The Charlotte News
Tuesday, May 20, 1947
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of the summations in the trial in Greenville, S.C., of the remaining 28 defendants accused of lynching Willie Earle, following the acquittals of three the previous day by directed verdict of the court for insufficient evidence to support a verdict.
The defendants chewed gum and chuckled during the presentations. Sentimental appeals were made by defense counsel on behalf of the children of the 28 men.
The court had ordered that defense counsel not make appeals for justification, mitigation, or excuse for the murder. When one attorney shouted, "Willie Earle is dead and I wish more like him were dead," the court admonished that he not make further such statements appealing to racial prejudice or he would terminate the argument. The attorney then characterized the victim as a "mad dog"—thus "Mad Dog Earle"—who deserved to be shot. Mr. Earle was in custody when abducted on February 17 by the mob of cab drivers, having been arrested that morning for the stabbing murder and robbery of a Greenville cab driver the night before.
The defense attorney contended that the Democratic Administration in the form of Attorney General Tom Clark had pushed for investigation of the case in an effort to get votes from the North for President Truman in 1948. He wondered aloud that if it was so under a Democratic Administration, how it would be under a Republican President.
The prosecutor urged that if the jury would condone the killing of Mr. Earle then no person's life would be safe.
In Chapel Hill, the trial began in Recorder's Court of two white and two black persons, including civil rights advocate Bayard Rustin
In Jerusalem, Jews, Britons, and Arabs challenged the assertion by Rabbi Baruch Korff
In Easley, S.C., a man was burned to death when his truck overturned and its gas tank exploded.
A total eclipse of the sun was observed in Boucaiuva, Brazil, this date at 9:45 a.m., 7:34 Eastern Time.
Tokyo's population had risen to more than five million people, more than 200,000 of whom were not registered residents.
The President's mother, Martha Truman, seemed to be recovering slightly in Grandview, Mo., where the President remained by her side.
In Kansas City, the Grand Jury returned indictments against 27 persons, including election judges, clerks, and precinct workers, on charges of vote fraud in the primary of the previous August. The indictments came from information found and reported by the Kansas City Star—the newspaper from which would come, the following July 28, the next Editor of The News, William Reddig, a veteran of nineteen years at The Star.
Secretary of State Marshall stated that he did not foresee the necessity of other large appropriations for aid, such as the 400-million dollar aid bill to Turkey and Greece and the additional 350-million dollar appropriation for aid to war-damaged countries in Europe and Asia. He stated that the War Department, apart from the State Department, would shortly ask for 78 million dollars for expenses in Korea, as well as other appropriations for like occupation expenses in other Asian countries.
The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee approved legislation to establish an Office of Information and Educational Exchange within the State Department. The House had eliminated funds for the program the previous week, but General Eisenhower had convinced the subcommittee of the importance of cultural exchange with foreign countries. The proposed bill included a requirement of screening of employees by the FBI for loyalty.
Representative Albert Thomas of Texas stated to the House that the Navy and Marine Corps would have to discharge 82,000 men if the Congress passed the eleven percent cut of the Navy budget approved by the House Appropriations Committee.
Western Electric settled the last major component of the telephone strike which had begun April 7. The affected 20,000 Western Electric workers received a pay increase of 11.5 cents per hour. The union reluctantly accepted a two-year no-strike clause in the contract. The workers were set to return to work the following morning.
In Philadelphia, a man sought $10,000 in damages in Federal Court from the Curtis Publishing Co. for publication in the Saturday Evening Post of a drawing which he contended ridiculed his mechanical hat-tipping device and interfered with the sale of the invention. The device allowed men to tip their hats while keeping their hands in their pockets.
He should have sued for a lot more.
Tom Fesperman tells on the back page of his observations of the spectators at the Charlotte Hornets baseball game.
A photograph of Randy and his father, Hi-Spot Trigger, appears, showing the former preparing for his entry in the Griffith Park Boxer match in Los Angeles. Randy was only eight weeks old but was favored to win the match.
On the editorial page, "There Is Still a Question of Intent" tells of Federal District Court Judge J. Waties Waring
South Carolina had repealed all laws governing the Democratic primary and had re-established the party as a private club, eschewing use of public buildings for campaign functions.
Regardless of the outcome, the case, predicts the piece, would likely wind up in the Supreme Court and the piece believes the question of intent of the Democrats would somewhere along the line be raised. For the only reason for the action was to bar blacks from voting in the Democratic primary, effectively barring them from the electoral process in the one-party state.
The editorial predicts that eventually the Supreme Court would rule the efforts of the Democrats to avoid Constitutional prohibitions to be nevertheless subject to them and violative of them.
In the case, Elmore v. Rice, Judge Waring would strike down the all-white primary as violative of the Supreme Court's Allwright decision of April, 1944, ruling that the all-white primary in Texas violated the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause and the right to vote assured by the Fifteenth Amednment. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals would uphold the decision of Judge Waring and the Supreme Court would deny review. Finding no essential difference between the primary conducted under the statutes and the primary conducted after the statutes were stripped from the books, Judge Waring would state in his decision:
It is time for South Carolina to rejoin the Union. It is time to fall in step with the other states and to adopt the American way of conducting elections.
I am of the opinion that the present Democratic Party in South Carolina is acting for and on behalf of the people of South Carolina; and that the Primary held by it is the only practical place where one can express a choice in selecting federal and other officials. Racial distinctions cannot exist in the machinery that selects the officers and lawmakers of the United States; and all citizens of this State and Country are entitled to cast a free and untrammeled ballot in our elections, and if the only material and realistic elections are clothed with the name "primary", they are equally entitled to vote there.
The following year, the Democratic Party in South Carolina would attempt to impose a loyalty test for voting in the primary, consisting of a pledge to support segregated schools and states' rights. But Judge Waring would intervene by promising the issuance of contempt citations against any registrar who refused to admit persons to the polls on such basis.
Judge Waring had presided over the Federal trial of Linwood Shull, the Batesburg Police Chief who had beaten and blinded Isaac Woodard in February, 1946 as Mr. Woodard rode a bus home after his honorable discharge from the Army following service in the Pacific during the war. That case, which had attracted national attention, including, before the Federal indictment, a searing excoriation of the police chief by Orson Welles on his radio show, wound up in an acquittal, Mr. Shull claiming that he used only necessary force to subdue Mr. Woodard who he contended grabbed his baton and had been drinking and creating a disturbance on the bus, allegations denied by Mr. Woodard and witnesses to the event. Judge Waring later criticized the conduct of the U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case and believed that the inadequate job had led to the acquittal.
In 1951, he would also be one of a three-judge District Court panel presiding over a challenge in Briggs v. Elliott to the separate-but-equal doctrine as applied to South Carolina public schools. Two judges refused to find that the South Carolina schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection clause but ordered the State to implement a program to assure equal facilities were being maintained in the segregated schools and to report back to the court within six months on the progress. Judge Waring dissented to the decision, finding that the segregated system did violate Equal Protection. That case made its way to the Supreme Court in 1952 but was remanded for further findings based on the report of the school officials. On remand, the District Court found that equality had been achieved except in the area of the school physical plant and that was being rectified. The case eventually got back to the Supreme Court in 1953 and then, before decision, was subsumed under the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case when it struck down the 1896 separate-but-equal doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson on the ground that in 58 years of segregated schools, the districts before the Court had not brought about equal education between the races, leading to the conclusion that the system was inherently discriminatory and thus violative of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The South Carolina primaries remained privately administered by the parties until 1992. It was not until 2008 that the State began administering presidential primaries. Only in 2013 did South Carolina begin registering candidates for the primary elections.
Just last month, in April, 2014, a statue to Judge Waring was unveiled in his native Charleston.
While in no way intending to detract from the courageous adherence to justice and the law of the land undertaken by Judge Waring in a time of bitter recalcitrance and nullification in the country, we have to note that it is an overstatement to say that Judge Waring's dissent in 1951 "framed the basis" for Brown. To do so ignores the steady build-up to that decision, notably in Sweatt v. Painter, decided by the Supreme Court in 1950, an unanimous opinion delivered by Chief Justice Fred Vinson, which held that the black law school established in Texas was not equal to that of the University of Texas, the Fourteenth Amendment thus requiring that the petitioner be admitted to the University law school. That case deemed it unnecessary in light of its ruling to reach the continued Constitutional viability of the separate-but-equal doctrine, but for all intents and purposes administered the last rites to the doctrine, and thus acted as the true forerunner of the Brown holding. Sweatt also tends to undermine the hypothetical argument sometimes made that had Justice Vinson not passed away in 1953, allowing for the appointment of Governor Earl Warren as Chief Justice, Brown might have been decided differently. It is entirely conceivable that the case might not have been unanimous or that it would have been formulated on different legal grounds, but the outcome in all likelihood, given Sweatt, would have been identical.
It should be noted that in 1947, Judge Waring, in reliance on State of Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, holding in 1938 that Missouri's statute providing for state-supplied tuition to out-of-state law schools in the absence of a black in-state law school presented an insufficient "separate-but-equal" status to pass Constitutional muster under the Fourtenth Amendment, issued a ruling in Wrighten v. Board of Trustees that a black man seeking admission to the University of South Carolina law school on the premise that South Carolina had no law school which admitted blacks, need not be admitted to the white school as long as the State, as it promised to do, would forthwith create a law school for black students at South Carolina State which would be substantially equal in all respects to the USC law school. Failing either case, then the State, according to the ruling, could no longer offer legal education to anyone. Eventually, the law school at South Carolina State was opened and Judge Waring found it sufficient. Judge Waring, consistent with the principles enunciated in Gaines a decade earlier, could have ordered the admission of Mr. Wrighten.
Perhaps, the piece by W. J. Cash in 1938 at the time Gaines was decided, wholly approving the decision but also finding it problematic in terms of practical implementation at that time on a broad basis, recommending tolerance and good will as the solution, expresses the dilemma which continued, into which Judge Waring found himself cast in 1947. When the debate reached this level, the question was not framed in terms of being in favor or not of integration but rather by a genuine concern regarding the proper pace at which to proceed with integration of society, in a manner which Southerners, highly educated and under-educated alike, who were inured to two centuries of white superiority and wedded to same, could accept, without some of the highly educated resorting to cheap artifice and some of the under-educated to violence to try to prevent the change and maintain more strictly than ever then the threatened walls of segregation.
Query, given the violence and bloodshed which inevitably followed Brown, as well as President Kennedy's sending to Congress in 1963 the Civil Rights bill, to prohibit discrimination in privately owned and operated facilities open to the public and operating in interstate commerce, and the Voting Rights bill, to prohibit further discrimination in voting, whether the approach of Chief Justice Vinson, a Southerner from Kentucky, was more sensitive to the need for dealing with the Southern recalcitrant—especially on such a sensitive issue as the constituency of schools to which he sent his children—, with some degree of psychology, than the approach of Chief Justice Warren, less schooled perhaps in the way of things in the South? Asking the historical question is not to suggest that the path of gradualism was the proper approach, as gradualism had been the order of the day since the Civil War, resulting only in more of the same with respect to discrimination and inequality, ultimately as much discriminatory to the poor white as to blacks generally. Yet, Brown was anything but immediate in its impact on schools, and, by its own infamous phrase in the 1955 implementing decision, that desegregation should be carried out "with all deliberate speed", left open the door to gradualism which nearly became its undermining thesis.
Thus, was expressly overruling Plessy at that time truly necessary to achieve the intended result of integration of public schools? The results of Brown are, of course, subject to debate. How, practically, to achieve integration was still being debated, even in the schools of Charlotte, as late as 1971 in the Swann case. Thus, nothing could have resulted in greatly more gradual integration, given the changing times, than Brown. Had Plessy remained in place for a time longer, symbolically, to give the segregationists their security blanket by which to cling to the past, out of fear of the future, while ordering integration based on a showing that Plessy's separate-but-equal status had not been achieved in fact, as in Sweatt, would the matter have been resolved any differently, yet perhaps without all of the bloodshed?
We ask the questions, not intending there to be an answer, as no one can provide such a definitive answer to things which did not occur. But it is worth consideration in debate at least, to understand thereby more closely the times then extant and the efforts of those who intended good things, such as Chief Justice Vinson, but who were misunderstood many times in the process because their rhetoric and approach seemed to kowtow to the old ways, did not match the speed with which the new, sleeker times were moving.
The concomitant question must also be asked with such an inquiry: whether, if Plessy had not been overruled expressly at that time, while not providing the segregationists with a quick and easy symbol in Brown over which to raise in reaction the Confederate flag again, the symbolic value of doing so would have been lost and the entire Civil Rights Movement of the 1950's and 1960's as we know it compromised, losing its vitality in the premises in 1954? For without Brown, Emmett Till might not have been lynched in Money, Mississippi, on August 28, 1955, for being playfully flirtatious with an older white woman. And without the gruesome death of fourteen-year old Emmett Till, Rosa Parks might not have been emboldened so to take her seat on the bus and refuse to surrender it to a white passenger in Montgomery that December 1. And without Rosa Parks, the Montgomery bus boycott and the Reverend Martin Luther King might not have entered American consciousness and conscience by means of extraordinary coverage by television news of those momentous events.
Was the bloodshed and sacrifice, including that of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and others, a necessary component effectively, finally, to end the Civil War in spirit as well as in fact? Would the changing times and changing awareness on the part of the American people, generationally, a conglomeration of greater exposure to visual and aural media, thus to information, to fast travel and experience with other people outside the bailiwick in which one came of age, have been enough on their own to do so? Or were the changes in the times and consciousness of the people inseparable from the Civil Rights quest and the bloodshed which followed it in a time of adjustment to the new age, with its inevitable chafing between the old ways and the new, the older generation and the new, the inevitable stepping back three paces, as in the 1970's and 1980's, in slothful consideration of the advance, after a giant leap forward during the celerious 1950's and 1960's, in turn developing, in natural movement, from the 1930's and 1940's, still moving, however, with "all deliberate speed", in some places, in some minds?
Perhaps, Judge Waring, in his eloquent dissent in Briggs v. Elliott in 1951, answered the questions posed when he said:
If a case of this magnitude can be turned aside and a court refused to hear these basic issues by the mere device of admission that some buildings, blackboards, lighting fixtures and toilet facilities are unequal but that they may be remedied by the spending of a few dollars, then, indeed people in the plight in which these plaintiffs are, have no adequate remedy or forum in which to air their wrongs. If this method of judicial evasion be adopted, these very infant plaintiffs now pupils in Clarendon County will probably be bringing suits for their children and grandchildren decades or rather generations hence in an effort to get for their descendants what are today denied to them. If they are entitled to any rights as American citizens, they are entitled to have these rights now and not in the future. And no excuse can be made to deny them these rights which are theirs under the Constitution and laws of America by the use of the false doctrine and patter called "separate but equal" and it is the duty of the Court to meet these issues simply and factually and without fear, sophistry and evasion. If this be the measure of justice to be meted out to them, then, indeed, hundreds, nay thousands, of cases will have to be brought and in each case thousands of dollars will have to be spent for the employment of legal talent and scientific testimony and then the cases will be turned aside, postponed or eliminated by devices such as this.
"Operation Naval Reserve" tells of Admiral William Halsey having issued commendation to the Naval Reserve for its role during the war in the Pacific. The men who had manned the guns and the long supply lines were reservists. When the chips were down they sailed and performed extraordinarily, winning the war.
Admiral Halsey did not believe that the United States again would have the margin of time to permit construction of such a civilian Navy. It had been a close call after Pearl Harbor, the first six months of the war having been controlled by the Japanese Fleet.
The Navy was thus calling on all former Navy men to be at the ready and appealed for their sign-up in the Reserve. Mecklenburg County's Reservists had set a goal of 3,000 registrants during the week.
It should be noted that General Manager and former Editor of The News J. E. Dowd had been a Naval Reservist before the war. An Annapolis graduate just after World War I, he volunteered at age 44 for service, departing The News in December, 1942 and not returning until August, 1944. Mr. Dowd remained stateside during his service.
Editor Harry Ashmore, who came aboard as Associate Editor in October, 1945, served in the Army, entering as an enlisted man and eventually promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, serving on the front lines in France in 1944 and 1945.
"Things Are Tough All Over" informs of Extension Apiarist Charles Reese of Ohio State University reporting of the communistic behavior of striking bees in his study, kicking out the bosses who instituted a rationing system of food. It was a typical play during a late spring when food was scarce.
Mr. Reese wondered whether the same
A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "'The Play's the Thing'", tells of Othello having been staged in Carshalton, Surrey, England, by a dramatic company sponsored by the British Committee for Poetry and Plays for Pubs, which included the Bishop of Gloucester, Poet Laureate John Masefield
The effort had revived the practice of Elizabethan times when plays were so performed in pubs by itinerant buskers. It suggests that the practice would be a proper anodyne to the harsh times in England.
It posits that the play's view of temperance might amuse the patrons of the pubs: "O, thou invisible spirit of wine! If thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!"
It wonders whether the advocates of British austerity had placed the play in such a performance setting as a Trojan horse "to smuggle WCTU sentiments into Festung Barleycorn."
In Scene 3 of Act II, from which both quotes of Cassio in the piece come, Iago eventually urges:
Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature,
if it be well used: exclaim no more against it.
And, good lieutenant, I think you think I love you.
To which Cassio responds:
I have well approved it, sir. I drunk!
So, whether the play is counseling temperance or merely using the device to suggest in Cassio an offer of rationalization for his nefarious deeds, which he had been motivated by Iago to practice, is quite debatable at the WCTU meeting.
Incidentally, wethinks it a familiar quotation, which for the fact you will then posit that, it having been referenced, somewhat out of context, in close juxtaposition to the very lines, less than a week ago, we must have read ahead. But, you would be wrong in that assumption.
And Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, though recurringly cast alive upon each recreation of the thing, are, without surcease, by the importunity of each redundant closure of the arras, again rendered quite uncostumed in corporeal garments, resigned to the ward's robe, insensate.
Drew Pearson tells of the State Department's art exhibit shipped abroad having been a hit in Czechoslovakia, where it was praised by Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk, in Haiti, and in Cuba. But members of Congress could not understand or appreciate the modern art selected and so protested its inclusion. Meanwhile, museums, artists, and laymen were charging that the discriminatory effort was tantamount to the totalitarian regimes which had banned modern art in Italy and Germany during the 1930's.
Mr. Pearson notes that President Truman had purchased two paintings for the White House Executive Office lobby, which some visitors referred to as "Harry's hideous delight", the paintings being pedestrian examples of the colonial period but thus unlikely to offend Congress, even though $10,000 of the taxpayers' money was spent.
The former Senate Secretary Leslie Biffle explained to the President at the latter's 63rd birthday party that Mr. Biffle's secretary shared the President's birthday and was proud to do so. He later phoned to wish her also a happy birthday.
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad appeared to be wasting money by hiring lawyers to represent it in the Senate probe into the railroad's receipt of loans from the RFC, as two Senators, the Wurlitzer King, Homer Capehart of Indiana, and Willis Robertson of Virginia, were adequately advocating their cause. The two Senators had their questions prepared by B & O representatives attending the hearing. The committee chairman, Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire, was not pleased when he discovered the practice but remained mum, however venting his rage on one of the suppliers of the questions when he testified and interrupted the chair several times.
Stewart Alsop discusses the plans being made for Senator Robert Taft's campaign for the presidency. His most logical choice for a campaign manager would be Representative Clarence Brown of Ohio. The passage by the Senate of his labor bill had offset prior setbacks in the new Congress and had also given him time to begin to organize support. A "stop Dewey" movement would be a central part of the Taft strategy. To that end, it was expected that he would soon provide a foreign policy statement radically departing from his isolationist past.
While the Republican organization disliked Governor Dewey, they believed he could win in 1948, and winning was the primary goal. Senator Taft was liked by organization leaders but they doubted his ability to win.
A series of favorite-son candidates in certain states would be key to the "stop Dewey" movement. Mr. Taft's chances depended on his performance in the Senate during the remainder of the 1947 session. He had to be successful in putting through the remainder of the Republican agenda, such as the tax bill, while also diluting the conservatism of the party by getting action on the long-term housing bill, of which he was co-sponsor, and the education bill.
The Democrats were seeking to delay the tax bill until a Congressional budget commission could render a report, and they appeared likely of success in this effort—as further elucidated by a story this date on the front page. Mr. Taft had to do battle with conservatives within his own party on the housing and education bills. The housing bill as written could not get through the House and so to get it through the Senate, running a narrow gauntlet between conservative and moderate-to-liberal Republicans such that it would emerge in a form suitable to the House, would be a difficult task to accomplish.
Samuel Grafton finds it distressing to hear three former OPA administrators, Leon Henderson, Chester Bowles, and Paul Porter, warn that unless prices were rolled back to half their current levels of increase and wages also raised somewhat, there would be economic bust ahead. They had been proved right thus far in their predictions of what would happen if price controls were removed too quickly. Mr. Bowles had predicted the previous June that removing controls would lead by March to a 20 to 25 percent rise in the cost of living, and he had been quite correct.
But now they were out of the Government and policy was being formed by members of Congress who had said erroneously that removing controls and allowing production thereby to increase would keep inflation down through volume and competition.
The President, held prisoner by the rightward drift in the country, found himself now having to disagree with the three men, stating that he was sure the economy would be healthy. Yet, the previous month, on April 21, he had warned of a recession unless prices were reduced. But he did not want to be in the company of former New Dealers in a period of rightward drift.
The men who were right were outside looking in while the men who had been wrong were still running the Congress, and the President was following in tow.
A letter opposes the cross-town boulevard, to become Independence Boulevard, and says it would take $20 out of the pocket of each taxpayer in the county, causing streets in Charlotte to go without repair until more bonds were voted for the purpose.
A letter praises the letter from A. W. Black finding entirely excessive the praise provided Grady Cole of WBT radio, thinks his four-hour morning show to be "corn and torture". It was no answer that he did not have to listen to it, as the radio had a public duty to inform and entertain. Mr. Cole's program, he thinks, was 70 percent advertising, 20 percent personal opinion, and 10 percent so-called entertainment, consisting principally of "hillbilly music".
A letter from the secretary of the Unitarian Society of Charlotte educates as to the principles of the Unitarian Church, founded on peace, love, and universal brotherhood.
That the Herblock of the date has a caricature of an actor bearing a striking resemblance to Robert Taylor
The latter is one of the inexplicable junctures which ought to the thinking give pause on the wisdom of the machine age. Perhaps, too, the coincidence of Mr. Taylor's image, though perhaps not so mysterious, ought at least give some thought anent the wisdom of an age governed too much by television and movie imagery, not enough by rational thinking not constrained to the box or determined immutably by the scene of the play.
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