The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 10, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that initial hearings began before the House Labor subcommittee, chaired by Congressman Adam Clayton Powell of New York, regarding nine different bills to establish a Fair Employment Practices Commission. Representative Laurie Battle of Alabama said that the South would resist all anti-discrimination measures on principle. Representative Clare Hoffman of Michigan said that he opposed having "agitators or any self-appointed apostles of righteousness taking over". Mr. Hoffman claimed that President Roosevelt's wartime FEPC, established by executive order pursuant to the War Powers Act, had not halted discrimination but rather discriminated in favor of blacks. Representative Isidore Dollinger of New York testified that racial and religious discrimination in employment had "brought shame on the nation". Representative Charles Howell of New Jersey also spoke in favor of the bill. Several other Congressmen testified for and against the bill. Hearings were scheduled to run for the ensuing three weeks.

James Warburg, former New York banker and writer on international affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the NATO treaty that the real threat from Russia was political and not military. He said that if the U.S. was going to commit to defense of Western Europe's frontiers in the event of war, he would oppose the pact. He would support it if the intention was only to avenge and liberate.

The British Foreign Office reported that the British airlift into Berlin during the previous ten months had cost 23.4 million dollars. The American estimate was 173 million for its part.

There was bipartisan support on the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee for a recommendation by the President's Council of Economic Advisers to cut spending rather than raise taxes to avoid a deficit.

The wife of the late star New York Yankees baseball player Lou Gehrig, who had died from ALS eight years earlier, made a plea to the Senate Labor and Public Health subcommittee to recommend passage of a bill to establish a foundation to perform research on multiple sclerosis, kindred to the crippling and ultimately fatal ALS. Doctors estimated that 250,000 people suffered from multiple sclerosis.

In Pinehurst, N.C., the North Carolina Medical Society approved a voluntary medical and hospital insurance plan proposed by a Charlotte doctor.

In Rockford, Ill., a man told police that he had stabbed twice with a fishing knife his estranged wife of nine months while kissing her, after she spurned his plea for reconciliation. She was in critical condition.

In Washington, a socialite naval officer claimed in response to his wife's suit for divorce that his wife feigned kinship with a Los Angeles doctor to cover up the fact that they were living together. She had claimed in her petition filed the previous March that her husband was having a close and intimate association with Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers, for whom he had been an employed assistant on various occasions. Ms. Rogers had described the charge as absurd.

In Greenwood, S.C., eighteen persons were indicted in Federal District Court on conspiracy to violate Federal narcotics laws and four others for "co-conspiracy", in connection with the theft of a million dollars worth of morphine tablets from a company in Philadelphia.

In Charlotte, a retired Methodist minister, 65, despondent over his health and position, fell to his death from the eighth floor window of the Hotel Charlotte during the morning. The coroner ruled the death suicide. He left a Bible on the dresser open to the Book of Ezra. The minister's son was pastor of a local church.

Also in Charlotte, an 18-year old boy was killed and his girlfriend critically injured in an automobile accident during the early morning hours when the car driven by the boy hit a telephone pole sideways on Monroe Road.

Also in Charlotte, two men robbed a service station of about $60 during the afternoon, fleeing in a black 1937 Chevrolet. One was red-headed, wearing a cap. The other man was tall with black hair. They fled on Highway 29. If you happen to see them, alert the Highway Patrol immediately. They are probably looking pretty grizzled and haggard by now. In fact, they probably will beg you to turn them in just to get some relief from the road.

In New York, Emily Post provided advice in a pamphlet titled "Motor Manners" regarding acceptable etiquette on the roads of the country. She advised that men should no more cheat a red light than they would at cards, and women should no more use their horns to scold motorists or pedestrians than to act as a "fishwife" at a party. The pamphlet was to be distributed free of charge—apparently commensurate with its likely impact and worth.

Besides, Ms. Post, it is less than good manners impliedly to berate all the fishwives of the world as being less than ladies.

On the editorial page, "Piedmont Powerhouse" begins by saying, "When raucous, lusty Winston was wedded to quiet, Moravian Salem, Forsyth County got, in poker parlance, a pair of aces back to back."

You may not have lived there.

The County was celebrating its centennial the following Thursday, having been carved out of Stokes County in 1848. The city was home to R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, several textile mills, including, most prominently, Hanes Hosiery, and the lumber industry supplied its product to the furniture manufacturers of the area. Many other industries also thrived, including the doughnut industry.

Income per family had gone to $4,361 in 1945.

With Wake Forest College relocating to the city in the next few years, it would also become an educational center, in addition to Salem College and Academy, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, and Winston-Salem State Teachers College, already present.

The county had five newspapers, including the Journal and Sentinel, its prime organs of record.

It wishes residents of Forsyth happy birthday and best wishes on behalf of Mecklenburgers.

You might want also to pass across a pair of deuces.

"Novel Economic Theory" finds unfounded Senator Joseph O'Mahoney's fear that the new economy drive in the Congress might precipitate a depression. He was upset about the Veterans Administration decision to lay off 8,000 employees and Senator Harry F. Byrd's suggestion that the President's budget should be pared by four billion dollars to avoid a deficit rather than passing the President's four billion dollar tax hike primarily on corporations.

The piece finds the argument "rubbish" and aimed at preserving Government jobs rather than following the Hoover Commission recommendations.

"Fagin and Shylock Under Attack" agrees with a New York Board of Education reading committee that, despite the presence of antisemitism in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and Dickens's Oliver Twist, neither should be banned from the New York City public schools. A former City magistrate was seeking to have the two pieces of literature banned from the public schools of Brooklyn by petition to the highest court in Kings County. The reading committee had determined to maintain at least Oliver Twist on its reading list.

Fagin in Oliver Twist and Shylock in Merchant of Venice were both Jews who were drawn unfavorably. But if that were the test for literature's acceptability in the schools, it ventures, then surely Othello would need to be banned in the South for its challenge to white supremacy; the works of Thomas Wolfe from the schools of the North, for his occasional disparagement of blacks and Jews; the earlier works of John Dos Passos, Theodore Dreiser, Frank Norris, and Upton Sinclair, for their unfavorable casting of the businessman; Henry James from the British schools for his painting Americans as honest if crude, while the British were deemed sleek and deceitful.

Portia in The Merchant of Venice showed qualities of fairness and justice; Oliver Twist, himself, possessed admirable qualities. Neither, it concludes, should be taken from the shelves simply because they were cast alongside unfavorable representations of characters identified as Jews. And that was so, even if it meant that some students would form negative stereotypes from these characters.

Incidentally, while the piece is not specific as to passages from the authors listed as among those who would need be banned if the criterion was some temptation to the censorious by way of identity of the unsympathetic character as belonging to a group, rather than presentation of the characters as null ciphers but for their actions and morals, the following passage from Chapter 9 of Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel generally fits that which the piece doubtless had in mind:

Or, crouched in the concealing shrubbery of Gant's yard, they waited for romantic negro couples climbing homewards, jerking by a cord, as their victims came upon the spot, a stuffed black snake-appearing stocking. And the dark was shrill with laughter as the loud rich comic voices stammered, stopped, and screamed.

Or they stoned the cycling black boy of the markets, as he swerved down gracefully into an alley. Nor did they hate them: clowns are black. They had learned, as well, that it was proper to cuff these people kindly, curse them cheerfully, feed them magnanimously. Men are kind to a faithful wagging dog, but he must not walk habitually upon two legs. They knew that they must "take nothin' off a nigger," and that the beginnings of argument could best be scotched with a club and a broken head. Only, you couldn't break a nigger's head.

They spat joyously upon the Jews. Drown a Jew and hit a nigger.

The boys would wait on the Jews, follow them home shouting "Goose Grease! Goose Grease!" which, they were convinced, was the chief staple of Semitic diet; or with the blind acceptance of little boys of some traditional, or mangled, or imaginary catchword of abuse, they would yell after their muttering and tormented victim: "Veeshamadye Veeshamadye!" confident that they had pronounced the most unspeakable, to Jewish ears, of affronts.

Eugene had no interest in pogroms, but it was a fetich with Max. The chief object of their torture was a little furtive-faced boy, whose name was Isaac Lipinski. They pounced cattishly at him when he appeared, harried him down alleys, over fences, across yards, into barns, stables, and his own house; he moved with amazing speed and stealth, escaping fantastically, teasing them to the pursuit, thumbing his fingers at them, and grinning with wide Kike constant derision.

Or, steeped catlike in the wickedness of darkness, adrift in the brooding promise of the neighborhood, they would cluster silently under a Jew's home, grouped in a sniggering huddle as they listened to the rich excited voices, the throaty accentuation of the women; or convulsed at the hysterical quarrels which shook the Jew-walls almost nightly.

Once, shrieking with laughter, they followed a running fight through the streets between a young Jew and his father-in-law, in which each was pursued and pummelled, or pursuing and pummelling; and on the day when Louis Greenberg, a pale Jew returned from college, had killed himself by drinking carbolic acid, they stood curiously outside the dingy wailing house, shaken by sudden glee as they saw his father, a bearded orthodox old Jew, clothed in rusty, greasy black, and wearing a scarred derby, approach running up the hill to his home, shaking his hands in the air, and wailing rhythmically:

"Oi, yoi yoi yoi yoi,
  Oi yoi yoi yoi yoi,
  Oi yoi yoi yoi yoi."

But such a passage, if it was one of those held in mind by the editorial, would not constitute, in itself, derision or disparagement, but rather stand as an authentic chronicle, as any good reporter might relate, of the state of things as Mr. Wolfe remembered it from the Asheville of his childhood, turned by the novelist's craft into the towns of millions in Altamont, perhaps, aided in amalgam measurably by the latter Twenties conversations picked up in the streets of New York City where he indited the novel, intending it as a reflection for universal consumption of how ugly such childish behavior is, whether in children or adults.

Such, we posit, is far more powerful than merely self-righteously branding something racist, anti-Semitic, anti-business, what have you, betraying more about the person seeking the ban than the honest chronicler seeking, in literary manner, a reflection in the golden eye of the reader. To ban it for such contents only highlights those passages and characters for all the wrong reasons, creating a boxed, rather than expansive, view of the world, inclusive of all persons within it, not just one group or another, recognizing the while that everyone is an individual and no one should, because of behavior deemed unsuitable to the accepted social conventions of the particular surrounding milieu, be cast as part of a subset of humanity, replete with all preconceived attendant characteristics, merely by dint of readily observable traits, whether it be blue eyes, curly hair, different pigment of the skin or any other difference from thou, including associated closely held opinions, beliefs, and perspectives.

And was not that really the point of Shakespeare's presentation of Shylock, not solely as the Jewish money-lender ready to exact his bond of a pound of flesh but also as the person who, himself, bled, laughed, was subject to the laws of mortality, felt shame when spat upon in public, and would be avenged when wronged?

The point ought be to teach students how to read and understand literature with objectivity, not to ban it for erroneous perceptions held by those who, for deficiencies in their own education or simply wont of proper attention, never learned the art.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "A Word to the Unwise", states that there was wisdom in the old story in which the mother advised her children to be good and not to put peas in the baby's ears. There was, to the contrary, danger in the misguided attempt to keep subversive doctrines off college campuses.

Dogmatic restrictions tended to nourish youthful rebellion. A college had a duty to provide students with free access to all sides of a question.

In Texas, a bill was pending before the Legislature to require all students to sign a loyalty oath. The loyalty of students generally had been proven overwhelmingly during the war. The legislator who sponsored the bill demonstrated little understanding of American youth, especially when he said that the opponents of the bill "ought be locked up in an insane asylum".

The piece recommends in conclusion that the legislator consider what caused adventurous children to put peas in the baby's ears.

Drew Pearson, in Montgomery, Ala., tells of white and black teachers being paid the same now in Alabama schools, and that black schools were becoming equally modern to white schools. Two new black high schools had been built in Montgomery and Mr. Pearson had visited them, found that they were more modern than the older white schools. Montgomery also had a State Teachers College for Negroes which was modern and well-equipped. St. Jude's School for black students, built by contributions accumulated by a Catholic priest, Father Purcell, was the plum, more modern than any of the public schools. Black citizens now could also serve on petit juries.

The Blue & Gray Association had built part of the football stadium for the annual athletic contests between North and South all-star teams and was trying to raise the remainder. The games encouraged goodwill and brotherhood between the two regions.

The Young Republicans of New York held a nonpartisan essay contest on whether the Senate rules should be changed. A young man from Williams College was adjudged the winner. Upon being announced as the winner, the student had said that the contest was indeed nonpartisan as he had campaigned in 1948 for Henry Wallace, causing some of the judges and young Republicans to become pale. They sat in silence as he proceeded to explain the attributes of Mr. Wallace.

Afterward, Senator Wayne Morse said that he could have predicted that the Wallaceites did not favor change of Senate rules, in accord with the essay, as they believed the status quo would spread more confusion.

Journalists were shooed from the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings in which General Claire Chennault was testifying anent China, to determine whether he had anything confidential to relate. He did not. He said that it would cost a million dollars per day to support the nine Chinese provinces still holding out against the Communists. He suggested that corruption in China was no more prevalent than in France or the U.S. He urged that U.S. volunteers be allowed to train the Nationalist soldiers and plan their battle strategy, and warned that the Chinese Communists, having a genius for organization, would be able to hold the mainland once conquered.

The President had told friends that he would utilize the Hoover Commission report as a blueprint for reorganization of the Government. Federal works, procurement, surplus property, contract settlements and the archives would be the first agencies to be pared down, to be placed under General Services.

Marquis Childs writes an open letter to Representative Clarence Cannon of Missouri, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, urging against his recommendation that the White House be razed and rebuilt from the ground up, rather than restored from within, as the cost of restoration had been estimated at 5.4 million dollars, more than that of reconstruction.

Mr. Childs tells of wandering through the Executive Mansion recently, with its walls stripped for preparation of removal of the interior, marking of each timber and replacement with proper reinforcement. He tells of seeing the charred timbers exposed from when the White House was burned in 1814 by the British during the War of 1812. After the war, the mansion was restored from the scant walls which remained intact.

It had seen, in the Lincoln Bedroom, previously President Lincoln's office, the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, freeing the slaves of the states still in rebellion as of the beginning of 1863.

The Oval Study had been where President Roosevelt had presided over World War II and met with Winston Churchill, General Marshall, Admirals King and Leahy to plan strategy.

Woodrow Wilson had spent the last months of his second term as an invalid in the house. The young son of President Coolidge had died there, ending the President's emotional affinity to the office.

There were fine views from the Truman Balcony, built to great controversy during the President's first term. It afforded a view all the way to the Jefferson Memorial.

So, he concludes, the American people had too much invested sentimentally and historically in the residence of its Presidents to tear it down, preferred to spend the extra money to preserve the outer walls of the house for posterity and continue with the restoration of the interior, faithful to the original.

DeWitt MacKenzie discusses the new West German constitution, yet to be approved by the Big Three and the eleven West German states. It provided for a greater degree of democracy than Germany had ever enjoyed. The Weimar Republic, lasting from 1919 until 1933, did not last long enough to fulfill its promise.

The constitution outlawed war and provided for transfer of the country's sovereignty to the United States of Europe, should it be created. It also provided a bill of rights, proclaiming "the dignity of man" as inviolable.

Many in Germany still remembered well Kaiser Wilhelm II, responsible for World War I, an autocrat who believed in rule by the divine right of kings. His period of rule saw the great expansion of Krupp munitions works in the Ruhr. After the war, the Kaiser was forced to abdicate into exile, replaced by the Weimar, which was overtaken by Hitler and his Nazi minions in 1933.

Now, there was a complete repudiation of the dictatorial past and the time under the Third Reich, replacing it with a constitution which German leaders proclaimed as the most progressive in existence.

The preamble called for working for the unity and freedom of Germany, which included the Eastern zone. But the document would only apply to the three Western zones as long as the cold war persisted.

The document also prescribed the penalties for dictators who would overthrow the head of state but, strangely, only provided for a maximum of life imprisonment, as the constitution also abolished capital punishment.

The "Better English" answers might was: "shot" should be "banged"; e-lias; bicycloride; when an idiot tries to place statistical data in graphic form; esophageal.

A letter from a local attorney comments adversely on the editorial of May 5, "Berlin: Past and Future", as demoralizing of the public confidence in the U.S. Government and displaying ignorance of the facts. Rather than it having been the failure of the Government to have gained a means of ingress and egress to and from Berlin in relation to the Western sectors, it was, he says, according to Secretary of State James Byrnes, the failure of the Russians to live up to the agreements made. The agreement for allied land, air, and rail routes to Berlin had been very specific at the end of the war.

The editors respond that retention of a land corridor by the Western allies would have made the blockade impossible of implementation without the Russians being willing to start a shooting war. The agreements made meant no more to Russia than they did presently and could be violated at the Politburo's whimsy.

The editors take considerable umbrage at the author's description of the prior editorial as degenerating to the level of "government controlled Pravda". They represent it as honest criticism of Government policy, appropriate in a free society.

The original piece and the editors' response seem to misunderstand that the land arteries from the Western zones into Berlin were limited and susceptible to being blocked. It appears that there was little practical way around the dilemma from the outset. It is unclear exactly what the editors mean by preserving a "land corridor" leading into the city, how that would have altered the ability to block the limited number of roads and railroads.

A letter writer finds that the electoral college was a remnant of the early notion of states' rights and should be abolished by amendment to the Constitution, is in favor of popular voting for the President and Vice-President, such that every person would have his or her vote count and so that there would be two strong parties throughout the nation, including in the South.

We reiterate that an amendment is not necessary to change the way electors for each state are elected, as that is up to the individual State legislatures. Some states already have proportional electoral college representation, based on the popular vote. An amendment would be necessary, of course, either to abolish the electoral college or to mandate proportional representation based on the popular vote, as did the proposed amendment to provide for proportionality introduced by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., in 1949.

The electoral college owes its existence not so much to the concept of states' rights as to Eighteenth Century notions of practicality, that because of limited transportation and lack of communication other than by horsed messenger and town criers, it took too long to find out, through complete state-by-state counting of ballots, the winner of the national race from Georgia to Maine, with an eye toward territorial expansion. Thus, the electoral college was established to provide reasonably quick certainty of results. The other primary reason for it was to provide a check on the power of the predominantly uneducated populace of the time, to avoid election of a despot, allowing state legislatures to make the rules for the electors from their states, to be bound or not by the popular vote. There is a tertiary reason of questionable validity, that the electoral college provides the winner a mandate in close popular elections, but, while arguably applicable, for instance, in the close popular elections of 1960 and 1968, the merit of that rationale begs question as to how a mandate was achieved by the electoral college majority in the years 1876 and 2000.

All of that being quite antiquated since at least the early Twentieth Century, it is long past the time to be rid of the electoral college, as we found out as a country in 2000. But, because of purported concern regarding such a change causing less populated states then to be forgotten in the campaign process—notwithstanding that such a result is counter-balanced by the caucus and primary system—, nothing has happened. The truth is that both parties like the electoral college because it simplifies campaigning in the general election, enabling the targeting of certain large states deemed undecided.

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