The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 21, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin, 12,000 striking railway workers, protesting being paid in East marks instead of the four times more valuable West marks, fought young Communists who were trying to break the strike at nearly a dozen railway stations in the Western sectors of the city. West Berlin police fought on the side of the strikers against the Communists. Hundreds were injured in the melee. The railroads of the city were controlled by Soviet-appointed management.

Associated Press correspondent Fred Hampson reports from Shanghai that the city was cut off by air and its sea lanes menaced, as Communist besiegers were fighting close to the city, across the Whangpoo at Pootung, the industrial center, and on Gough Island eight miles north where Communist troops were reported to be present. At the latter location, the Standard Vacuum oil depot, largest in East China, was ablaze and there was fear that the fire would spread to nearby Texaco facilities. Lunghwa Airport had to be closed for awhile because of nearby fighting.

In Paris, the three Western foreign ministers, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin and Foreign Minster Robert Schuman, met in preparation for the Monday meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers to discuss Germany, the incipient meeting having been arranged as a condition for the Soviet lifting of the ten-month blockade of Berlin. The discussions of the three were secret. Well-informed French sources said that the report of the three included a provisional semi-unified German regime to maintain some limited liaison with the newly created West German state and the regime in process of formation in the Eastern zone. The plan was said to contain provisions for exchange of West marks and East marks and arrangements to stimulate trade between the Eastern and Western zones of Germany.

The White House announced that the President had agreed with President Eurico Dutra of Brazil to a five-point program to draw the two countries closer together in terms of economic and technical aid to Brazil, joint efforts to eliminate double taxation, and Brazilian measures to stimulate American private investment in Brazil. There was also agreement to negotiate a treaty for cultural exchange. President Dutra was returning a visit by President Truman to Brazil two years earlier at the conclusion of the conference forming the Rio Pact.

Senators Styles Bridges of New Hampshire and Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska, members of the Appropriations subcommittee investigating the Atomic Energy Commission fellowship program, spoke out against slipshod leadership by chairman David Lilienthal for lapses in security, stressing the giving of AEC scholarships to students who were known to be Communists or had loyalty issues.

The Senate meanwhile confirmed two new members to the AEC, Dr. Henry Smyth, author of the controversial 1945 Smyth Report on the atomic bomb, and Gordon Dean.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas said that there would have to be either substantial tax cuts or cutting of the budget, preferably the latter. He opposed, however, the Republican campaign to cut every appropriations bill by five percent. The Senate voted against a five percent cut sponsored by Senator Wherry for flood control and river and harbor projects.

In Indianapolis, an underground explosion blew off two manhole covers injuring three people by singing their faces, including that of a city patrolman.

Federal mediators prevented negotiations between Ford and the UAW from breaking down in an effort to break the 17-day old strike regarding an assembly line speedup at the River Rouge plant in Dearborn.

Tornadoes hit hard in Oklahoma and to a lesser extent in Colorado, Kansas, and parts of Tennessee. It was the fourth night in a row that Oklahoma had suffered twisters. In all, four people were killed and about twenty injured.

In Pen Argyl, Pa., a rock slide buried a man at a slate quarry and injured four others working in the pit. Six managed to escape. There was no indication whether the buried man was still alive.

The wife of FDR, Jr., the son of the late President having just won a seat in Congress from New York, obtained a Nevada divorce in a town 50 miles from Reno to avoid publicity.

In Macon, Ga., one of six heavily armed convicts who had escaped prison was recaptured without a fight. He had been serving a life sentence for murder. The search for the remaining five escapees focused on a swamp 15 miles from Macon. If you see them, alert authorities. It's for their own good, before these boys get eaten by gators.

Three Army officers en route from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Fort Bragg, N.C., were killed when the car in which they were riding hit a tree. A recruit riding with them was seriously injured.

In Greensboro, N.C., a man who had killed his father with a stove lid and knifed three others who sought to come to the father's aid was tied to his bed at a local hospital. He was charged with first degree murder. The defendant was described as a veteran and a heavy drinker who had spent time in a mental hospital. There appeared to be no apparent motive for the attack on his father.

Ralph Gibson of The News tells of gunshots at Bidgood's place on the Dixie Road in two separate shooting incidents within a few minutes of one another. Five men were injured and one shot off his own toe with a pistol. One woman shoved a shotgun through a window of the establishment and said, "There's gonna be some shooting here." She then fired, injuring four persons.

Don't go to Bidgood's place if'n you don't want to be shot or get confused and shoot yourself.

Them guns, they sure do protect ye though, don't they, boy? You got to have one, especially if your woman done run off with another man with a bigger gun.

On the editorial page, "An Imperative School Program" tells of a case pending in the Federal Court of the Middle District of North Carolina, alleging that black schools in Durham had outmoded and inadequate buildings, that the schools in consequence were not equal to the white schools, violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the "separate-but-equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson.

The case was brought at the instance of the NAACP, which had been winning such cases all over the country. On the basis of statistical differentials in the white and black schools of Durham, it was likely the organization would also win this case.

According to the State Education Commission report recently issued, the average per pupil investment in school buildings in 1943-44 in North Carolina was in a range from $450.19 to $40.53 for whites, whereas it was only $187.56 to $2.13 for blacks. It further found that over 60 percent of black pupils were enrolled in high schools below accreditation standards. Nearly half employed only one to three teachers and pupils attending such schools could not receive proper credits for entering college. While 70 percent of white elementary school classrooms were considered satisfactory, only 42 percent of black classrooms were. And in high schools, the differential between white and black classrooms deemed satisfactory was 84 percent to 61 percent.

State contributions currently to education showed little disparity between black and white schools, and teacher salaries were the same. Likewise, transportation and textbooks were about the same.

Most of the discrimination came at the local level.

The piece wonders what was going to be done about the situation. If the counties lacked the financial wherewithal to make up for the disparities, would the people of the state shoulder the responsibility, amounting to millions of dollars?

It also questions whether the proposed 25-million dollar school construction bond issue would be subjected to such court tests for discrimination in its allocation and whether Federal aid to education, if used for anything other than teacher salaries, would also not be so scrutinized by the courts.

It suggests that local and state school officials needed to confront these important questions.

The case to which the piece refers, Blue v. Durham Public School District, 95 F. Supp. 441, would be decided for the plaintiffs in 1951, holding that Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection was violated by the manner in which the local school authorities allocated funds between black and white schools, based on average daily attendance. Average daily attendance was 55 percent white and 45 percent black while the overall cost of school buildings was nearly 2 to 1 in favor of the white schools, leaving thirteen school buildings for whites and only eight for blacks, resulting in overcrowded black schools. Effectively, therefore, the District, by weighting allocation based on average daily attendance, was not effecting a remedy to greater disparities between white and black school buildings arising through time. While the Court recognized that population shifts had created some of the problems, it rejected the notion that it constituted the entire explanation for the resulting inequality of facilities. The Court also ruled that the State Board of Education overseeing the 50 million dollar school construction program, the 25 million dollar bond issue having been ultimately approved by voters in 1949, had not unfairly administered the two million dollar building program in Durham, to which the State had contributed a large portion, thus dismissing the State from the lawsuit.

This decision, as with others like it of the period, was a step closer to mandated desegregation by increasingly undermining the viability of Plessy.

The Durham schools would not be fully integrated until 1969—only taking 14 years after the 1955 implementing decision in Brown v. Board of Education, requiring desegregation of public schools "with all deliberate speed", a year after the initial decision ended the 58-year doctrine of Plessy for it not being realized.

Some people, by 1960, obviously had confused this notion of speed with the inherent problematic road-handling stability of the new Corvair.

"The 1920 Bond Issues" provides a list of the sources of revenue for highway construction from 1921 to 1948, showing that more money had come from the Federal Government than from bond issues and that gasoline taxes had funded more than four times the latter amount. And it had cost the State in interest $89 to retire every $92 of debt incurred under the bond issues of the 1920's, suggesting that the contribution of those bonds was less in producing good roads than Governor Kerr Scott had suggested.

It concludes that if the people decided to gamble again on the efficacy of a bond issue, with the 200-million dollar issue for rural road improvements set for referendum on June 4, then no one would question their decision.

"The World Can Criticize...." discusses Senator Joseph McCarthy's charge of brutal and coercive tactics by American interrogators to extract confessions from the Nazis accused of the Malmedy massacre of American prisoners-of-war in December, 1944 during the inception of the Battle of the Bulge. He had called the tactics of the American interrogators worse than anything practiced by the Russians or Hitler's Germany, could only have been devised by "warped minds".

Senator Raymond Baldwin of the Armed Services subcommittee investigating the matter had refused to allow a lie detector to be given to examine the accused American Army officers, finally prompting Senator McCarthy's resignation in disgust from the subcommittee.

The piece finds that Senator McCarthy was not attacking the integrity of the U.S. armed forces but was trying to uphold it, and that as long as the public was deprived of the true facts by the "whitewash", as alleged by the Senator, a cloud of suspicion would persist over U.S. justice.

Within a year, perhaps, we shall see the opinion of the column gradually change with regard to Senator McCarthy and his presumed respect for the country generally. Within five years, the opinion might considerably change also regarding the Senator's attack on the integrity of the armed forces of the United States.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Sentinel, titled "Mecklenburg's ABC Stores", finds that ABC-controlled sale of liquor was helping the revenue of Mecklenburg County while eliminating bootlegging. Meanwhile, Forsyth County's Committee of One Hundred had found that there was no noticeable change between the health, safety and cultural habits of citizens of counties with ABC stores and those without.

Bob Sain of The News discusses the Textile Workers Union of America, ten years old and new to the South, seeking to organize Southern mills but without success so far, only twenty percent of Southern workers being unionized. He provides several reasons why the Southern workers had resisted unionization.

But TWUA had a long-range plan, did not expect immediate success in the South. It claimed success in raising the minimum wage of Southern textile workers from 36 cents an hour in 1939 to $1.10 per hour presently, as well as achievement of other benefits.

The union was also active politically in the state.

Anti-labor groups claimed that the worker was forced to vote for unionization and that unions tended toward socialism. Some workers even believed that membership meant giving up the vote to the union consistent with its platform, a charge which was not true.

TWUA had come a long way in its ten years of existence and had achieved quite a lot in its two years in the South. All unions had gained during the FDR years, but now were trying to recover from some of their recent setbacks under Taft-Hartley, and some, as TWUA, were seeking to expand into the South.

Drew Pearson tells of the wife of Mon Wallgren having finally convinced the President to withdraw his name from nomination as chairman of the National Security Resources Board. But the stubbornness of the President in maintaining the nomination for weeks after it had been shelved in committee left the country without a chairman of a vital agency which planned the nation's economy under the contingency of an emergency. The problem had seriously undermined the Board's morale, prompting numerous resignations from a rudderless ship. The Board had not even met since the beginning of the controversy over the Wallgren nomination, which had centered around his lack of experience and competence for the position. The new chairman therefore would face a daunting task in restoring the agency.

The President had used, he notes, a variety of political tricks to try to grease the skids for the Wallgren nomination, but had failed at every turn.

He next relates of Ernest Cole, retiring lieutenant of the guard of the Supreme Court, having, at the time of the laying of the cornerstone for the new Supreme Court building, included within it, in addition to a copy of the Declaration of Independence, famous addresses of famous justices, and a photograph of Chief Justice and former President William Howard Taft, who had planned the building, a photograph of the Supreme Court's collie bitch dog, Fanny, giving suck to its seven puppies. So, he concludes, quite unknown to the Supreme Court, Fanny's picture lay beside the other artifacts within the cornerstone, including the photograph of Chief Justice Taft. And it was because Mr. Cole, while watchman for the Court, had taken Fanny in and cared for the dog.

The question left unanswered, however, is which of the two pictures within the cornerstone is the larger.

Joseph Alsop discusses the most recent report of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, stating that the inflation danger had passed and that a business recession was in prospect as a possibility. It recommended in consequence that the standby economic controls requested by the President be temporarily shelved and that the President's demands in January for new taxes be curbed downward, specifically eliminating the proposed two billion dollar increase in Social Security taxes and lowering of the proposed four billion dollar increase in corporate and individual income taxes. The Council also recommended that the President extend the present provisions for Social Security employment benefits and provide limited funds for planning public works in areas where serious unemployment existed.

Despite the unusual unanimity of the report, the President was inclined to stand with his recommendations in January, to avoid undermining confidence in the economy by predicting a depression.

Without defining direction from the President, it was difficult for the men directing economic policy to have a master plan. The approach of Dr. Leon Keyserling of the Council was the one most likely to be followed. He favored Government spending and managing the economy to avoid depression. Dr. Edwin Nourse, chairman of the Council, favored reduction of Government expenditures and taxes, both popular with business. Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder favored the Nourse approach generally, but believed at present that there was no cause for alarm. Federal Reserve vice-chairman Marriner Eccles had an approach similar to that of Dr. Keyserling, but believed that the present economic level could not be sustained and "disinflation" would eventually occur, preferred that it happen at present with Government intervention to avoid a slump.

Mr. Alsop concludes that even a Government spending program would not be given a fair trial if applied haphazardly and only in a crisis.

Marquis Childs pays tribute to Harold Johnson, editor and publisher of the Watertown (N.Y.) Times, who had died recently and whose life, he says, could stand as a monument to a free press. Though holding a controlling interest in the newspaper, he was not a timid conservative. He believed public ownership of utilities provided better rates for consumers, and, to that end, had won a fight for Watertown to own its own power plant. In the process, he made an enemy of the local utility tycoon. The utilities acquired control of the rival newspaper, The Standard, and sent in editors to staff it. But, in the end, they lacked the public confidence held by Mr. Johnson. Eventually, the editors gave up and sold The Standard to Mr. Johnson.

With one newspaper in town, Mr. Johnson worked to assure that all viewpoints were heard, printed those which differed from the editorial views of the newspaper.

Success in the press, concludes Mr. Childs, was much more than financial success and Mr. Johnson gave the full measure of success to Watertown in his devotion to community service.

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