The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 10, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in St. Louis, at the dedication for the site of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the President gave a speech denouncing Russia for preaching peace while "fomenting aggression and preparing for war" with "a cynical disregard for the hopes of mankind". He accused the Soviets of turning the school children of East Germany into "the same kind of pitiful robots that marched into hopeless battle for Hitler" while at home maintaining the largest peacetime armed force in history, far greater than needed for its defense, as it neglected the needs of its own people and engaged in "national slavery" to enable that growth in military strength.

The Senate agreed to a test vote Monday on extension of rent control after Senator Harry Cain's filibuster had blocked the attempted vote.

In Raleigh, State Prison director J. B. Moore said that he hoped to have evidence available Monday to refute charges that he used prisoners and prison materials to build a two-car garage and apartment above it at his Raleigh home. Jesse Helms, news director of Raleigh radio station WRAL, claimed to have seen one prisoner working on Mr. Moore's home, painting his porch, and two others nailing and sawing in the garage. Mr. Helms, pictured on the page purportedly talking to a prisoner on the porch of Mr. Moore's home, provided the identities of the men. He said that he found it "very interesting" that Mr. Moore denied the charges and wondered if those investigating them would like the pictures taken that afternoon.

The charge, meanwhile, was being investigated by the State Highway Commission, with authority over the prison system. An SBI investigator had been told that brick from a razed building on the campus of N.C. State had been used in construction of the building. Mr. Moore denied the claim, saying that he obtained the materials from his brother-in-law.

Mr. Moore had embarked on a program of prison reform since his appointment early in Governor Kerr Scott's term the previous year. He agreed that if the charge were proved, he deserved no role in State Government.

How about one more proviso on the charge: That if proven wrong or subject to ameliorating circumstances not probed adequately, Mr. Helms will agree never to become involved directly in state politics, again.

We note that it is the first time that the name of the future five-term Senator has appeared in print in The News, despite reportedly having a central role as a publicity director for the Willis Smith campaign and, in that role, being singularly responsible for the race-baiting aspects of that campaign, aimed at suggesting Senator Frank Graham as an advocate of "mingling of the races"—Negroes everywh're. But that was just something we read in The Economist in 1992 and it may have been Commonest-inspired—as that would certainly be entirely out of char'cter for Mr. Helms, later known for his liberality, bordering on radicalism.

In any event, thus began the statewide reputation for a crusading investigative reporter, uncovering graft and corruption wherever and whenever he came upon it—at least as long as it involved those perceived as crusading lib'rals for Commonest causes, such as prison reform, involving mainly Negroes.

The campaign for the runoff primary, set for two weeks hence, got underway shortly after Mr. Smith had announced on the prior Wednesday that he would seek the runoff. A crowd had gathered in front of the Raleigh attorney's home on Tuesday night, chanting "we want Willis"—reportedly a rally organized by Mr. Helms, who was likely adept at organizing rallies. Former Senator Robert Rice Reynolds, who had run a distant third in the race, and had counseled against a runoff, nevertheless threw his support to Mr. Smith.

Incidentally, the above-linked material re the Smith flyer distributed in the campaign is incorrect when it asserts that blacks could not vote in 1950 in North Carolina. There had been no bar to black voting in the state, either in the primaries or the general election, since 1920 when the state abolished the poll tax. Those issues by this point were further south, in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Alabama, and by 1950, even the formal legal bars to voting in those states had ended by virtue of Federal court intervention, though the existence of poll taxes in five remaining states until the ratification in 1964 of the 24th Amendment banning them, actions by county registrars through discriminatory use of literacy tests and the like, as well as vigilante action in communities, continued for many years to inhibit black voting, lasting into the Sixties in the Deep South states, until passage finally in 1965 of the Voting Rights Act, which, among other things, suspended literacy tests in certain troublesome states and counties, including 26 of the 100 counties of North Carolina, an Act, in an ideal world, which should never have been necessary given the Fifteenth Amendment, ratified in 1870. But many uneducated people, especially in the Deep South, as the primary trouble spots restricting voting by 1965 were in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and South Carolina, led and whipped up in their enthusiasm by their friendly neighborhood pols seeking higher office, were still, in their hearts and minds, swearing allegiance to the C.S.A. and not the United States. And that "Deep South", we note further, included certain enclaves of North Carolina, Virginia (where the poll tax remained until the bitter end), Tennessee, West Virginia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky, indeed, some parts of the Northern industrial states, to which great migration of blacks from the South had occurred during World War II for better paying war industry jobs, chafing against the whites seeking those same jobs—obviously even more pervasively, if the topic is expanded from voter inhibition and intimidation to general discrimination.

As times and attitudes changed rapidly in response to events and cases between 1950 and 1965, there is no precise delineation capable by state or even by counties within states in terms of voter restrictions. Obviously, in certain places, substantial impediments existed, more pronounced in the trouble spots. But there was no absolute statewide bar to black voters by 1950 in any state, and certainly not in North Carolina.

In Tulsa, Okla., an Army C-47 transport plane carrying eighteen persons crashed into three aviation-school barracks on take-off during the morning , injuring three, two critically. None aboard the craft were injured.

In Chester, S.C., a man was seriously injured when a portable cotton sprayer he was using to spray a field exploded, causing him possibly to lose his sight in one eye.

In Massanetta Springs, Va., the general assembly meeting of the Southern branch of the Presbyterian Church continued, hearing one minister of Nashville who had visited Europe urge American Protestants to help the Protestants of Europe in their rebuilding effort.

In Morristown, Tenn., State Highway Patrol reinforcements were ordered to the strikebound American Enka Corp. rayon plant, beset by a violence-prone strike for ten weeks. Automobiles of workers reporting for the night shift had been reported to have been waylaid by 75 to 100 persons, and one car overturned, about twelve stoned, and one man injured. The violence followed removal less than a day earlier of the last 100 of the contingent of more than 300 National Guardsmen sent to the site on May 20 to preserve order.

In Concord, N.C., a 23-year old woman was killed early in the morning when her car collided with a truck at the intersection of Davison Avenue and Highway 29. Neither her husband, who was driving, nor their four-year old daughter, also in the car, were injured in the accident. The husband reported that when he swerved to avoid hitting the truck, the right front door swung open and his wife fell from the car, becoming lodged underneath the wheels of the truck. Both the husband and the truck driver were ordered to appear at a coroner's inquest.

In London, a swimming instructor was fined five shillings for being drunk in public as he pushed his perambulator with his 16-month old twin daughters, following news, he informed, that his wife had given birth to another set of twins, causing him to have a "couple of nips to celebrate".

In New York, 45 babies were born to one mother, a six-foot Chilean fer-de-lance residing at the Bronx Zoo. More were expected out this date.

She may have been kin to Mr. Helms.

On the editorial page, "The Latta Park Controversy" considers the effort to build a new recreation center in Latta Park against the objections to it raised by nearby residents for the potential noise and congestion created by such a facility. Those who did not live close to the park did not care about the placement of the facility. Some wanted the funds instead devoted to their own neighborhoods. But if protest by a few neighbors could stop such a project, it would set a bad precedent, suggesting that all such projects could be similarly halted. When the new, proposed auditorium and the underpasses to eliminate rail crossings would be built, similar trouble might be anticipated. Moreover, the City Council might seek to get the Legislature to abolish the semi-autonomous Charlotte Park & Recreation Commission.

The newspaper would oppose vigorously any such move and counsels that it was not too late to rectify errors in the planning of the proposed recreation center and reach an amicable solution to the controversy.

"The Lazy South?" tells of a study showing that 52 percent of the eligible voters had voted in the country in the 1948 election, and finding the eleven Southern states to have wound up at the tail end of the list, ranging from Florida at 39.4 percent, with North Carolina next at 38.6, down to South Carolina at 13.9 and Alabama at 13.7 percent. At the upper end of the national scale, Utah had 74.6 percent turnout, West Virginia, 67.8, and New York, 62.5.

As potential reasons for the poor turnout in the South, it considers the fact that Southern black voters in the past had been successfully dissuaded from going to the polls in large numbers, but adds that in most states, they encountered little impedance by 1948. Another reason was that the one party system destroyed voting initiative. Yet, when the traditional Southern fervor for politics was considered, it was peculiar that so few voted. It concludes by asking whether the relative paucity of activity was not simply the result of laziness.

"The Lot of the Postman" tells of the convention in Charlotte of the North Carolina State Association of Letter Carriers having prompted thought of their plight, as told by Herodotus in 450 B.C.: "Neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of night..." A debt of gratitude, it concludes, was probably owed the mailmen for putting up with the problems encountered in their rounds, from snapping dogs to youngsters complaining that the cereal company had not sent them the promised model airplane for sending in the coupon, or resentment communicated generally for the postman being the messenger of bad tidings.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Oh, Henry!" tells of Henry J. Kaiser's contest to name his new car having drawn about 400,000 entries vying for a $10,000 first prize, a $2,500 second prize, and a $1,000 third prize. But the three winners had each submitted the pedestrian name "Henry J." It finds consolation in the fact that at least the other 399,997 entrants had not believed "the boss would fall for that kind of woo."

Drew Pearson tells of the Senate Chaplain, Rev. Frederick Brown, and Vice-President Barkley, realizing that both of their wives were out of town, having decided to play pinochle or attend a night baseball game at Griffith Stadium.

The Italian Embassy had presented medals to three people at the White House and he tells of what each apparently had done to deserve them. General Louis Renfrow had refused passage on an Air Force plane to four American Legionnaires who had given their time and money to visit Italy to present the tide of toys to Italian children. General Wallace Graham, the President's personal physician, had used his inside knowledge at the White House to speculate on the food being sent to Italy during the height of European starvation. General Harry Vaughan, the President's military aide, had, during this same period in 1946, sought a larger grain quota for American whiskey distillers, at the expense of the Italian and European people generally.

He notes that, increasingly, Congress realized that George Washington was right when he had banned the giving of foreign medals to American officials. Since General Vaughan had been decorated by Argentine dictator Juan Peron the prior year, Argentina had received 125 million dollars in credits from the Export-Import Bank.

The Republican Citizens Finance Committee had announced that it was raising $700,000 to defeat Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas of Illinois. It was to be on top of the amounts raised by the RNC and the State Committee. Meanwhile, Senator Guy Gillette, who had sought investigation when he was purged by FDR in 1938, was chairman of the committee assigned to investigate campaign expenditures, but was dragging his feet. In the meantime, people generally were getting fed up with the amount of campaign spending, as they were getting the impression that the man with the dough could buy a seat in Congress.

It had been heard in the Commerce Department press room that they were installing no left-turn signs at the White House, prompting some to ask, "Does that apply to Truman?"

While sifting through the Amerasia case documents, investigators came across a document labeled: "Jumbo secret! Destroy before reading!"

Joseph Alsop, in Paris, again discusses the need for the U.S. to lead in rebuilding Western European defenses by the time Russian war preparations were predicted to reach their climax, in 1953-54. Forty modern divisions were necessary for ground defense, and the cost for equipping them had been set at between six and eight billion dollars, whereas only four or five were presently available. Added to that would be radar devices, fighter and other aircraft, anti-aircraft weapons and other weaponry, probably costing at least another six to eight billion dollars. In addition would be anti-submarine equipment, including bases for strategic air power and for recruiting and training additional manpower.

These costs were to be spread over ten years, until the London foreign ministers conference in May had determined the need for the advance in the timetable to within three to four years hence. He suggests that two years had been wasted in the "precious fakery" at which Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson was so adept, such that rearmament would take at least until 1954-55. To accept a longer timetable would be suicidal. Such would necessitate, with the greatest possible economy practiced, additional defense expenditures by the Western allies of between 3.5 and 5 billion dollars more per year for four years. No such sums could be had from the allies, still in recovery, leaving it to the U.S. to make the bulk of the contributions, between 2 and 3.5 billion dollars per year, thereby encouraging the allies to increase their contributions for the remaining necessary amount.

The U.S. also had to exert leadership, lacking to the present time, the reason why the U.S. had refused at the conference to replace Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery with an American commander.

Such anomalies had to be eliminated and plans made, while making of weapons and training of men had to be pushed forward "with all speed".

Robert C. Ruark tells of the new "sweetie, darling, dear, baby and honey routine" for greeting perfect strangers, popular in the cafes of Hollywood, New York, and Miami, sweeping to places as far away as Australia. Men of unquestioned masculinity for a time were referring to each other as "honey", even if sarcastically stated. Telephone operators, busboys and all Broadway-Hollywood characters, even Bernard Baruch, used these forms of address, possibly for want of the ability to remember names.

Few adjectives were in use, "dreamy", "sensational", "divine" being the most hackneyed—not dissimilar to "awesome", "iconic", and "cool" today, most of which meaningless verbiage refers to anything but something cool, iconic or awesome, merely substituting for the speaker's or author's lack of creative ability to use language in any but the dullest form of popular parroting so as to sound, in his or her own mind, cool, awesome, and iconic, while appearing more as the bat-weed they resemble.

The adjectives applied as equally to the weather as to a "fistfight in a gin mill".

Amusement, amazement, and disbelief were expressed simply as, "Oh, no." Another alternative form of expression was: "This is the complete end" or "That's all, sweetie".

Most sentences were started, "Tell you what I'm gonna do..." or "I've got news for you..." or "Whatever became of so-and-so?"

"Falls dead" meant to everyone's amusement. "Drop dead" was no longer hep, being consigned to the dustbin of a couple of years back, no longer "with it".

"Loaded" was another ubiquitous word, used to describe many different things.

Mr. Ruark had not said "natch" or "wha' hoppen" for three years. "Contact" as a verb made his skin crawl.

He found it "sheer heaven" to be able to refer to "South Pacific" as "S.P." and be thus content in the knowledge that he could be understood. That "Hollywooded" was a synonym for pregnancy "couldn't be dreamier".

He concludes, running out of space, that he was going to go off and brood over the English language: "Whatever became of Noah Webster? He couldn't have been more divine, sweetie, even if he is obsolete."

Tom Schlesinger of The News, in his weekly "Capital Roundup", tells of the private utility interests openly having supported Willis Smith in the May 27 primary because Senator Frank Graham believed in the concept of public power for the benefit of keeping consumer prices on electricity low. As power, by its nature, had to be handled as a monopoly, he believed it ought be a public monopoly, especially as the water power of the nation which produced it already belonged to the Federal Government.

Southern Democrats now held the chairmanships of ten of eighteen major House committees and North Carolina's delegation led the parade with three, with Harold Cooley chairing Agriculture, Graham Barden, Education & Labor, and Robert Doughton, Ways & Means.

A North Carolina Congressman had discovered that it cost $1.75, station-to-station, and $2.45, person-to-person, to call Independence, Mo., as listed in the Washington phone book, though rates for a call to Charlotte were not listed.

Senator Clyde Hoey recalled, in connection with complaints over the big names publicized during the hearings the previous summer on the five percenter scheme, that his first law client, who was convicted 50 years earlier on a charge of manslaughter, had complained through his brother that he would like to get out of jail as it was no place for a gentleman. Mr. Hoey, as people had a tendency to forget, had been a member of the State House before age 21, a member of the State Senate before 25, an assistant U.S. Attorney under President Wilson, and a member of the House before entering the Senate in 1945, after being Governor during the period 1937-41.

A Quote of the Day: "We would cure much of the trouble of making left-hand turns against through traffic if we'd adopt the British plan of driving on the wrong side of the road to begin with." –Dallas Morning News

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