The Charlotte News

Monday, November 1, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that with control of Congress appearing to hang in narrow balance, the President and Adlai Stevenson prepared to finish the midterm election campaign with appeals to voters to turn out in force the next day. Republicans were regarded nationally as fighting an uphill battle to retain their present slender control of both the Senate and the House, which they had won on the coattails of General Eisenhower two years earlier. Democrats were proclaiming their expectation of a sweep of both houses and a pickup of a half-dozen governorships. The President this night would broadcast on television and radio an appeal to voters, and would be joined by Vice-President Nixon. Former Governor Stevenson, the 1952 Democratic nominee, who had said that the President had joined the Republican chorus on the issue of domestic Communism, would speak by radio on CBS from Chicago following the President's address. Democrats conceded privately that they had been hurt in some critical races by the charge that many of their candidates were "left-wing". Attorney General Herbert Brownell had said the prior Saturday night that if Democrats won control of Congress, the new chairmen of committees which dealt with corruption and Communism would be "a new kind of five-percenter", having supported the President's program only five percent of the time.

White House press secretary James Hagerty labeled as "ridiculous" Mr. Stevenson's assertion that the President had affirmed Republican campaign material which, according to Mr. Stevenson in a campaign speech in New York Saturday night, was "standard Communist propaganda". He had said: "Not just the Vice-President and the Republican campaigners, but now the President, himself, has affirmed the proposition that our prosperity has been achieved in the past only at the price of war and bloodshed. This of course has been standard Communist propaganda for years and is believed by many to prove that the United States is ready to precipitate war in order to save capitalism." He added that he was certain that the President "must have spoken thoughtlessly and carelessly."

Mr. Hagerty stressed that the campaign addresses by the President and Vice-President were being sponsored by the RNC, which was paying for the air time, and that the President would speak from a television and radio studio in Washington rather than from the White House, because of the political nature of the address.

In North Carolina, Democratic and Republican candidates were getting in their final campaign speeches this date, with the Congressional races in the ninth and tenth districts attracting most of the attention among the two Senate races and ten other Congressional races. Democrats were waging an active campaign in the tenth district against the only Republican in the North Carolina delegation, Charles Jonas, opposed by Recorder's Court Judge J. C. Sedberry of Charlotte. Mr. Jonas had been elected in 1952, defeating Democrat Hamilton Jones by 21,000 votes out of a total of 143,000 cast. In the ninth district, Republicans were mounting a bid to defeat Democratic Representative Hugh Alexander of Kannapolis, opposed by Republican William Stevens. The state Democratic chairman had predicted a turnout of between 650,000 and 700,000 voters. There had been 1.25 million votes cast in the 1952 presidential election, and statewide, turnout had been 558,000 in the previous midterm elections in 1950. In the two Senate races, Senator Sam Ervin, appointed to the seat the previous June to replace deceased Senator Clyde Hoey, faced no significant opposition from the Republicans, as was the case also with former Governor Kerr Scott, the Democratic nominee who had defeated in the spring primary incumbent Senator Alton Lennon, himself an appointee to the position in 1953, succeeding deceased Senator Willis Smith in the other Senate seat in the state.

In Taylorsville, N.C., a dispute over absentee ballots in the ninth district race had intensified this date when county election boards were advised to impound all of the absentee ballots. The lead counsel for a special House campaign investigating committee said in Washington the previous night that he had sent a telegram to all of the election boards advising them to impound the absentee ballots and the records relating to them after the election, after the committee had sent a Washington attorney into the district during the weekend to investigate Republican charges of vote-buying, absentee ballot irregularities, registration irregularities and coercion of voters by welfare departments. The state Republican chairman had stated Friday that between 10,000 and 14,000 voter registrations would be challenged in the district, which had a population of 338,000, out of whom an estimated 180,000 persons were registered to vote. The state Republican chairman predicted that there would be approximately 80,000 to 90,000 votes cast in the district the following day. The challenges resulted in the requirement under state law that registrars hold a hearing after providing notice to the challenged voter as to why their names should not be removed from the voter rolls. In 1952, Congressman Alexander had defeated his Republican opponent by about 4,000 votes, three percent of the total vote. The Congressional committee had been informed that about ten percent of the votes in some rural sections of the district would be cast by absentee ballot.

The Interstate Commerce Commission this date ordered North Carolina to reinstate a 12 to 15 percent increase on intrastate railroad freight rates, which had expired on February 28, 1954, the action having been taken at the request of railroads operating in the state. The ICC had subsequently extended the expiration to the end of 1955. After more than a year of delay, the North Carolina Utilities Commission had authorized application of the interstate increased rates to intrastate business, prompting the State Agriculture Department to obtain an order in Wake County Superior Court, canceling the intrastate increase on grounds that the railroads had not presented sufficient evidence to sustain it. The railroads then appealed to the State Supreme Court, which was scheduled to hear arguments the following Wednesday.

In Lexington Park, Md., a dozen or so women waited quietly this date for word of the fate of their men, missing at sea as part of the crew of a Navy Super-Constellation, with a total of 42 aboard on a routine flight from the Patuxent Naval Air Test Center to the Azores. The women had learned of their missing loved ones at about noon the previous day. The plane had not been heard from since late Saturday, and planes from England, the European Continent, North Africa and the U.S. had joined in the search across a 120-mile band along the route of the plane. Among the missing had been 21 passengers, including two women, wives of U.S. officers, and five children. The others aboard had been crewmen, more than the usual complement, as they were headed to the Azores to pick up another plane to fly back. The crew and passengers had taken off earlier on Saturday in another plane, but had to turn back after 2 1/2 hours because of a problem with that plane, then transferring to the now missing plane and starting out again. Navy officials had announced by the evening of Sunday that the plane was presumed lost, because it only had enough fuel to remain in the air until 10:00 a.m.

In Cleveland, O., in the first-degree murder trial of Dr. Samuel Sheppard for the alleged murder of his wife the prior July 4, jury selection was continuing, now having reached the selection of two alternate jurors, after a disputed juror among the regular panel was being challenged by the prosecution for allegedly failing to disclose that he had been convicted on a morals charge 11 years earlier. In keeping with the practice of the reporting on the trial thus far, the name and occupation of that juror was also disclosed in the story. The pastor for the juror had talked with the trial judge briefly during the morning, explaining that the juror wanted to be excused "with as little legal difficulty as possible", the pastor telling reporters that nothing conclusive had been stated in his conference with the judge. The prosecution stated that the morals conviction involved activities with a 15-year old boy, on which charge the juror had received a suspended sentence. Dr. Sheppard, according to the story, appeared in "an expansive mood" this date, smiling frequently. Respond to the call of duty for jury service and have your name publicly dragged through the mud, a good advertisement to prospective jurors around Cleveland in the future. In camera proceedings appear to have been indicated as more sensibly serving the public interest. But there was certainly nothing in camera about the Sheppard trial—which was why the eventual conviction was reversed ultimately in 1966.

In Ossian, Ia., a family, who had not expected company, invited another family over for chicken dinner the previous day, after the family dog had come home on Saturday night with a sack containing three live chickens, which they assumed had fallen from a passing truck, and, seeing no manner of returning the chickens, killed them and cooked them for Sunday dinner. Then the wife was chatting with a woman Sunday morning, who had mentioned that someone had carried off a sack of chickens which she had left outside her door until she got ready to clean them, at which point she and her family were invited to dinner by the family who owned the kleptomaniacal dog.

On the editorial page, "Vote Tomorrow—and Vote Wisely" begins by quoting from Ogden Nash: "They have such refined and delicate palates/ That they can discover no one worthy of their ballots,/ And when someone terrible gets elected/ They say, There, that's just what I expected!"

It indicates that Mecklenburg County had 87,962 registered voters, but questions how many would respond to the challenge and vote the following day, that the county's voting record had not been particularly good in midterm elections in the past. In 1950, only about 19,000 persons had bothered to vote in the Congressional race, while in 1952, the total was 77,000 votes, at the time of the quadrennial presidential election.

It indicates that while monarchies and dictatorships were more efficient than democracies, they were also more dangerous for the individual. Democracy had to depend on trial and error, and while everyone had to submit to a measure of control or authority in a democracy, that did not extend to judgment and reason, and because everyone did not think alike, the voice of the majority had the force of law. It urges voting and indicates that marking the ballot carefully was part of that process, reminding that democracy always had the problem of enlisting the best energies of people, but would survive as long as people voted and voted wisely.

"No Political Commissars, Please" indicates that the Army had promised to teach soldiers the basics of democracy. It finds that any form of ideological pedagogy should be approached with caution, as the country did not need political commissars to enforce thought control in its armed services.

The first fears about the effectiveness of present "troop information and education programs" had arisen when 23 American prisoners of war in Korea had chosen to remain initially with their Communist captors, two then having decided to repatriate, only to be tried for collaborating with the enemy. It asserts that the Army's greatest task was to give the soldiers compelling reasons to risk their necks in defense of their country and the free world from Communists. But that was difficult when eight percent of Army personnel had less than the equivalent of a fourth-grade education.

Under the present system, the recruit received many hours of discussion during basic training on subjects such as citizenship and the Communist threat in America, and the program continued when the soldier went overseas. It suggests that the system was fundamentally sound, perhaps needing some improvement in the educational techniques, but it hopes that the Army would not engage in an indoctrination program to sell something which did not require "sugar-coated trimmings". There should be no brainwashing, no high pressure indoctrination, to teach democracy to American youth. Democratic principles were not so rigid that they could be reduced to rehearsed catchwords. The soldiers "just need the facts, M'am."

"'Well Now, Suh, Eff'n Lee Hadn't...'" says that North Carolinians still drawled their y'alls and New Englanders still paahked their caah, and there was nothing which could be done about it, that technology may have shortened the economic lifelines between North and South but had not helped to diminish the language barrier. Northerners continued to be mystified by Southerners' "melodious slurs", and Southerners could not become accustomed to the sharp consonants and fractured vowel sounds of Yankees.

It relates of an Army captain who had lived with his family at Fort Myer in Virginia, where his nine-year old daughter was having difficulties in school in Arlington, prompting the parents to have a conference with her teacher, who had a "charming Richmond accent", the teacher recommending remedial speech for the young girl, to which the parents, though not completely convinced of its necessity, had agreed. Later, the captain had asked a doctor at Walter Reed Hospital to check the child's speech and found that the speech supposed defect which had been noted by the Arlington School System had appeared to be nothing more than a flat Boston accent. It suggests that New Englanders might have the same reservations if encountering a child from the Deep South, as they accused Southerners of using the lazy "ah" in almost every sentence, as in, "Ah'm ovah heah."

To complicate matters further, there was more than one Southern accent, with New Orleans having its own dialect, differing sharply from the drawl heard on the flats of Georgia or in tidewater Virginia, those quite unlike the brogue of the North Carolina-Tennessee mountain region, which also differed from Cape Hatteras, which had preserved many colonial or Elizabethan expressions, with the "worst English in the world" being said to be spoken by the Gullah blacks of the South Carolina coastal region.

But distinctive accents could also be heard among natives of the New York-Jersey City area, the Ozarks, the Midwest, the Far West, the Maine coast, rural Pennsylvania and the Adirondacks area.

It indicates that there was a difference between cultured and uncultured speech, that no one should condone really bad speech, but that there was nothing wrong with a good local accent, helping to establish regional personality, that there was no such thing as a "right accent" or a single "American accent". It concludes that as long as the speech was articulate and amiable, it was perfectly correct.

A piece from the Daily Tar Heel, the UNC student newspaper, titled "A Word to Bearded Bob Ruark", indicates that Mr. Ruark, a graduate of UNC and a "clever writer who has parlayed his sour pen into a great deal of money", gave them a pain in the neck. It says that it followed his "wordy adventures" in The News, and regards his latest attack on the young, that they were all bores for talking "learnedly of things in literature and art and politics and economics and world affairs" while not partaking of bathtub gin, having found that there was not much hope in consequence for the world. Mr. Ruark had said that he could not remember what he had studied during the last quarter of his senior year at UNC, but could remember that someone dropped a cake of soap in the home-brew, vastly improving its flavor, and that a pretty girl with brown eyes had returned his fraternity pin.

It offers that they had news for Mr. Ruark, that things had not changed so much in Chapel Hill, that brown-eyed girls still returned fraternity pins, and that if they preferred ABC store bourbon to soapy home-brew, no one could blame them. It suggests that maybe they had learned a few things since Mr. Ruark had flunked his last quiz at the University, one of which was perhaps that it was "going to take more than a convertible and a liquor bottle to unravel the mess Mr. Ruark and his reckless generation made of the world. It's going to take literature and art and politics and economics among other things, and if we can't guzzle our alcohol at the Ruark rate, we'll just have to get along the best we can."

Whether, incidentally, this editorial from the October 27 edition was by DTH editor at the time, Charles Kuralt, is not known. Regardless, we agree with it.

Drew Pearson tells of Jack Porter, a wealthy Houston oil man, RNC committeeman, and the first to support General Eisenhower for the presidency, having sent out a letter demanding money from Federal jobholders in Texas, coming close to a violation of the Hatch Act, forbidding forced contributions from officeholders. Mr. Porter had visited General Eisenhower in Paris in the spring of 1952 and upon his return, stated that the General would be against the Supreme Court position on tidelands oil, having ruled against Texas, Louisiana and California on the matter. General Eisenhower had written Mr. Porter a letter taking a stand opposite that of the Court, one reason why Texas had voted overwhelmingly for the General two years earlier and why so much Texas money had poured into the Republican campaign chest. Mr. Porter's current letter to Federal officeholders indicated that it was costly to "process" a Federal job, the word "process" not being explained by the latter but construed by some officeholders to mean that if they did not contribute, Mr. Porter would "process" them out of their jobs. The letter had named a precise amount which Mr. Porter wanted them to donate. One postmistress, who made only $150 per month, was informed that she would need to contribute $175, while U.S. attorneys, collectors of internal revenue and other top officials were being told to contribute as much as $500 each.

Admiral Lewis Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, did not like his name to be mispronounced, insisted on the pronunciation as "straws". Recently, the wife of scientist Henry Smyth, who had just resigned from the AEC because he could not take any longer the high-handed manner of Admiral Strauss, had been having dinner beside New York Times correspondent Arthur Krock, the chief apologist for Admiral Strauss. Mr. Krock had asked Mrs. Smyth how she felt and she replied that she felt fine, to which Mr. Krock replied, "Are you sure?" Mrs. Smyth said that she was and wondered why he had asked, to which he replied that he had heard she was ill, that she had been taking all of her nourishment through "straws".

One of the unofficial diplomats who had helped to smooth out the important Trieste problem had been Democratic Congressman John Blatnik of Minnesota, of Yugoslav descent. As a major during the war, Congressman Blatnik had been parachuted behind German lines into Yugoslavia, where he worked with the underground against the Nazis. The previous year, he happened to be in Yugoslavia at the time of the demand by the U.S. and Britain that Tito evacuate Trieste, considered a diplomatic mistake, prompting Tito to mobilize troops around Yugoslavia and causing public opinion to reach fever pitch. Mr. Blatnik then called on Tito and persuaded him to enter direct negotiations with Italy regarding Trieste, then flew by military plane to NATO headquarters in Paris to report to NATO supreme commander, General Alfred Gruenther. Those conferences had helped to smooth relations with Yugoslavia such that it was willing to enter diplomatic talks.

The letters column this date takes up the rest of the page, relating to the midterm elections.

A letter from the top five officers of the Mecklenburg County Democratic executive committee responds to an editorial of October 27, "The Record of Charles Raper Jonas", indicating they respected the opinion of the newspaper with regard to that portion of the record with which they were in agreement, but that in fairness to the Democratic candidate, Recorder's Court Judge J. C. Sedberry, they felt the need to call attention to the remaining record of Mr. Jonas vis-à-vis the interests of the people of the district. They maintain that he voted as a Republican, consistent with sectional interests of the Republican Party, while refusing to run as a Republican in the local election campaign, instead using every opportunity to trade on the word "Democrat". They point out that those who signed paid advertisements as "Registered Democrats for Jonas" had also been at various times in the past "Registered Democrats for Hoover", "Registered Democrats for Landon", and "registered Democrats for Thomas E. Dewey". They go on to say that he voted against an amendment to reduce income taxes for lower income tax brackets, against the Democratic proposal to raise the personal exemption from $600 to $700, which would have meant a more equitable tax reduction plan for 98 percent of the voters of the district. Mr. Jonas also had promised the farmers 100 percent of parity in support prices and guaranteed maintenance of the 90 percent parity level, but, along with the rest of the Republicans in Congress, had sought to reduce that level to 75 percent of parity, which only strong Democratic opposition had managed to pull back up to a compromise of 82.5 percent. Meanwhile, farm income in the district was down 17 percent over that of 11 months earlier. Mr. Jonas, along with the other Republicans, had sought to increase the debt ceiling by 15 billion dollars, eventually raised by six billion. Republican Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, had said that she would be at a loss for words if asked to point to any particular piece of Republican-supported legislation which had been enacted to benefit veterans. Mr. Jonas had voted against an appropriation to provide medical care in VA hospitals to veterans who could not afford other care. He had voted with other Republicans also to provide certain Governmental agencies the right to fire any employee without regard to a veteran's preference. Mr. Jonas had also voted to end all public housing at the end of 1954. He had voted against the addition of 25 million dollars for hospital construction under the Hill-Burton Act, voted against increasing VA funds for administration of medical, hospital and housing services, and against adding funds and loans for rural telephone lines, as well as voting against transmission lines to carry more power to rural communities. He had also voted against adding six million dollars for Federal aid to schools in defense areas. They conclude that the record of Mr. Jonas, therefore, was against the interests of 99 percent of the people in the tenth district.

A letter writer indicates that he was voting Democratic in the midterm elections to curb Senator McCarthy, in accordance with the invitation issued by the Senator a few months earlier to do just that.

A letter writer indicates that those who professed to be Democrats for anyone other than a Democrat were not really Democrats but just intelligent Republicans, albeit dishonest ones. They wanted to take part in elections of local officials in the one-party South and the only way to do so was to register as a Democrat. He believes that if they were truly honest, however, they would organize the Republican Party in the South and vote for their candidate in the primaries, then put up some opposition to Democrats in the general election.

A letter writer regards as a tempest in a teapot the complaint of a justice of the peace in Long Creek township, who said that some mysterious Democratic Party leaders had pressured him to support the Democratic candidate, this writer indicating that the justice of the peace was a registered Democrat and that Democrats therefore had the right to expect some support in return, that if he was not going to support the party, he should resign and register as a Republican.

A letter writer from Lincolnton suggests that Congressman Jonas could not be fairly compared with an ordinary politician, as he had conscientiously discharged his duties to all of his constituents, regardless of political beliefs and affiliation, and regardless of race or national origin. He intends to vote for Mr. Jonas the following day.

A letter writer indicates that he was 58 years old and had been a "good Democrat" all of his life, had always loved the party, until a few years earlier when it appeared to him that the Democrats were selling out the country to the Communists. But, "since our good friend, President Eisenhower, and our hard worker whose interest is solely for the good of the country and the people, especially the people of the 10th District of North Carolina, who is none other than Congressman Charles Raper Jonas, something has been done about this problem." He intends to vote for Mr. Jonas the following day.

A letter writer objects to the Democratic Party telling people how to vote, indicates that the Constitution guaranteed the right of the citizens to vote for the person of their choice, regardless of party. He intends to vote for Mr. Jonas.

A letter writer cannot understand how Congressman Jonas could vote against an appropriation for the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most beautiful and scenic sections of the country, with the tourist industry meaning a lot to Mitchell, Avery and Burke Counties. She suggests electing a Congressman who would represent the district and not a few rich Republicans, indicates her intent to vote for Judge Sedberry.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., indicates that the Republican Administration had gotten the country out of war, but that one would never have any trouble with a gangster if he were allowed to take over, which is what had happened in both Korea and Indo-China. Now, the Administration was planning, it appeared, to take orders from Clement Attlee in London to give Formosa to Communist China, and that next it would be Japan, the Philippines and other islands for which the country had fought to obtain their freedom. He indicates that he was glad that the country had not had a war under the Republican Party leadership because they were too stingy to pay for a war or plan for one as they should, that all they cared about was big money, power and big corporations' welfare. What they had done during the previous two years was to cut the farmer, cut worker wages and put him out of work, cut production of manufacturing plants in most places, unless it was G.M. or J. P. Stevens, where all the big defense contracts were going, consistent with the interests of some officials in the Cabinet or other high positions within the Administration. He indicates a lack of faith in free enterprise officials taking over government for the benefit of their few instead of for the nation as a whole. He urges voting for a real Republican or a real Democrat, someone who had stood with the party in defeat as well as in victory.

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