The Charlotte News

Monday, November 8, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that North Carolina Governor William B. Umstead, 56, had died the previous morning in Durham of congestive heart failure, having suffered from a heart ailment since his heart attack on January 10, 1953, two days after his inauguration. He had been readmitted to a hospital in Durham on Thursday, with a severe cold, after having previously spent three weeks in the hospital, recently re-emerging but then suffering a relapse. Funeral services would be held the next day at Trinity Methodist Church in Durham and burial would take place at the Mount Tabor Church Cemetery in Bahama, a small community near Durham, birthplace of the Governor. He was the first North Carolina Governor to die in office since 1891, when Governor David Fowle had died and was succeeded by Lt. Governor Thomas Holt.

Governor Umstead had been well-liked, had been a member of Congress from 1932 through 1938, during the New Deal, and had decided to retire from office in 1938 to enter private law practice in Durham. In 1946, he had been appointed by former Governor Gregg Cherry to the Senate, succeeding deceased Senator Josiah W. Bailey, and two years later, had failed to win the nomination for the seat in the Democratic primary against former Governor J. Melville Broughton, Mr. Umstead's only political defeat in his career. In 1952, he was elected to succeed Governor Kerr Scott, who was now the Senator-elect. He had been a graduate of UNC and studied law at Trinity College, later to become Duke University.

Governor Umstead would be succeeded by Lt. Governor Luther Hodges, 56, who would go on to be re-elected in 1956, and, because of the one-term limitation for North Carolina Governors at that time, would become the longest serving Governor in the state's history upon leaving office in 1961, when he would be tapped by President Kennedy to become Secretary of Commerce. He would be sworn in the following afternoon, having deferred the swearing-in ceremony until after the funeral of Governor Umstead. He had been associated with Marshall Field Co. for 30 years, having risen from office boy to general manager of the Fieldcrest Mills and later to vice-president of the company. He had been an especially popular Lieutenant Governor, and had been mentioned as a candidate for governor in 1956. He had graduated from UNC in 1919, after working his way through college for four years.

The President sent a personal telegram of sympathy to Mrs. Umstead, and said publicly that the people of the state had lost "an experienced and devoted public servant", who had served his state with "integrity and distinction". The President had met the Governor several times, the last time having been a few months earlier, when the Governor had accompanied a delegation to ask the President to give a speech in Charlotte the prior May to help celebrate the anniversary of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.

The Senate convened this date in extraordinary session to consider the censure of Senator McCarthy. The Senator, having already predicted that the vote would go against him, said that he nevertheless would continue his fight against Communism. A formal resolution of censure would be submitted on Wednesday by the six-Senator select committee which had unanimously recommended censure in September, the delay having been occasioned by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina, a member of the committee, needing to be at home temporarily because of the death of Governor Umstead. Senator McCarthy was presented with 22 bound volumes by a Catholic war veterans organization from New York, containing over 275,000 signatures of persons in 40 states, expressing protest against the censure.

From Tokyo, it was reported that 10 U.S. airmen had been rescued after an attack by two Russian jet fighters on their four-engined RB-29, which had crashed into a house in northern Hokkaido, a few miles from the Russian-held Kurile Islands. An 11th member of the crew had drowned at sea after bailing out. The captain of the crew had spoken to a press conference, saying that the plane had never come closer than 15 miles to Russian territory, that he would have liked to return fire, as the plane was armed, but that his first thought had been to complete the photographic mission. His group commander said that he was not to be criticized but rather complimented, that while commanders of flights had standing instructions to fire if fired upon, he believed there must have been some misunderstanding, but warned attacking planes that there would be a different reception in the future regarding incidents of the kind. The State Department issued a protest of the incident to Moscow. The Far East commander, General John Hull, said that the direction of the plane's fall negated any possibility that it had been over Russian territory, and accused the Russians of a "piratical" attack.

The President said this date, departing from the text of his prepared address to the convention of the National Council of Catholic Women, in response to the shooting down of the airplane, that "the specter of war looms less threateningly" than in a long while, "despite the instance of provocation", and that the quest for an "enduring and lasting" peace "must be the overriding goal of our foreign policy." He addressed a capacity audience of 3,000 people at the Boston Symphony Hall, again expressing the hope that his "atoms for peace" proposal would open a "new phase" of U.S. relations with Russia to obtain an enduring peace. He received a standing ovation at the start of the address and had been received warmly by large crowds along the route from Logan Airport to the hall.

The Agriculture Department this date estimated that the year's Government-restricted cotton crop would be approximately 13,206,000 bales of 500 pounds each gross weight, 695,000 bales more than the previous month's forecast, and 3.2 million bales less than the previous year's production, but somewhat ahead of the ten-year average of 12,448,000 bales. A crop of about 12 million bales had been sought by the Government. Similar controls had been proposed for the following year's crop, but would be subject to two-thirds approval by cotton growers who would vote in a referendum on December 14.

On the editorial page, "William B. Umstead, Public Servant" indicates that the Governor, who had died the previous day, had revered his father, a tobacco farmer who had impressed upon his sons that public service was a duty, and, according to the Governor, had made him mind his father, wearing him out more than once for not doing so, for which the Governor was grateful. It posits that it was that uncompromising concept of service which had exhausted the Governor, who had been suffering from a heart ailment since two days after his inauguration in January, 1953.

It finds that the Governor had developed a philosophy of government typical of many of the state's leaders, aptly fitted to the period of history, as reflected in his calm approach to the school desegregation decision of the prior May 17, Brown v. Board of Education, appointing a special commission of 19 citizens to study the matter before the State would take any action. The Governor generally had undertaken study of major issues before making decisions.

It had been his hope that the 1955 General Assembly would separate the Prisons Department from the Highway Commission, about which he had been preparing detailed recommendations. He also wanted the Assembly to redraw the state's judicial districts and to reorganize the State Government, on the basis of studies which were being made based on his recommendation. The essence of his program had been the improvement of the schools, hospitals and institutions of the state, which had been underway prior to his death, and his Administration would be remembered as one in which voters had agreed to issue 50 million dollars worth of bonds for schools and 22 million for mental hospitals, with the Assembly agreeing to issue more than 14 million dollars worth of improvements for other state institutions.

In addition, the State Board of Conservation & Development had been invigorated, the state's ports utilized more fully, and its highways dramatically made more safe under his appointees.

It concludes that he had fulfilled his promise, despite his heart ailment, to enable the state to "go forward toward a better tomorrow", and now with the able Lieutenant Governor, Luther Hodges, becoming his successor, the state would continue to move forward, remembering Governor Umstead's "studious and painstaking" planning for its future.

"Minority Rule Cannot Be Tolerated" indicates that the defeat during the week of the proposed State Constitutional amendment, which would have provided for a limit of one State Senator per county, had been a sharp rebuff to rural politicians who had sought to deny the urban population centers fair representation in the Legislature. It indicates that had it been successful, a non-representative minority of citizens would have been able to control the State Senate permanently and thereby obtain control of state policy. By voting against it, the voters served notice to the 1955 biennial General Assembly that they wanted the framers of the State Constitution to be respected, that redistricting by population should take place every ten years on the basis of the decennial census.

Presently, Mecklenburg County was entitled to two State Senators, based on population, and had been since 1940, but the intervening Legislatures had failed to reapportion. The 1953 Legislature had drafted the proposed amendment which had been rejected.

It concludes that it was now up to the 1955 Assembly to follow the State Constitution and redistrict according to population.

"Farm Belt Did Not Desert Benson" indicates that Representative Harold Cooley of North Carolina was a keen student of American politics, but appeared to have been neglecting his homework lately, that before he promised to resume his battle for 90 percent parity support prices, as the incoming chairman of the Agriculture Committee, he should have taken another long look at farm-belt election returns, that in numerous areas where the price support program had become a serious campaign issue, rural districts had backed candidates who favored flexible supports. The results did not demonstrate, as Mr. Cooley had suggested, that farmers were "very much disappointed in the leadership" of the Administration and "disturbed over the fact" that Secretary Benson had been "waging war on them constantly" since he had been in office.

It finds that Secretary Benson had, in fact, been the biggest winner in the midterm election, for he had been warned that to support flexible price supports would be political suicide and it had not been. In Iowa, for instance, one of Secretary Benson's most outspoken critics, Senator Guy Gillette, had been defeated by Republican Thomas Martin, who had defended the farm policy of the Administration. Utah had returned two Republican Congressmen, and Kansas had re-elected Senator Andrew Schoeppel, who had supported flexible price supports despite criticism from Democrats. Even where Democrats triumphed in the Midwest, as in Illinois where Senator Paul Douglas had been re-elected, the farm precincts generally remained supportive of the Republican candidates. Democrats had hoped to make substantial gains in the Midwest and the rural districts by stressing the price support issue, but the strategy had not worked.

It concludes that Mr. Cooley would be in a position as chairman of the Agriculture Committee to wield a great deal of influence on farm policy, but was mistaken if he believed that the midterm elections of the Democrats to control of both houses generally was a mandate for reviving the rigid price support program.

A piece from the Gastonia Gazette, titled "Turn It Down, Kids", hopes that progress could be made toward getting the young to turn down the volume of their sound, suggests that they were abusing their privilege of conducting their affairs noisily, the worst offenders not being the youngest ones, but rather the teenagers who were setting new records regarding decibel levels.

It finds that outside, shrill cries could be heard during the day in the streets, and inside in the evenings, the television screen became the new focus of noise. Nor did they change when they entered public places, traveling around town in bicycle packs, conversing with one another only at a distance of more than 20 feet. It urges the young to lower the volume before the whole country became their captive audience.

Drew Pearson indicates that a former associate of Senator McCarthy, Harvey Matusow, former member of the Communist Party who had become disillusioned and provided information to the FBI, subsequently becoming a friend, informer and paid employee of the Senator, had provided revealing information on the operations of the Senator, including an attempt by the Senator to thwart the Senate committee which had probed his finances in 1951 and 1952, and regarding his efforts to defeat Democratic candidates in Utah, Montana and Washington by smearing them as being pro-Communist. Mr. Pearson had interviewed Mr. Matusow, and he had said that the Senator had sent him to Utah to support the re-election of Senator Arthur Watkins, who had chaired the Senate select committee which unanimously recommended censure of Senator McCarthy in September. Mr. Matusow had first testified before a Senate committee in Salt Lake City about Communists in the Government and later participated in a smear of Congressman Walter Granger, the opponent of Senator Watkins in 1952, as being soft on Communists. He had also campaigned in Montana against Senator Mike Mansfield, and in Washington against Senator Henry Jackson, but those smear techniques, he said, had not been successful.

Regarding the investigation of the Senator's finances, Mr. Matusow said he had been contacted by the wife of J. B. Matthews, then counsel for the committee chaired by Senator McCarthy, who had asked him to take the former wife of Congressman Alvin Bentley out of the country until the probe of the Senator's finances had passed. Mrs. Bentley had loaned $7,000 to Senator McCarthy, and Congressman Bentley had loaned another $3,000 to him, about which the Senate wanted to inquire, in addition to other matters. Mrs. Bentley had also paid for a Mutual network broadcast which Senator McCarthy had made prior to the 1950 elections. Mr. Matusow said he knew all of the circumstances regarding why Mrs. Bentley needed to be taken out of the country and that he had discussed it with the Senator, and the latter's lawyer had also known about it. Mrs. Bentley was outside the subpoena power of the Senate for about two weeks, in the Bahamas, then returned to the U.S.

Upon further questioning, Mr. Matusow admitted that the $10,000 in loaned money had been used by Senator McCarthy to speculate on soybeans, that Mrs. Bentley had not known about the intended use of the money, and had said that if she had known, she never would have made the loan.

Mr. Matusow also said that the Senator had asked him to investigate the New York Times, Time magazine and other publications, with a view to pinning the Communist Party label on them, because, he said, they had been attacking the Senator and he was upset about it, desiring revenge.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the new Democratic leadership in the House would be expected to oppose the President more often than had the Republican leadership in the current Congress. Only one of the incoming chairmen of the 19 House standing committees had supported the President more frequently than the Republican predecessor on the same committee. Some of the new chairmen had also resisted the President on specific parts of his program. Eleven Democratic Representatives were scheduled to return to chairmanships which they held two years earlier in the 82nd Congress, and the remaining eight had never before chaired a committee.

Nine of the new chairmen would be from the South, while four would be from the Border states, three from the East, two from the Midwest and one from the Pacific Coast. In the present Congress, 14 Republican chairmen had been from the Midwest and five from the East.

It provides a list of the new chairmen of the 19 House committees, their ages, their percentage of active support of the President, the Republican they would replace, and whether the new chairman had previously served as chair in a prior Congress.

Robert C. Ruark takes issue with Edna Woolman Chase, who had previously been editor of Vogue, for her longstanding infliction of pain and discomfort regarding men's fashions. She had recently appeared at a celebration, at which she criticized men's attire, claiming that a man could go to the races dressed in the same manner as in 1910 without exciting comment, while a woman dressed of the same period would likely be stoned.

He agrees, says that in 1910, women dressed about as stupidly as they did at present and that the only thing which saved them from being burned as witches was the fact that they copied each other, as at present.

He indicates that Mrs. Chase had also criticized shapes of men, suggesting that they wear girdles, which Mr. Ruark flatly rejects.

He says that he nevertheless loved her, but that she had fibbed when she said that women never objected to new fashions on the ground that they were uncomfortable, only regarding whether they flattered them. Mr. Ruark says that he had seen female clothing of the 1890's and the 1920's, through the New Look and the Old Look, plus the current caricatures of Christian Dior, concludes that any woman would wear anything another woman wore, "including tar, feathers, and Army shoes, if you say it's chic."

Larry Hirsch, writing in the Florida Times-Union, indicates that it was not news when Howard Mitchell, conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, said recently that the nation's major orchestras were facing bankruptcy, as all of the arts had been in financial trouble since the old European patronage system had ended. Most artists seemed resigned to the situation, and so it had been startling when G. P. Putnam & Sons of New York, a reputable publisher of books, had printed an advertisement for Prisoner in Paradise, a new novel by Garet Rogers, which contained a guarantee that it would "chill and fascinate any adult reader" or they would replace it with any current book of equivalent price.

He indicates that the real artist created for his or her own satisfaction, hoping that others would pay money to share the same feeling. He finds that it would have been ridiculous, for example, for Shakespeare to have offered a free ticket to a play by Kit Marlowe to any patron who did not enjoy Hamlet. It would be equally strange if the Jacksonville Symphony guaranteed its audience thrills, failing which, they could attend another concert.

The book publishing business was having hard times in the hardback trade, with production costs up and readership down, as verified by statistics. But he wonders whether a guarantee would cure the problem. A book was not a material thing, any more than was a poem or painting or piece of music. One did something to a material object from which the owner could predict a particular and expected result, as intended by the manufacturer, but a work of art did things to the reader, listener or viewer, and there were no hard and fast specifications for anticipated reaction by the human.

He wonders how Putnam planned to gauge, therefore, the chill and fascination of the novel and what proof the unchilled and unfascinated reader would be required to submit to obtain a book of equivalent price. "The arts today are, forsooth, prisoners in a paradise of paradox, where many great talents go unrewarded, but the written guarantee is scarcely the open sesame to something better."

You can decide for yourself, and if the book does not provide the promised chills and fascination, return it for a book of the same price, but only one on the publisher's current list of 1954. It might, after all, actually be chillingly and fascinatingly timely, predictive of Dr. Trump of 2020.

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