stood firmly opposed to Zionism as a capitalist ideology.

The President signed into law the 2.4 billion-dollar terminal leave pay for veterans, reimbursing them for lost furlough time during the war. Except for small sums, the pay would be in the form of negotiable bonds with a five-year minimum maturity date from the date of discharge of the holder.

The heavily damaged American Farmer with its cargo of dried eggs and wheat, after having collided 700 miles at sea with the Riddle, was brought to port in Wales, amid a dispute between the initially towing British private vessel Elizabete and the American freighter which intervened, with the help of a Navy destroyer, and completed the job. The captain of the Elizabete claimed that his boat, one-fourth the weight of the stricken vessel, could have completed the tow, but that was doubted by the American crew which boarded the derelict and took over the towage. The captain of the American vessel did not dispute, however, that the Elizabete had salvage rights, at least in principle, in the Farmer.

Two physicians advised the Senate War Investigating Committee that Representative Andrew May of Kentucky would not be ready to testify for some time to come, given his continuing heart trouble.

Hal Boyle, still in Bamberg, Germany, discusses Maj. General Ernie Harmon, America's top cop overseas, who had been an unorthodox tank commander, believing that tanks, not the infantry, should bear the brunt of frontal assaults on the enemy. He had proved the validity of his thesis at Anzio in Italy in 1944, driving through four German defensive lines to gain 5,000 yards. It had cost him 116 tanks in a single day, but only ten doughboys were killed and less than a hundred wounded. Moreover, within a week, 70 of the damaged tanks were back in action.

General Harmon foresaw that tanks would play a lesser role in future wars, just as the cavalry had been phased out after World War I.

He shuttled about the American occupation zone of Germany in a train after wearing the rims off his own train. As he inspected the troops of his constabulary, their knees shook. He would chat with some, bawl at those who were not properly dressed, commend others.

Seeing one man with a 36th Division insignia, the General asked him if he had fought at the Rapido River. When the man said quietly that he had, the General stated that the battle had been a tough one, prompting tears from the soldier. The General patted him on the back and turned away to avoid shedding tears himself.

Quickly changing demeanor, he spotted a soldier in baggy trousers and gruffly asked if he had slept in them.

He asked one rookie if he had seen previous duty, and the soldier replied that he had, in the Navy. The General asked what he was doing there, to which the soldier replied, "Beats the hell out of me, sir." The General chuckled and moved on down the line.

In Chicago, William Heirens, 17, had a psychiatrist appointed to examine him, pursuant to defense counsel request, following his confession to the three murders with which he had been connected, only for two of which having yet been indicted. He had entered the confessions to avoid the death penalty pursuant to a plea bargain, whereby he would receive three consecutive life terms, assuring no possibility of parole.

An earthquake was recorded at Fordham University in New York from somewhere in the Caribbean, appearing to coincide with reports that a strong tremor was felt in the Dominican Republic.

The Agriculture Department reported that the probable cotton crop for the year would be 9.29 million bales, 200,000 more than the previous year, but only 75 percent of the ten-year average.

Reconversion director John Steelman announced a reorganization of his office, with the appointment of Federal Judge John Collet as an associate for as long as the Judge could be away from his judicial duties in Kansas City.

In Philadelphia, Father Divine, immortal since 1932, confirmed that he had, on April 29, married a 21-year old white girl from Montreal. His deceased first wife, he said, dead for three or four years, had approved the marriage, had entered in spirit his new bride. Father Divine was 41, had married his first wife in 1882, 23 years before his birth. The new marriage, like the first one, was "in name only" as God was not married and he was God.

His followers were said to be ecstatic, shrieking and chanting.

On the editorial page, "The Vandals of Myers Park" discusses the vandals of the Myers Park area of the city, centering on Dixon's Drug Store on Providence Road, where teenagers had abused individuals and participated in wanton destruction of property. The awning on the drug store had been ripped twice. Young boys had yelled insults at customers, driving them away. And a sign across the street from the store had been reported scrawled: "Dixon Is A Jew".

Though Mr. Dixon was not a Jew, the fact was irrelevant. These privileged teenagers had harassed the store for unknown reasons, using a racial classification as a purported excuse.

The Chief of Police had stated that if the boys were under 16, they could not be arrested and the parents needed to take steps to stop the behavior. But the police could protect the drug store property.

It warns that these teenagers might be lost if their behavior pattern was not changed.

"Notes on Two Strange Elections" comments on the success of Harry Truman in defeating Roger Slaughter for Congress in Missouri because of Mr. Slaughter's consistent opposition to the Truman program and the fact that he was the neighboring Congressman to the President's home district.

If the reaction of the voters was generally to incumbency, then all incumbents needed to worry about the fall election, but, if, as it appeared, it was sui generis, the result of the Pendergast machine getting out the organized vote to defeat Mr. Slaughter, then it was likely only an aberration. Nationally, incumbents had won 186 primary races to 16 lost.

In Virginia, Senator Harry Flood Byrd, a consistent opponent of the Administration, had won by a substantial margin behind his own powerful machine. The machine had provided transportation to the polls plus baby-sitters and field hands.

The editorial posits that apathy was still the order of the day.

"WCUNC and the Good Life" finds that the establishment of a Home Economics Foundation at Woman's College in Greensboro was not a mere effort to keep pace with Chapel Hill and Raleigh, but rather was a logical extension of the college's activities. The Foundation would follow the precedents for textile management training and business in general established at the University in Chapel Hill and State College in Raleigh. It would also likely aid in management of the home, appearing to have disintegrated in recent years during the war.

A piece from the Shelby Daily Star, titled "Talmadge's Indirect Responsibility", suggests that there could be connection between the fiery, racist rhetoric employed by Eugene Talmadge during the late campaign for the Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nomination and the lynching of two black couples at Moore's Ford Bridge near Monroe, forty miles from Atlanta.

The editorial refuses to charge Mr. Talmadge directly with causing the lynch mob, as he probably truly deplored that sort of mob violence. But it appeared undeniable that his campaign had helped to egg on the lesser lights which likely formed it. It would always be questioned, it says, if the culprits in the lynching were caught, what role Mr. Talmadge had played in the hearts of those lynchers.

No one has ever been brought to trial for the crimes despite an extensive Federal investigation contemporaneously and more recently, since 2006, in the Moore's Ford lynchings. Several suspects were named but not enough evidence could be gathered to form the basis for charges, the climate of silence both in the black and white communities of the time having drawn down the veil, preventing proper investigation.

We stress that it embraces little insight to suggest that the black community was afraid of the Klan while the white community maintained a "code of silence". That is nonsense. Both communities were afraid of reprisal from the Klan, which usually included on the robed rolls, tacitly or otherwise, some of the "best people" of the community, lawyers, doctors, judges, sheriff, deputies, police. The Klan stretched at this time into Atlanta proper. No one, black or white, wanted to become a victim by rocking the boat. If there was a "code of silence", it existed equally on both sides of the racial divide.

Drew Pearson states from Paris that British Undersecretary Hector McNeil had thus far been the only statesman to stand firmly up to V. M. Molotov and call his hand, becoming openly brusque with him regarding the Russian proposal to rotate the conference chairmanship among the Big Five rather than the British proposal to have Georges Bidault of France as the permanent chair.

Secretary of State Byrnes, normally mild-mannered, had become upset with Mr. Molotov regarding the revelation of a private agreement on the rotating chair. Mr. Byrnes kept his cool publicly, confirming to the smaller nations that the United States was taking a position of appeasement toward Russia. The chairmanship was mainly symbolic but the treaties about which the conference centered were largely already determined by the previous foreign ministers conferences and Mr. Byrnes was committed to those agreements. Only on the Trieste boundaries and other provisions to which expressed reservations had been made could the U.S. differ. The small nations, in consequence, would have difficulty making any changes.

Mr. Byrnes had received calls from Americans urging a fair peace for Italy, Ethiopia, Greece, and the Austrian Tyrol, but none for America. He said he would give the latter first priority if requested.

The U.N. General Assembly meeting scheduled for September inevitably was going to be postponed because of the Paris conference. The U.N. would probably need to reimburse the New York hotels for 5,000 reserved rooms.

He tells of the Senate ditching the effort to pass a bill to authorize the State Department to educate abroad through exchange students and professors. The need was evident in France, as most of the French people, he reports, believed that Russia had won the war in the Pacific and that most of the bread in France came from Russia because of the shipment of wheat from Moscow. Few knew the truth about American aid, the independence granted the Philippines, or the Pacific war. But the Senate decided to exchange better weather at home for spending two or three additional days in sweltering Washington debating this bill and others which were promised to be introduced had Senator Tom Connally insisted on putting it forward.

Marquis Childs discusses Sweden in the post-war world, a nation which for six years had remained neutral during the war despite German shells being fired into the country. Two of the shells did not explode and were transported to England for analysis during the war.

For the previous three weeks, projectiles without warheads were being fired into Sweden from an unknown source, falling into forest areas, doing little damage. If these same projectiles, he ventures, had possessed nuclear warheads, the "war" would have been over.

It appeared that the missiles were coming either from Russia, the Baltic States, or Peenemunde, the Nazi rocket-building site during the war. It was in this atmosphere that the Paris Peace Conference was taking place.

He relates that the Germans had developed a rocket gun which could have wiped out all British cities from Calais if put into operation. But superb British intelligence had destroyed it aborning.

Only the Russians had been to Peenemunde since the end of the war. Ironically, Sweden had just concluded a long-term 250 million dollar trade agreement with Russia to enable the Russians to purchase electrical equipment.

The American Government was experimenting with V-2's, but in the New Mexico desert.

He suggests that in a new war, all of Sweden and the rest of Europe which had survived World War II would be destroyed.

Peter Edson again discusses the first anniversary of the Potsdam agreement and its biggest stumbling block being Germany. Its major goals were to eliminate Nazism, disarm Germany, and establish military occupation and democracy. It was urged that, despite the four-way division of Germany, the German people should, insofar as possible, be treated equally across the four different zones. Such treatment, however, had not transpired.

A Control Council had been established but its orders were often trumped by London, Washington, Paris, or Moscow, resulting in major differences in each zone in the method of administration and denazification. The Americans, for instance, barred Nazis from holding public office while the Russians barred them from top offices only, seeking to convert the lesser functionaries into Communists. The Americans had encouraged establishment of numerous, diverse parties while the Russians had sought to unify them under one Socialist banner. All four zones had abolished Nazi discriminatory laws.

Schools were operating in all zones, but it was difficult to find German teachers who were opposed to Nazism. The judicial system had been reorganized by a Control Council law applicable to all four zones, based on the German Constitution of 1877. Local self-government functioned in the British and American zones, but it was unknown what was taking place in the Russian sector. Three elections had occurred in the American zone, organizing government from the local to the state level, but the other three zones had not yet proceeded so far.

A letter from Inez Flow, not this time commenting on liquor, responds to the August 5 letter which criticized The News for following the Northern press in stirring the "hue and cry" regarding the lynching of the two couples at Moore's Ford Bridge in Georgia, and supposedly aiding and abetting the Communists in inflaming the situation.

She thinks, to the contrary, that the newspaper had performed a great service to the South by decrying these brutal acts of murder committed in the name of white supremacy and the Klan.

A letter responds to the racist letter of August 3 from the native of Mississippi who had found fault with Charlotte's black population, thinking them uppity and not conducive to interracial cooperation by staying in their place as they did complaisantly in the State of Mississippi.

This writer expressly refrains from comment about the previous writer being born in Mississippi because it was not his fault.

Now, that's not nice. You are being uppity.

Elvis was born there.

Oh, you don't know him.

The writer states that the previous writer should have been aware of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments and the findings of Harvard anthropologist Earnest Hooton, known for his studies of human morphological variations, that there was no appreciable difference in the mental capacities of human beings based on racial characteristics. (The writer may be confusing the findings of "Dr. Ernest E. Hooten" with those of Dr. Hooton's contemporary of like renown, Dr. Franz Boas.)

But, the correspondent continues, there was quite a bit of difference between North Carolina and Mississippi, the one producing "illustrious and brilliant gentlemen" known for progress, while the other was known primarily for Senator Bilbo.

Now, that's not fair. Until 1944, North Carolina had Senator Robert Rice Reynolds, elected to two terms. Let us not forget that not all North Carolinians were dedicated to progress while not all Mississippians were dedicated to the politics of Bilbo. Indeed, many, such as Editor Hodding Carter of Greenville, Miss., were vehemently opposed to everything for which he stood and openly said so at great peril to themselves.

A second letter also condemns the letter from the former Mississippian and suggests that he go where there were no blacks to trouble him. This writer had been visiting Charlotte for 25 years and never had occasion to encounter any rude behavior of the sort the previous letter had recorded. Plenty of whites had blown cigarette smoke in his face.

A third letter, from a young African-American, responds to the Mississippian, telling him that blacks had voted in Charlotte since the Civil War and that North Carolina, which eliminated its poll tax in 1920, had for a long time been the only Southern state to permit the franchise to blacks. Moreover, blacks were not required to wait for whites to be served first in public businesses.

He says that the only intelligent statement made by the previous writer was that blacks should be educated. He then quotes from the Gettysburg Address and says that he was proud that the nation had endured, that blacks in North Carolina, young and old, believed it the best state in the nation and were determined to keep its reputation out of the mire.

We understand, but you will change your tune come the election of 1972.


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