Saturday, September 14, 1946

The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 14, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Truman corrected his statement of Thursday at a press conference, as reported the previous day, saying he had not intended to convey the notion that the speech of Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace constituted the foreign policy of the United States but rather only that he approved of the right of Mr. Wallace to make the speech. The speech, delivered in Madison Square Garden on Thursday evening, had sparked controversy for appearing to contravene the policy enunciated on September 6 at Stuttgart by Secretary of State Byrnes suggesting that it was necessary to get tough with Russian expansionism. Mr. Wallace had stated that there was no future in a get-tough policy, that it would only cause the Russians in turn to get tough and potentially lead to war, especially if the United States supported British imperialism in their continued presence in the Near East oil countries.

The President also stressed that there had been no change in the foreign policy of the country and that there would be none without his consultation with the Secretary of State and Congressional leaders.

Assistant Secretary of State Will Clayton, acting as Undersecretary while Dean Acheson was Acting Secretary in the absence of Mr. Byrnes, had called the White House two hours before the speech and expressed his disapproval, after the President had stated his approval to the press. He believed the speech would be a source of trouble for Secretary Byrnes at the Paris Peace Conference.

In London, 300 RAF fighter planes flew over the city in commemoration of the sixth anniversary of the initial victory in the Battle of Britain when RAF pilots, outnumbered ten to one, shot down 185 Luftwaffe planes and lost only 25 of their own, with fourteen of the pilots rescued. In a half hour, 150 to 200 dogfights had taken place, inspiring Winston Churchill to state: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." The combat proved a decisive turning point in the Battle of Britain, which continued until the following May.

In Paris, V. M. Molotov warned delegates of the Peace Conference that it would be a mistake to ignore the desires of the Soviet Union in effecting the peace, and advised that all foreign troops should be evacuated from Trieste within 30 days until after the treaty would become effective. He supported the proposal for Security Council governance of Trieste over objections by Australia that the Council had abused the unilateral veto.

In New York, 30 members of the AFL International Longshoremen's Association crossed the picket lines of the CIO National Maritime Union without incident after the president of the ILA, not to be confused with the ILWU of the West Coast, called the NMU a "Commy group" and urged his membership to go to work. He was upset that they were striking when they would inevitably receive the same raise provided the AFL seamen. In New York and Baltimore, the AFL Seafarers International Union members, however, honored the NMU picket lines. The AFL had withdrawn all of its pickets.

Meanwhile, other unions, including the United Auto Workers, voiced intention to demand higher wages based on the higher wages paid the maritime workers, that the Wage Stabilization Board, overridden in its decision by Reconversion director John Steelman, stood disgraced and no longer viable as an instrument of resolving strikes.

In New York, the Teamsters strike continued to tie up deliveries, causing food stores to be without stock and preparing to shut their doors. Mayor William O'Dwyer was trying to effect negotiations through a committee to end the two-week old strike.

In Boston, the Civil Production Administration stated that it had authorized MIT to build an experimental solar energy house for research purposes to determine the viability of solar technology for heating purposes.

OPA head Paul Porter stated that the rumor that there would be a meat famine during the winter was false and that OPA would endeavor to maintain meat price ceilings and to enforce them. He stated that there would be a shortage for about six to eight weeks because of the glut on the market during July and August when meat price controls were not in effect. The Government stated that the sugar price increase would amount to two cents per pound at the retail end.

In Hot Springs, Ark., another hotel fire, at the Great Northern Hotel, added to the list of fatalities across the country in 1946 in hotel fires, with one person killed and nine others injured. The cause of the fire had not yet been determined.

In Deal, England, tugs pulled through a 90-degree turn the bow of the stuck Helena Modjeska, an American freighter bound for Bremen, Germany, with a load of motor vehicles and other equipment for the American occupation zone. The ship had run aground on the sands after leaving Deal.

Rain and high winds of between 40 and 65 mph were hitting New England in the wake of the tropical hurricane which passed 300 miles east of Cape Hatteras and headed north.

In Yuba City, California, the parents of a sixteen-year old boy had disappeared leaving behind a blood-spattered home with fragments of flesh and bone in evidence. The boy had also disappeared but was found with two neighbor children, ages 12 and 15, and taken into custody by police in Barstow, 400 miles from Yuba City. The initial charge against the 16-year old was forgery for issuing three checks in the name of his father. The boy claimed not to know anything about his missing parents and the other two children contended that they were on their way to Texas when one of their two cars had broken down in Barstow.

In Memphis, following a 27-0 football victory by Oklahoma City University over the Air Transport Command, a fight erupted on the field involving Air Force personnel and officers. An A.P. press photographer, Allen Snipes, sought to photograph the melee but was warned by a lieutenant colonel not to do so. The officer and three other Air Force officers then attacked the photographer when he refused to heed the warning, beating him and destroying his $250 camera. His face and clothes were blackened by the beating.

Whether proper charges of assault would be filed against the officers was not indicated.

In Dallas, the Texas Bonehead Club decided that, the claims of the Governor of Arkansas to the contrary notwithstanding, Arkansas had never grown a watermelon weighing 140 pounds because the largest melon ever grown in Texas, at the melon capital of Weatherford, tipped the scale at 134 pounds. The 140-pound melon which they received from the Governor of Arkansas was turned over by them to Bonehead University for study by its agricultural department to determine where it was actually grown.

On the editorial page, "The Snake in the Garden" remarks on the boos and catcalls which had greeted the remarks of Secretary of Commerce Wallace at Madison Square Garden on Thursday when he spoke of part of the blame for poor relations with the West resting with Russia. Yet most of his critics would likely charge him with playing politics for his own personal advantage.

Such people, however, appeared to ignore the record of Mr. Wallace insofar as his penchant for putting his foot in his mouth. He was the most impolitic public figure around, saying what he thought with honesty and integrity.

He was critical of American foreign policy for not working harder to achieve cooperation with the Russians and for accepting spheres of influence. His beliefs in that direction had caused Communists and Russophiles to flock to him, likely the source of the heckling in his audience on Thursday.

Such occurred with every liberal at one time or another. The Communists turned against them, as the Communists were not liberal but only saw Russia as sacrosanct. Mr. Wallace favored not supporting any foreign nation but neither being opposed to any, that America should do all it could to end Soviet aggression but should not engage in aggression of its own to do it. The words, it suggests, were too strong for both the extreme left and the extreme right.

The worst anyone could say of Mr. Wallace, it concludes, was that he was an idealist, once upon a time considered a compliment.

"Politicians Are Always Conformists" discusses the GI People's Party of Savannah, taking on the entrenched political machine of 25 years duration. They were welcoming anyone, whether a veteran or not, to join their movement, in sharp contrast to the North Carolina GI Democrats who were being exclusive.

Republicans in North Carolina had questioned whether the group meant to exclude Republican GI's. But The High Point Enterprise had wondered why the Republicans did not form their own GI organization.

The GI Democrats were not, however, planning a revolution; they were not planning to upset one-party rule in the state, merely seeking to inject new blood into the politics of the Democratic Party. It was easier for the ambitious young to take over the existing political machine than to overturn it.

The editorial concludes that while it favored a two-party system in the state, it realized that it would not obtain converts from the ranks of the politically ambitious, but only from those advocating "political heresy".

"A Visitor from Fort Mill" discusses Editor Bradford of the Fort Mill (S.C.) Times who had devoted a fourth of his front page to a satirical account of his recent visit to Charlotte to purchase a roll of tissue for his kazoo, a spoke for his bicycle, and a recording of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm".

On exiting his vehicle, he was forced by a crowd of people onto a bench in the front of the First Presbyterian Church wherein a man asked him from whence he derived, being thus informed, stated that he understood then why he had been drinking and appeared so disheveled. Mr. Bradford insisted that he had not been drinking, whereupon the churchgoer countered that Fort Mill was the locus of all the booze drinking in the area and so it had to be the case that he had been.

He explained to the old man that seven of eight pints of the liquor sold in Fort Mill went to Charlotteans, that his community had churches, schools and mills, not just liquor stores, and that he was teetotaler and a deacon. The old man, however, nudged him and asked for a half-pint.

Mr. Bradford then gave the old man a sermon on Charlotte's hypocrisy, accusing Fort Mill of supplying the liquor, when, but for the trade from Charlotte, all the stores would be forced to close their doors. Chances are, he said, that the average Charlottean had consumed ten times the liquor of the average person of Fort Mill since the end of Prohibition in 1933.

"To which we, hanging our head on behalf of our fellow hypocrites, can only add a faint 'Well said, Brother Bradford.'"

A piece from the Shelby Daily Star, titled "A Traitor to Her Sex?" seconds the motion of the Salisbury Post which proposed a psychiatric examination of the sixteen-year old girl cashier in Chicago who was charged with stealing $13,000 from her firm and spending $10,000 of the loot on her boyfriend, and the rest on clothes for herself. The fact that she had spent three times more on her boyfriend than on her clothes set her apart from most females and thus made her a candidate for doubt of her mental status.

The piece adds that the psychiatrists ought also examine her employers for placing so much money within the care of a sixteen-year old.

Drew Pearson states that the popular assumption around the White House was that DNC chairman and Postmaster General Robert Hannegan would leave both positions shortly after the November elections. Many hoped that he would. His health was bad and President Truman had twice snubbed him, stopping in August to pick up Secretary of the Treasury John Snyder but leaving Mr. Hannegan behind on the President's trip back from Missouri. The other time was aboard the presidential yacht to Bermuda during the President's recently completed vacation. Mr. Snyder went along for the trip but Mr. Hannegan joined it only on the return to Hampton Roads. Then Mr. Hannegan met Mr. Snyder only briefly, though press secretary Charles Ross claimed that they had conferred all afternoon.

Mr. Hannegan was said to be very aggressive politically as a member of the Cabinet, representing the New Deal viewpoint, unlike his predecessors in the position, Jim Farley and Frank Walker, who had limited themselves to party politics and not urged policy. But a coalition of conservatives, led by Mr. Snyder, Secretary of War Robert Patterson, and Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, usually won out, despite Mr. Hannegan having been responsible for Senator Truman being on the ticket in 1944. Mr. Snyder told the President things he wanted to hear while Mr. Hannegan was often disagreeable, offering frank criticism. Mr. Hannegan was bright and Mr. Snyder had a mediocre mind, further pleasing the President.

These, he asserts, were some of the reasons why Washington insiders believed that Mr. Hannegan would soon resign. Others, however, believed that his fighting spirit would cause him to stay on to represent the Roosevelt path and keep the Administration on it.

Charles W. Tillett, Charlotte City Attorney, contributes the second of his two-part article on the United Nations, reprinted from The Democratic Digest, the official publication of the Democratic Party.

The U.N. Economic and Social Council, rounding out his summary of the efforts to date to fulfill the designated function of each of the six organs of the U.N., was thought by many observers to have a role more important than the Security Council in maintaining world peace, and that if it accomplished its work well, could render the Security Council in time nearly inactive. The Council was designed to focus on causes of future wars and how to attenuate them. The causes of World War I, as set forth by Professor Quincy Wright in A Study of War, listed by Mr. Tillett, would likely carry over to be causes also of World War III.

Thus far, the Council had called the International Conference on Food in Washington the previous May and the Conference on Health in New York in June. An international conference on trade and employment was to be called during the fall.

The Council had commissioned six studies, on human rights, with a subcommission on the status of women, another on economics and employment, a third on social matters, a fourth on transportation and communications, a fifth on statistics, and a sixth on narcotics. All had met in May. The subcommission on women had recommended that women be granted equality in all fields of endeavor.

A special commission appointed by the General Assembly was studying atomic energy. It would make a report to the Security Council of its findings and recommendations. The Security Council would then assess it and, if meeting approval, transmit it to the organs of the U.N. to be used in guidance of performance of their duties under the Charter.

The next meeting of the General Assembly was scheduled for September 23—though set to be postponed for thirty days because of the ongoing Paris Peace Conference. The Security Council was in continuous session, as was the Secretariat.

He concludes by saying that in spite of the efforts of the U.N., war continued as a possibility, but for the first time in modern history, "enduring peace is a definitely realizable certainty if all the people and nations of the world will support this organization."

Barnet Nover, in Berlin, tells of the city appearing as a photograph of the craters on the moon, full of emptiness and desolation. It stood as a grim reminder of what pre-atomic bombing raids could do to a city. The statues of Bismarck, Moltke, and Von Roon had survived the bombing, but the monument to Hitler's Third Reich, Berlin itself, was demolished, with acres on acres of ruin.

Yet, within the city, three million still lived, though the industry of the city was operating only at six percent of capacity and only a small number of businesses functioned. Food had to be brought in from the outside. The inhabitants foraged and lived a meager existence, trading in horse chestnuts and cigarette butts for money and cutting wood for their homes, set up in cellars and among the ruins.

The stamina of women on spare rations was better than that of men, usually the very young or very old, and so the women were being trained for police duty.

There was free movement allowed between the four sectors of Berlin, unlike in the four sectors of the country at large.

The four zones could only be reunited and made to work efficiently by giving the Germans a larger measure of local control. A municipal election in October was scheduled, and until the government was established, there would continue to be a struggle in Germany between the West and Russia.

Samuel Grafton remarks again on the strange state of the nation with securities being sold on the stock market while store sales were 60 percent higher than a year earlier. The uneasiness triggering the market sell-off was deep-seated in its origins, the same complex manifested in the Teamsters strike in New York. The strikers would not listen to the union leaders, and management remained stubbornly aloof. Little negotiation had taken place.

The country was in a moral crisis. People quit their jobs for indiscernible reasons.

The disquiet affected political parties. In California, Democratic strength had suddenly declined in areas where once it had prevailed. But the loss was not necessarily a gain for the Republicans, as turnouts proved light across the country to Maine.

It all amounted to a crisis of faith, a frustration in finding the postwar world beset by inflation, producing dislocation and ultimately the kind of attitudes which resulted in the stock market sell-off and the Teamsters strike.

"The queerness which is upon us is the queerness of being lost, and men stop short, and wait, and listen amid the contemporary cackle for a voice which will have in it the authentic accent of leadership and direction."

Seventeen years hence, fifty years ago tomorrow, Sunday, September 15, 1963, an ineffable act would take place at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, just 18 days after Dr. Martin Luther King had delivered his eloquent address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, issuing his dream of one day seeing little black boys and girls able to walk hand in hand with little white boys and girls through the South without the threat of racism intervening to spawn violence. Four young girls, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, each 14 years old, and Denise McNair, 11, were murdered by the timed explosion of a bomb placed in the church by Klansman Robert Chambliss, wantonly seeking to destroy whomever happened to be in its path at 10:22 Central Standard Time, as the Sunday morning worship service was about to begin at 11:00.

Their deaths would be immediately overshadowed by the assassination of President Kennedy just two months later. But they would not be forgotten in a period of some of the worst racial violence in the country since the turn of the century when lynching ran rampant in the South. The trigger was, of course, most immediately, the promulgation by President Kennedy in June of the Civil Rights bill, a few hours after which Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers was shot down in front of his home in Jackson, Mississippi. The special place given to Dr. King on August 28, with the broadcast of his speech nationwide, proved more than the ardent racist of the Deep South could bear with anything but unmitigated rage.

It takes a deviant to commit any murder; it takes a special sort of cowardly deviant to target peaceable churchgoers, including children, with random violence. But the Klan always liked to transact their violence on Sundays, and made no special dispensation for either innocent bystanders, women, or children. They were all considered fair targets by the Klan, posing in their own minds as God's messengers on earth to carry out injunctions which they believed in their ignorance the Bible mandated, to keep the white race pure and the black race in subjection, never mindful of the fact that the Bible, whether covered in a white binding or a black binding, makes no differentiation between black skin and white skin, that the fiery cross is not symbolic of the crucifixion but only of a sword, the bar, in Genesis, to Eden to protect the tree of life for transgression by man against the prohibition of supplanting human knowledge of good and evil, of judgment, for that reserved to the divinity, that Isaiah provides that the nations, after divine judgment, shall beat their swords to ploughshares, not take up same in war.

Robert Chambliss was finally brought to justice in 1977, convicted of first degree murder, and spent the remainder of his eight years in prison.

The four young girls he killed never got to see, in this life, beyond that September morning, beyond the ages of 11 to 14, 18 days after Dr. King gave his speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

In May, 2013, the Congress unanimously approved and President Obama signed a bill providing them with the Congressional Medal of Honor.

No one outside their circle of family, friends, and acquaintances, of course, knew of them until that terrible Sunday. But in death, each of them became Civil Rights leaders, carrying the torch of freedom even into another century. In fifty years, their deaths have not been forgotten.

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