The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 26, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Geneva, at the portion of the peace conference regarding Indo-China, a source disclosed that a four-point British plan proposed the previous day, to begin immediately military discussions between rival military commands on how to end the war, had failed to win approval from all of the non-Communist delegations, with Laos and Cambodia objecting on the basis that the plan might lead to partition of their countries, two of the Associated States of Indo-China, along with Viet Nam. The conference was temporarily adjourned until the next day to provide time to develop a new approach. The Vietminh lead delegate, Pham Van Dong, had put forward a proposal the previous day which had emphasized earlier rejected Communist claims on parts of Laos and Cambodia, those claims being regarded by the West as based on "phantom regimes".

In Paris, French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault told the French Cabinet that the conference would take a decisive turn within the ensuing eight to ten days or so, M. Bidault planning to return to Geneva this night after a brief trip home.

In the 21st day of the hearings in the dispute between the Army and Senator McCarthy before the Senate Investigations subcommittee, Army Captain Joseph Miller, company commander of Private G. David Schine during his basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey, testified that the Private had taken a leave on New Year's Day in violation of instructions but was allowed to remain at home after usual subcommittee chief counsel, Roy Cohn, had telephoned the Fort and said the Private would be engaged in subcommittee work for the entire weekend. The Captain said that he had scheduled the Private for guard duty on New Year's Eve and had specifically instructed him that he was not to leave the post without the Captain's authority, and that because he had a Christmas pass, he would not be entitled to a pass for New Year's Day. Private Schine had been reported AWOL at the time but no disciplinary action was taken against him and his service record did not show the infraction. The Captain said that he never gave the Private any preferential treatment and that neither Senator McCarthy nor any of his aides had ever asked him to do so. He had earlier testified that Private Schine had once tried to offer him a trip to Florida shortly after his arrival at Fort Dix the previous fall but that the Captain had warned him that an officer could not accept favors from a trainee. He also testified that the Private had told him on the prior December 14 that he was in the service "to remake the American military establishment along modern lines", after the Captain discovered that the Private had been asking a sergeant in charge of the firing range to move him up ahead of schedule so that he could finish the day's training earlier, causing the Captain to instruct him not to ask for special favors and direct the sergeant not to grant any. The Captain stated that he was angry at the time and that Private Schine had put his hand on his shoulder and he had pushed it away. He said that the Private had asked him to lower his voice as they were discussing the matter and that he would like to avoid such incidents in the future by remaking the military along modern lines. At one point during the Captain's testimony, Senator McCarthy announced that he was leaving the hearing until the "drivel" was over, having objected to the testimony as irrelevant to the issue of whether he and his aides had pressured the Army to provide preferential treatment for the Private, who had worked as an unpaid aide of the Senate subcommittee normally chaired by Senator McCarthy. The Senator protested that the Captain's testimony was motivated by "personal animosity" against Private Schine. After walking out, the Senator returned to the hearing within about 20 minutes while the Captain was still testifying. It was probably just an excuse to tipple a little bit.

During the questioning, Senator Stuart Symington asked the Captain whether he knew that the subcommittee had employed "former Communists" on its staff, to which he said he did not, prompting Senator McCarthy to state that Senator Symington raised his voice only to defend Communism.

The transcript of the afternoon session is not online.

The page carries a portion of the colloquy the previous day between Senator McCarthy and Maj. General Cornelius Ryan of the Army regarding the charts of the leaves of Private Schine, versus the average leaves of other inductees.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell this date announced the arrest of 11 leaders of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico on charges of seditious conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. Government. Those arrested in three cities included Mrs. Oscar Collazo, whose husband had taken part in the attempted assassination of former President Truman on November 1, 1950, and a brother of Dolores Lebron, one of the four Puerto Rican Nationalists who had participated in the shooting of five members of the House of Representatives the prior March 1. The Attorney General placed detainers against six other members of the Nationalist Party, including the four held in jail on charges of wounding the five members of Congress, each of whom had since fully recovered. The arrests came after a lengthy FBI investigation into Nationalist Party activity, extending back to 1936.

In Quonset Point, R.I., two explosions and a fire had killed about 100 Navy men and injured 125 others aboard an Essex-class aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Bennington, this date as it cruised along the Eastern coastline en route from Norfolk to its home base at Newport. There was no immediate explanation for the explosions, but one report had said that high octane gas had been involved. The carrier had seen action in World War II. It was thought to be one of the worst Naval peacetime disasters in U.S. history. In 1952, there were 178 men missing or killed in a mid-Atlantic collision between the destroyer U.S.S. Hobson and the carrier U.S.S. Wasp.

In Indianapolis, rival candidates for the presidency of the International Typographical Union held leads in their respective unofficial tabulations of returns this date, with president Woodruff Randolph leading by 255 votes among 669 locals, against George Bante, leading by about 2,500 votes among 463 locals.

In Albany, N.Y., the struggle for control of the 2.5 billion dollar New York Central Railroad system, the second largest in the country, began this date with both sides claiming victory. Robert Young, leader of the forces seeking to oust the present management and board of directors, arrived in Albany aboard the first section of a special train which also carried approximately 1,000 stockholders from New York City, telling reporters that he was certain of victory. William White, president of the Railroad and leader of the fight to keep it under present management, had been in the first section of the same train but had deboarded at Poughkeepsie and boarded the second section so that he could mingle with the stockholders in both sections.

In Ironton, O., a woman who was thought by many local residents of the town to be a business genius for having started as a waitress and built a business empire in the town and in nearby Ashland, Ky., had been arrested on a charge of embezzling $114,000 from the bank of which she had been president, and was awaiting further action by a Federal grand jury. She was one of the leading citizens of the area, had owned and operated a theater chain and owned other real estate, and published a newspaper, in addition to heading the bank, from which she had resigned after bank examiners said that she had been embezzling money from it since the prior January.

In Charlotte, a traffic captain of the Police Department called a halt to forfeiture of eight-dollar bonds on charges of failure to yield the right-of-way and following too closely, after a conference with local court officials, in which it was determined that all persons charged on those violations would have to appear in court in compliance with State law, which had raised the bonds on those offenses to $50.

In Detroit, a man rushed his wife to the hospital maternity center, with one hand on his wife's arm and the other clutching an overnight bag, walking through the center's glass door and shattering it, causing him to have to be treated for cuts while awaiting the arrival of their child.

Betty Boyer, in her weekly "Grocery News" column, relates of baby food which 9 out of 10 doctors recommend, extra health protection and whiter linens, too, with the finest product available, a margarine which will please the entire family, and old time Southern rice flavor with quick cooking rice. You can mix them all up and have a nice baby food rice casserole, with nice clean napkins on the side. You may also have your margarined blueberry scones.

A photograph of a teacher from Connecticut shows an egg problem which he had taken two and a half months to solve in 1897 as part of his qualification test for his first teaching job, which paid $7.25 per week at the Quasset School in Woodstock, Conn., built in 1748 and dedicated during the week as a shrine. You thus have the summer to solve the problem. Get about it.

On the editorial page, "All Talk and No Action" asks why there had been all talk and no action regarding teacher certification in the state, referring to a special article written for The News, printed on the page this date, by Edward Kidder Graham, chancellor of Woman's College at Greensboro, who had answered the question by indicating that the State Board of Education was ultimately responsible for all matters of policy in public education and that nothing would occur until the Board did something.

It recalls that Dr. Graham had started a statewide debate on certification with an address to the editorial writers of the state at Chapel Hill, having posited that rigid certification, with growing control of total education of the potential teacher, was inhibiting talented young people from entering the profession of teaching. It finds that his thesis had been challenged but not disproved. The question was whether education of teachers would be controlled by the colleges and universities or by the State Board, taking its advice from the State Department of Public Instruction, who were professional educators not so interested in the liberal education of teachers as in pyramiding one professional requirement on top of another.

It urges that it was time for the State Board, acting independently of its professional advisers, to take a new look at the certification requirements.

"Of the Court and Four Men" indicates that the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, handed down May 17, had, in an unexpected way, cast in a new light several personalities whose careers had involved them in the segregation issue. Frank Porter Graham, former UNC president and North Carolina Senator, had made repeated entreaties against Federal compulsion and in favor of gradualism through religion and education, which had been distorted, misinterpreted and turned against him viciously in the 1950 Senatorial primary by the supporters of the late Willis Smith, who eventually won the runoff primary. It finds that Mr. Graham had now emerged as far more representative of the New South than "the extremists on either side."

Thurgood Marshall, "the brilliant chief attorney" for the NAACP, had accomplished one of the most tremendous victories of any American attorney in the Brown case, and it finds that in the judgment of history, he would stand beside George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington, possibly to be regarded as exceeding them. Of course, Mr. Marshall would go on to be appointed in 1961 by President Kennedy to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and then by President Johnson as Solicitor General in 1965 and as a Justice of the Supreme Court in 1967, on which he served until his retirement in 1991.

Retired U.S. District Court Judge J. Waties Waring had issued a dissent in the Clarendon County, S.C., case, Briggs v. Elliott, subsumed under Brown, which had largely inspired the unanimous opinion in the latter case. Judge Waring, who had left South Carolina and "the animosities he engendered there", must have felt, it suggests, a measure of satisfaction regarding the decision which vindicated his legal reasoning even if it failed to restore him to the respect of his fellow South Carolinians.

The majority opinion of the special three-judge panel in Briggs, written by Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John J. Parker of Charlotte, had, in the opinion of the editorial, rung "with authority as it traced the long history of the 'separate but equal' doctrine and insisted that the court should stick to the interpretation of the law and that judges should not read into the law their own ideas of economics and sociology." His stature had grown among millions of Americans who believed, as he did, that if the law was bad or unwise, it should be left to the legislatures and not the courts to change it.

That latter is one of the dumber things we have ever read in the column. Actually, all Judge Parker's opinion had done was to follow the precedent of Sweatt v. Painter and other cases in that lineage, finding that the schools in question were not substantially equal and thus infringed the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, but that the Court was not justified, as a District Court, in overturning Supreme Court precedent to find that segregation, per se, was unconstitutional, as also sought by the plaintiffs, leaving that question for the Supreme Court to decide. There was nothing extraordinary in that position. The Court merely followed established Supreme Court precedent, reaffirmed as recently as a year earlier.

To the contrary, it is the very province of the courts to correct injustices under the law, where the legislature has failed to do its job, not by rewriting the law, but through interpretation of the laws as written vis-à-vis the supreme law of the land, the Constitution of the United States, to determine whether or not a particular statute or a particular practice arising under statute infringes a part of the Constitution. That is all the Supreme Court did in Brown. It was neither legislating, nor engaging in sociology or economics, though certainly those latter fields cannot be eliminated as irrelevant when dealing with something as delicate and fundamental as equal educational opportunity for all and the adverse impact on large numbers of citizens by a particular practice occurring by law in the public schools, in derogation of a fundamental liberty interest, in this case, the right to equal protection under the law as infringed by the states practicing segregation of the public schools. The fact that Brown overturned a prior Supreme Court precedent regarding the separate-but-equal doctrine, was neither novel nor acting as a super-legislature. It was simply according modern principles of fairness and justice to eliminate from the law an outmoded concept, based on Nineteenth Century thinking a mere 31 years after the end of the Civil War. Even the lone dissent of Justice John Harlan in Plessy v. Ferguson stated the idea that there was no doubt of the inferiority of the black race, a concept which had been slowly eroded in the thinking of the average American by 1954, even if many who resisted the Twentieth Century still clung to the notion, born of rationale for the slavery past of the nation to assuage the old guilt complex regarding slavery so as to be able to justify it before St. Peter at the Gate. Indeed, had the question arisen as to whether the South as a region was inferior in terms of its education and economic well-being, when juxtaposed to the rest of the nation, Southerners generally could have just as easily been viewed as an "inferior race" of people in 1896.

Brown was only a natural progression from Sweatt in 1950 and the lineage of cases from Gaines in 1937, hoping to end the case-by-case relitigation of the same issue repeatedly as to whether particular schools and school systems were substantially equal, while unfortunately opening up, however innocently, in the 1955 implementing decision, a Pandora's box of litigation lasting into the early 1970's regarding what the phrase "with all deliberate speed" in that latter decision required in desegregating school systems and the process by which desegregation was to be accomplished when posed against the neighborhood school within the segregated neighborhood, thus entailing de facto segregation and not separation accomplished by law, whether "freedom of choice" selection of schools was a sufficient method to withstand constitutional scrutiny or whether busing plans were required and if so, to what extent, whether on a proportional basis to the minority constituency of the population of the community or some other basis—all such "confusion" being by design to delay and complicate as much and for as long as possible the inevitable integration in the places where it became a subject of controversy with the voters—as in staid old Charlotte, the "first in freedom".

"Correction" indicates that the littlest member of the writer's family, whose discovery of the baby thrush had led to the editorial the prior Monday, titled "The Battle of the Species", had two criticisms of the editorial when it was read to him, that it did not carry his name, which was David, as little Henry up the street would not know who had found the bird, and that it was not a brown thrush, but rather a wood thrush, as anyone ought to know.

"Billy Graham—'Mr. Evangelism'" indicates that after Billy Graham had visited Prime Minister Winston Churchill the previous day at the request of the Prime Minister, the young evangelist had said that he thought he was "shaking hands with Mr. History". The Prime Minister's reaction had not been reported, but it comments that he might have said that he was shaking the hand of "Mr. Evangelism". The evangelist, raised in Charlotte, had reached and moved an audience greater than that reached by any other evangelist, past or present. His "London Crusade" had been quite successful, though the initial reaction of many Britons had been hostile and that of the London press, skeptical. But at the end of it, most of the earlier critics were now praising the effort, and it had resulted in the greatest spiritual revival England had known in a long while.

It thinks that it was time that it was recognized in his hometown that he had succeeded as no other had "in arousing the phlegmatic without becoming a fanatic".

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Omissions of Nostalgia", tells of it being the time of year when nostalgia recalled going barefoot, but cautions against letting that nostalgic experience get completely out of line with what had actually occurred. There had been the first few days of "cautious, toilsome and painful walking over pebbles and rough ground", sharp rocks, stumped toes and stone-bruises, plus glass and nails to slow down or even halt play. Moreover, one had to wash one's feet nightly, and putting on shoes on Sunday or when the weather turned cool again was made the more uncomfortable.

It concludes that going barefoot was a fine thing to look back on, but was not so nostalgic as older people made it out to be.

Dr. Edward Kidder Graham, chancellor of Woman's College of UNC at Greensboro, as referenced in the above editorial, tells of having reread the series in The News by Lucien Agniel regarding teacher education, with focus on certification and the shortage of teachers, especially elementary school teachers. He found the series quite good and had gleaned from it that the central issue was no longer educational theory but control over certification, where the controversy was centered. He indicates that for years, the state of North Carolina had been confronted with the problem of teacher education and more recently, dramatic manifestoes had caused sharp controversy across the nation. Meanwhile, the press, the public and parents wanted to know why it was impossible to get action.

In North Carolina, responsibility for making the decisions was vested under state law in the State Board of Education, which had a membership of 13 persons, determined by the State Constitution. He lists the current members of the Board, the chairman of which was Lt. Governor Luther Hodges.

He finds that the problem inhibiting progress was that there were two points of view, the professional educators supporting certification practices and those outside professional education who were critical of present certification practices, the two sides carping at one another. He finds that what was urgently required was a decision on basic issues made from a judicial, rather than a representative, viewpoint. The Board was in a judicial role, standing only for the state interests, looking to the State Department of Public Instruction for all professional advice. During the previous few years, the Board had every opportunity to become aware of the public interest in teacher education and the conflicting points of view on it, but had shown no inclination to question present practices.

He concludes that whether the Board was right or wrong, it was the only agency which could do anything about the situation other than talk about it.

Drew Pearson, addressing a letter to his daughter regarding some of the problems of the world, indicates that he was seeking to write something about Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, who had arrived in Washington during the week, but had not been able to get very far. With the Emperor's visit, he could not help but look to Indo-China and wonder whether the country was not headed for another war there, which might affect the life of his grandson, who was presently playing with a long stick, poking at the dog crouched under the desk. He finds the peace machinery of the world gradually breaking down, just as it had broken down when the Emperor of Ethiopia had appealed to the world for help 20 years earlier against the attack by Mussolini, when Ethiopia had been the pawn of England, France and Italy. He finds a parallel with Indo-China, as the pawn between France and the Communists for control of the rice fields and raw materials. Emperor Selassie, recognizing the U.S. as the only power without territorial greed 20 years earlier, had sought U.S. moral strength to protect the independent right of his people to till their fields with wooden plows and to hunt lions with spears instead of Italian bullets. He received theoretical support from the U.S., but not in fact. The U.S. had sought to rally public opinion against the Italian aggression in 1935 and cooperated with the League of Nation to impose an economic boycott against Italy, but did little to enforce that boycott, and even took steps to weaken it. When U.S. oil companies pressured the State Department, the Government agreed that oil should not be subject to the trade embargo, allowing Mussolini to have all of the gasoline needed for his planes, all the diesel oil for his tanks and fuel oil for the Italian Navy, as had the British. Thus, Ethiopia had been conquered and the effort by the League to impose economic sanctions had failed. Then followed six years of World War II.

Now he finds that smaller nations, which had once trusted the U.S., no longer wanted its support or guidance, as the country had been stained with the taint of imperialism. In Indo-China, for instance, the U.S. had become sucked into the position of being the champion of French colonialism, "rotten and decadent". Even though it was clear that the U.S. did not champion imperialism, the world did not know that fact, as the U.S. had never properly clarified its position and so was subject to the Communist propaganda being regularly fed to the poorly informed of the world. By contrast to the defense of Emperor Selassie 20 years earlier, when the world knew that the U.S. was on the side of justice, the defense of Indo-China by the U.S. suggested to the world a role of siding with the imperialist oppressor, inspiring the belief that the U.S. had abandoned its role at its founding as champion of independence. He concludes that the final tragedy was that the U.S. had been letting the world's peace machinery disintegrate in front of everyone.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop, in the second consecutive editorial regarding the age of push-button warfare, indicate that the highest Pentagon authorities were presently considering a new special project, comparable to the Manhattan Project responsible for development of the atomic bomb, in developing guided missile technology to enable intercontinental range. Missiles could now be designed around hydrogen warheads, which, because of their greater explosive power than ordinary fission bombs, needed less pinpoint accuracy to reach their targets and still wreak havoc. That overcame one of the most serious drawbacks to guided missile technology over such long distances as 5,000 miles, as the Alsops had discussed the previous day.

The Soviets had hydrogen bombs and there was little doubt that they were putting more intensive effort than the U.S. into development of guided missiles. The U.S. effort was largely shrouded in official secrecy, but enough was known about it to understand that it was not an all-out effort. Responsibility for it was divided among the services, and the inter-service competition was evident from the Army's effort to promote its anti-aircraft missile, the Nike, which had limited improvement possibilities, while the Navy promoted the Talus and the Air Force, the Bowmark, the latter two holding greater future promise. The American program had never been conducted on the basis of no expenses spared, important in missile technology where large numbers of costly test missiles would inevitably be destroyed. The Pentagon was not discussing the character of the Soviet missile effort, which the Alsops view as a bad sign.

Russia had been one of the earliest centers of missile research, engaging in work on it as early as 1903, with rocket production having proceeded in the 1930's, as contrasted with the U.S. having begun only in 1942. After the war, it was believed that missile development had been reposited under the supervision of now-Premier Georgi Malenkov, as atomic development was given to now-deceased L. P. Beria, former head of the secret police, executed by the Soviets the previous December, following his arrest the prior June on charges of treason against the state, part of the power struggle following the death of Stalin in March, 1953. It was believed that missiles shared highest Soviet priority with the atomic work and building up of conventional Soviet air power, both striking and defensive. The known details of the Soviet effort supported those broad conclusions. The Soviets had gained an important advantage at the end of World War II, when they had captured 160 of the best German missile researchers and almost all of the German research and production facilities.

A letter writer says "poof" to another letter writer from Pinebluff, concluding that she "must be one of those damned yankees", and says "The Stars and Bars Forever" for Bob Cherry, Jr., for his letter of the same date against the Brown decision. This writer thinks that the Supreme Court had taken away states' rights and now was seeking to take away individual rights. He wonders what they were going to take away next.

Perhaps, your pathetic stupidity.

A letter writer says that he had heard people cursing the Brown decision and vowing that they would never follow it, while the state Democratic convention had come out in favor of it, as had the Greensboro School Board. He suggests that perhaps North Carolina would not take steps, as South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas were taking, to abolish their public schools to circumvent the ruling. He suggests that possibly North Carolina would "prefer to have the state school system dictated to by appointees of Roosevelt and Truman and by an Eisenhower Californian who knows nothing of the South's problems." He suggests that the citizens look beyond the schools to how Federal courts would regard race mixing on city playgrounds, at municipal swimming pools, public dances and gatherings, parks, beaches, public conveyances and school social gatherings. He also indicates that blacks, to attend white schools, would seek to buy property and live in white neighborhoods, which would impact adjoining property values. He indicates that in other areas, as in Washington, race mixing would result in whites moving out and leaving completely black facilities behind. He thinks that the two races were not sufficiently conditioned yet to mingle with one another freely, that the South Carolina plan to pay tuition to private schools for the individual child might be the answer. He urges people to let their state representatives and Congressmen know, by letter and the ballot, how each felt.

We feel you're a Kloset Klucker and, perhaps, do not even know it.

A letter from Charlotte Mayor Philip Van Every indicates that on May 18, when the President had visited Charlotte to help observe its Freedom Day, in celebration of the putative signing on May 20, 1775 of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, the city had a great feeling of civic pride in the success of the event, and shares a brief letter of thanks from the President to the people of the city for the "wonderfully hospitable reception" given to him.

We have to wonder why, one day after the Brown decision had been announced, there were not more than three or four black persons evident in the newsreel footage of the crowd gathered at Freedom Park to see the President. Was it the result of disinterest by the black population of the area in the Republican President? Were there at work at the time subtle inhibitory social sanctions to use of the park by black citizens generally, the cold stare, the chilly refusal to accord ordinary sociability in certain settings? We don't know, but it is a curious phenomenon.

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