The Charlotte News

Friday, March 25, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in New York, an estimated 800 protesters picketed the National Council of the Arts, Sciences & Professions Conference meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Some 8,000 persons looked on and encouraged the protesters. The Conference was believed to be a sounding board for Communist propaganda. After singing "The Star Bangled Banner", at 12:25 p.m., the protesters knelt to say the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary.

Representative John Rankin of Mississippi introduced a new veterans pension bill limited only to World War I veterans, and said that he hoped to bring it back to the House floor soon. The previous bill he had sponsored, applicable to veterans of both world wars, had been returned the previous day to the Veterans Committee, which Mr. Rankin chaired.

In New York, a Government witness in the trial of the eleven top American Communists for violation of the Smith Act, Louis Budenz, who had testified before HUAC both the previous August 24 and on November 22, 1946, testified that the representative of the Communist Internationale in the country, Gerhardt Eisler, had helped to switch the party policy to violent class warfare. He said that defendant Eugene Dennis told him that Mr. Eisler, under the name "Hans Burger" or "Berger", was the principal representative, and that defendant Jacob Stachel said that Mr. Burger had provided permission to change the postwar role of the party to militancy from that championed by Earl Browder, former head of the American Communist Party, who favored cooperation with other American groups after the war.

In Washington, Mildred Gillars, convicted of treason for her propaganda broadcasts from Berlin for the Nazis during the war as "Axis Sally", was sentenced to ten to thirty years in prison and fined $10,000. She would also automatically lose her citizenship. She would be eligible for parole in ten years and could serve 30 days in lieu of paying the fine, provided she declared financial inability to do so.

The President accepted the resignation of Walter Bedell Smith as Ambassador to Russia. Lieutenant General Smith had long sought return to Army duty. The President had asked him to remain in the post but reluctantly gave in to the request. A successor had not been determined.

In Washington, a member of the UNC Board of Trustees, Congressman Richard Chatham, said that Assistant Secretary of the Army Gordon Gray of Winston-Salem was being actively considered by the Board as the replacement president of UNC, following the appointment of Frank Porter Graham as Senator, replacing deceased Senator J. Melville Broughton. Governor Kerr Scott stated that Dr. Graham would be sworn in as Senator the following Tuesday. Ultimately, Mr. Gray would be so named, but would not assume the duties until 1950, as he was about to be appointed the following month to be Secretary of the Army.

In Chicago, two surgeons announced that a 16-year old boy had been revived 40 minutes after his heart had stopped, believed to be the longest cessation of a heartbeat with recovery on record. His heart had failed during lung surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York on January 16, 1948.

The North Carolina Senate passed, on second reading, the bill to authorize a 200-million dollar bond election for the Governor's rural roads program, making the one-cent rise in gasoline tax going with it contingent on passage of the bond issue. The matter would come up for a third reading the following Monday.

In Raleigh, six children, ages 2 to 18, were orphaned when their father was executed in the gas chamber at Central Prison this date for the murder of his wife. The sharecropper was calm and went to his death with a smile, after a breakfast consisting of a whole fried chicken.

In the opinion affirming the conviction, the State Supreme Court related testimony from the trial that his wife had admitted infidelity with their landlord and that he then took her to a hayfield to confess in front of the landlord. He had claimed that he shot her accidentally, after the landlord's son threatened him with a pitchfork and he fired in self-defense.

Ralph Gibson of The News tells of a law which had passed the General Assembly two weeks earlier having saved the life of Sweetpea, who was found guilty of first-degree murder as charged in the shooting death of his paramour on February 22. But under the new law, the death penalty was no longer automatically imposed and the jury had within its discretion, as exercised in the case of Sweetpea, the ability to recommend life imprisonment. The Superior Court Judge then imposed the life sentence on Sweetpea. The prosecutor had recommended the death penalty and invoked Biblical Scripture often in his final summation, urging that the "wages of his sin is death".

Not mentioned on the front page, the previous night, the 21st annual Academy Awards ceremony took place in Hollywood, with Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet" winning Best Picture, the only time a film adaptation of a Shakespeare play has ever won the award. Mr. Olivier, who directed the film and was nominated for Best Director, won the award for Best Actor. The film was nominated for Best Picture with "The Treasure of Sierra Madre", "The Snake Pit", "Johnny Belinda", and "The Red Shoes". John Huston won the Best Director award as well as the Best Screenplay award for "The Treasure of Sierra Madre". Jane Wyman won the Best Actress award for "Johnny Belinda". Walter Huston, father of John, won the Best Supporting Actor award for "The Treasure of Sierra Madre". Claire Trevor won the Best Supporting Actress award for "Key Largo". The Best Story award went to "The Search", story by Richard Schweizer and David Wechsler. Best Musical Score went to "The Easter Parade", score by Johnny Green and Roger Edens. Best Dramatic or Comedy Score went to "The Red Shoes", score by Brian Easdale. Best Original Song was "Buttons and Bows" from "The Paleface", music and lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. "Monsieur Vincent" of France won the Best Foreign Language Film award. "Hamlet" received the most awards with four, including Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction in a Black and White Film. "Johnny Belinda" had garnered the most nominations, with twelve, winning only the one. Actor Robert Montgomery hosted the event.

And Indiana did not win tonight, as they did in 1987 during the Awards ceremony. The Spartans won tonight. But the Orange are still hanging in there, out in the peach orchard.

Anyway, you better get some beans.

Up there. That's where we have to go. To be or not.

On the editorial page, "Consumers Get a Break" tells of the effort by the Governor to reorganize and strengthen the State Utilities Commission, having been sidetracked by the stress during the session on roads and schools, now getting its share of attention.

The only logical basis for determining utility rates, it posits, was a fair and reasonable return on the private investment in them.

The Governor's proposal to increase the Commission from three to five members was sound, had been passed by the State House and was now going before the Senate. Favorable action would mean better service for North Carolina consumers and better protection against unjustified rate increases.

"The Right to Know" tells of the decision of the General Assembly's Appropriations Committee to hold executive session having been met by protest by newsmen believing they should be able to report on the proceedings. Two newsmen refused to leave the chamber. One State Representative said that the presence of the press might influence the vote, all the more reason, opines the piece, that the press should have been present.

"The Congressional Privilege" tells of the rent control bill for the District of Columbia having passed the House after only thirty minutes of debate, with all the Administration's desired provisions intact, whereas the national rent control extension bill had been significantly watered down and stretched over two days of debate before passage. The New York Times found that the difference was that the District bill continued rent control on the hotels where many members of Congress were living.

"A Million Years to Go...." quotes Yale anthropologist Dr. Ralph C. Linton that man had been around long enough on earth that he would survive an atomic bomb, even if he had two heads afterward, would be around at least another million years.

Man had, after all, descended from the trees to use fire and fashion for himself clothing, but then began developing weapons against each other as protection against encroachment on territory and as defense of the weaker members of the tribe against the brawnier, for the sake of continued systematic procreation without undue interference. The rocks became clubs and the clubs became bows and arrows, until gunpowder came along, leading finally to the atom bomb.

The piece suggests that the tragedy was that man had not yet learned to resolve his extreme differences without warfare and posits that after the next war, he might use his two heads and put them together to find a solution, as four heads were better than two.

A piece from the Greenville (S.C.) News, titled "Drinking Less Liquor", tells of consumption of liquor having dropped to 50 million gallons annually, ten percent below that of a year earlier, while 1948 sales had been six percent below those of 1947, and 1947, 22 percent below 1946.

The fights against the immoderate consumption of liquor in recent years and against drunk driving, it finds, were more constructive than the earlier prohibition drives.

Drew Pearson tells of new Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson preparing to eliminate the traditional rivalry between the Army and the Navy, starting with the possibility of eliminating the military academies at West Point and Annapolis, the source of much of the rivalry at the top among the older officers. The plan was to have the military training done at both academies for all three branches and then, after two to three years, determining to which branch the officer candidates would be assigned. The theory was that joint training would eliminate branch competition.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas would soon press for a vote on both the anti-lynching and anti-poll tax measures, as well the enabling legislation for the Fair Employment Practices Commission, the latter being the chief target of the Southern filibusterers. The other major bills would first be cleared in preparation for the delay of the filibuster. Senator Lucas said that it was the way things should have been handled in the first instance, but the White House had insisted on going forward with the rule change on cloture. The Senator said that the Republicans who had joined the Southern Democrats on the cloture compromise were already feeling the political backlash from their constituents.

Mr. Pearson apologizes and corrects his column regarding a claim that North Carolina Senator Clyde Hoey had attended a social gathering with the wife of the RFC official who was under investigation by a committee of which the Senator was a member, for showing favoritism to his brother-in-law in receiving an RFC loan. It turned out that the Senator had been seen with another woman of the same name.

Governor Fuller Warren of Florida had once joined the Klan briefly, but had been big enough recently to admit the mistake.

Future Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, CIO counsel, said that Senator Taft had agreed to more than twenty changes to Taft-Hartley, worked out privately with GOP members of the Senate Labor Committee.

If the U.S. could obtain from the Dutch rubber cartel the extortionate price charged on rubber prior to Pearl Harbor, it would finance Marshall Plan aid to Holland ten times over.

Marquis Childs discusses the President's proposed national health insurance program and the attempt to demonize it with the label "socialism". Mr. Childs instead sees the problem being practical in nature, that the bureaucracy for administering the program would be too costly, that medical standards could suffer, and that the shortage of doctors and medical facilities in the country might be exacerbated.

But the attack on it as "socialized" medicine was a weak argument and offered nothing concrete to remedy the obvious problem in accessibility and affordability to most Americans of health care.

Two constructive proposals had been put forward, one by Dr. Paul Magnuson, head of medical care in the Veterans Administration. He believed that the primary difficulty was lack of diagnostic facilities and that thus the Government, Federal, state and local, could subsidize such facilities which, along with private funding, could remedy the exiguity.

Senator Robert Taft put forth the other proposal, to subsidize medical students or medical schools to alleviate the shortage of doctors, and to subsidize the states so as to underwrite medical care in the poorer areas.

He finds both proposals constructive and the politics of demonization of the plan only producing a stalemate which would block any social change with propaganda, a dangerous strategy, he concludes, in a democracy.

Gill Robb Wilson, in a piece from the New York Herald Tribune, writes from Pinehurst, N.C., anent Resort Airlines, founded mostly by veterans who had flown supplies during the war to the Chinese over "The Hump" in the Himalayas when the Burma Road was inaccessible. The staff was entirely made up of veterans. The airline catered to vacationers looking for a travel package, replete with hotel accommodations in addition to travel. It sought no government subsidy.

The Civil Aeronautics Board had declined approval for Resort to operate and its fate now lay with the President. The airline had been operating under a temporary permit since August, 1947, continued in May, 1948, and thus far had flown 25 million miles without mishap. The reason for the decline by CAB was the complaint of the major air carriers that Resort would create undue competition for routes.

The President might reverse the course. But for the present, he concludes, the airport at Pinehurst was "a disillusioned spot in the heart of this land of limitless opportunity and free enterprise."

A letter writer from Scarsdale, N.Y., responds to a letter which he had read while visiting Charlotte, which had advocated return to prohibition in the county. He agrees that abuse of liquor was wrong but that a return to prohibition and its attendant crime and bootlegging would not be salutary.

He says that in 20,000 local option elections across the nation, prohibition had won in 12,000, rendering a third of the nation dry. Even in Chicago, 128 districts were dry. Kentucky, home of bourbon whiskey, was 82 percent dry.

A letter writer from Spartanburg, S.C., applauds a candidate for the City Council who had written on March 22 that it was a disgrace that many black families in the community lived in abject poverty. He says that the slums of Spartanburg, however, were in worse condition. He commends The News for its stories and pictures during the fall on this sensitive subject.

A letter from a boy and girl from Lagos, Nigeria, says that they had seen the "famous" Charlotte News in a magazine and were seeking front page space in the "famous journal". They wished to have correspondence with pen pals who would write through the "famous paper". They sign, "Lucky. (For all)."

The return address, beginning "Master T. S. Lucky-Baby", is provided, should you wish to reach them.

Someone in Charlotte or thereabouts must have been writing to Lagos, as its residents regularly wrote the newspaper seeking pen pals.

Let's shoot this mother, again.

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