The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 7, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, at his press conference this date, said that he was unalterably opposed to allowing Communist China admission to membership in the U.N. under present conditions, but indicated that he was not ready to say that the country should withdraw from the body if Communist China were admitted, thus taking issue with Senate Majority Leader William Knowland and other members of Congress who were advocating that result in the event of the contingency occurring. The President said that prospects were good that Congress would enact a legislative record based on his proposals, and that he would be glad to go before the public and praise Congress for its work during the session if the record proved as good as he expected. He was pleased with the House passage of the flexible price supports as part of the farm bill, though it had been based on a compromise structure. The President also said that a strike at the Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paducah, Ky., atomic plants would be a serious thing and would put the U.S. in an embarrassing position, but expressed the hope that the strikers would return to work as a result of his emergency action the previous night in setting up a fact-finding board.

At Oak Ridge and Paducah, CIO-organized workers who helped to produce the nation's entire supply of fissionable U-235 for atomic weapons had gone on strike this date, ignoring the possibility of an injunction under Taft-Hartley and the President's order for a fact-finding board to investigate the wage dispute. About 4,500 production and maintenance workers were directly affected by the strike. The company which operated the plants for the Atomic Energy Commission, Carbide & Carbon Chemicals, ordered supervisory personnel to continue operating the plants. Officials said that the chemical process for production was so complex that it might take a year to get the plants back online were they stopped. It was the first such strike in the nation's history by workers helping to produce U-235. A rival AFL union, which was the bargaining agent for 4,500 employees at two other atomic plants, had struck for two days a year earlier. A CIO official said that the strike appeared to be completely effective thus far at the Oak Ridge plant.

In Paris, Premier Pierre Mendes-France said this date that he would ask the National Assembly to approve of the sending of draftees to reinforce French forces in Indo-China should the Geneva peace conference negotiations end in failure, that otherwise there would be no way of assuring the safety of the existing troops. He said that he would be leaving soon to take personal charge of the French delegation at Geneva, having assumed the duties of the Foreign Minister.

In Kansas City, Kans., an Air Force jet crashed this date just outside the downtown area and an unofficial report said that four persons had been killed, including the pilot and at least three civilians on the ground. Others, including three children, remained missing.

In Cleveland, O., five minutes prior to takeoff of an American Airlines DC-6, a 280-pound, 15-year old boy, wearing a leather jacket and denim trousers, lumbered up the loading ramp and into the cockpit, waved a broken, unloaded revolver at the pilot and ordered him to "fly to Mexico or be shot". The pilot was able to distract the boy through his copilot by getting the boy to operate some switches on the ceiling panel, at which point the pilot grabbed a pistol from his flight bag and fired twice at the youth, killing him. The pilot later said: "What the hell could a guy do? I had a maniac on my plane. We had women and children..." At first, he had thought it was a joke and had inquired of the flight engineer and copilot if they knew who the boy was, to which the boy had responded that it was none of their "damn business". Most of the 53 passengers aboard the flight which had originated in New York did not realize what had occurred until the boy was removed from the cockpit. The plane departed about an hour late. The boy's 12-year old brother had stood near the ramp while his older brother boarded the plane, but had decided not to accompany him and told him he would hitchhike to join him later. The two had planned to go to Montana and obtain jobs as cowboys, the boys' mother having said that the attempted hijacker had liked Western movies and read about the West in magazines, believed that in Montana, he would be treated as a man, despite the fact that his mother informed him that it would not be like the movies. His gun had been provided to his father, a truck driver, some seven years earlier and his mother said she had not seen it for about two years and thought it had been thrown away. His mother said that the boy had worried about their living conditions for the previous three years and wanted to earn money so that they could buy a house. She said that he had been her favorite child and wondered why they had to shoot a kid.

In Miami, Fla., the seven-year old daughter of a Baltimore attorney had been kidnaped from the home of her grandparents this date and brutally murdered. Police had found the nude and battered body of the little girl in a wooded area on the shore of Biscayne Bay. The medical examiner for the sheriff's office said that the child had been raped and had been beaten on the head with a heavy instrument, apparently having put up a fight for her life before she was finally strangled. There had been no attempt made to collect a ransom. The parents were of moderate income and there was no reason to believe that they would have been the target of a ransom kidnaping. Nor did the mother believe that it was in any way politically motivated by the fact that her husband had recently been defeated in a campaign for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates. The child had been missing for about five hours, having been discovered missing at 1:10 a.m., when her grandmother was awakened by the sound of a car roaring away from the home, a car discovered about four hours later by police during a routine patrol, prompting the police then to start searching the area, discovering the child's body about an hour later in a clump of bushes about a block from where the car had been found. The FBI ordered a statewide search for the kidnaper.

Evangelist Billy Graham expected to arrive in Charlotte the following afternoon for a visit with his parents, who resided in Charlotte, before he and his wife and children would return to their home in Montreat for a few days of rest following their return from Britain and Western Europe, where Rev. Graham had spent five months on a speaking tour, making about 300 appearances before large audiences, totaling an estimated two million people. Upon arrival in Washington the previous day, he said that he felt a "spiritual reawakening in Europe" which might save the world from a third world war, and that it was a "golden hour for the church". He found that the people had a "hunger" for God and that the nearer to the Iron Curtain they lived, the less fear they had of the Russians and the greater was their spiritual hunger.

Dick Young of The News tells of high water bills in Charlotte resulting from the City Council increasing rates in July, as well as because of people watering lawns during the prolonged drought of several weeks. He provides some examples of the substantially higher rates which some consumers were reporting.

In Indianapolis, a woman called the garage and complained that her car would not run, saying that the gearshift lever just flopped around. An examination below showed that someone had stolen her transmission and driveshaft assembly.

In Knoxville, Tenn., Ruth Deerman of El Paso, Tex., was declared the winner of the eighth annual Powder Puff Derby this date, originating in Long Beach, Calif. Frances Bera, the previous year's winner, registered the second fastest time. The winner received $800 and the runner-up, $500. After overhead, they probably received less than the winner of the Jumbo Jackpot, with a potential prize of $400. What's the point? Stay at home and win the big dollars.

Betty Boyer, in her weekly "Grocery News" column on page 10-A, urges readers, among other things, to let their children enter the "Big Orange" contest. Our winning entry is: "Suncrest Orange is best because it is better tasting than Crest, and you can afford to sip it in a Ford because it costs less."

On the editorial page, "Prospects Brighten for Turnpike" relates that there were encouraging signs that the multi-million dollar toll highway spanning North Carolina and southwest Virginia might become a reality if the Old Dominion Turnpike Authority acted on the planned 75-mile segment in Virginia, in which case North Carolina would likely not be far behind on its 200-mile segment, the problems in the past having been Virginia's plodding in undertaking the project.

The new four-lane toll road would be of vital importance to North Carolinians because it would provide market-hungry North Carolina industry with a quick outlet to the Midwest, with West Virginia already having an 88-mile turnpike under construction between Charleston and Princeton, and Virginia planning to begin its link near Bluefield down to the North Carolina line near Mount Airy. The plan was for it to extend almost due south, leaving North Carolina near Charlotte—that which ultimately became I-77, without tolls.

It indicates that the state, the South and the nation had urgent highway needs which toll roads alone would not solve, that the country needed a vastly improved free highway system, as well as long, straight turnpikes, facts, it urges, which had to be kept in mind if the country was to make real progress toward cutting down congestion in the automobile age.

"Keep Congressional Eye on the CIA" indicates that General Mark Clark would head a Hoover Commission task force charged with investigating the "structure and administration" of the CIA and "other kindred foreign intelligence activities". General Clark, who presently headed The Citadel in Charleston, was an experienced military executive who had first-hand experience in intelligence work and could be expected to do a good job.

The task force dealt primarily with saving money by seeking ways to make an agency more efficient, and only incidentally would deal with policy matters. The fact that the CIA operated in secret prevented the public and Congress from having knowledge of its activities, and it was no reflection, it offers, on CIA director Allen Dulles to suggest that such power had possibilities which were sinister and dangerous in a democracy. Other Government agencies, such as the Atomic Energy Commission and the defense establishment, dealt in secrets but were held accountable by Congressional committees.

It urges that a joint committee on central intelligence could, as Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana had suggested, perform a similar function and favors creation of such a committee, which it finds at least as urgent as the task force investigation of the CIA.

"Knowledge Is Virtue, But…" tells of an internationalist who had invented "Eurovision", a system which broadcast programs across international borders to Britain, France, Italy, Switzerland, West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark. Some 80 wireless relay stations spaced along a 4,000-mile network across Western Europe performed the task.

It suggests that Eurovision might succeed where diplomats and professional peacemakers had failed, especially if the viewers subscribed to the Socratic notion that "knowledge is virtue". It suggests that when Europeans learned to understand one another, they might tolerate one another. In the previous four weeks, viewers of television in Britain and on the Continent had seen a television interview with Pope Pius XII in Rome, an international soccer match in Switzerland, a visit to famed fashion shows in Paris and a parade by the Royal Horse Guards in London.

It wonders how an Italian, however, could stand a Danish soap opera or how a Dutchman could sit through two hours of English cricket or the West Germans could appreciate a televised visit to the French National Assembly, each of which, it suggests, should be retained for home consumption only.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "No Real Problem, Suh", indicates that Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield was either making political speeches or complaining about the deficit of the Post Office Department, the piece not blaming him for the latter objection, as it sees no reason why the Government could not operate the mail service profitably, as the Confederacy had done, as explained recently in the Washington Post by Frank Van der Linden, the facts of which the piece repeats. In 1863, the Confederate Postmaster General reported a profit of $675,000, though the mail moved slowly and uncertainly.

It suggests that the Confederacy had the solution to many things, recalling the story of the two vintage colonels rocking on the veranda while discussing world disarmament, with one saying: "Disarmament is no real problem, suh. Why, suh, the Confederacy has disarmed!"

Drew Pearson provides the story behind the secret talks of Chinese Premier and Foreign Minister Chou En-lai with Indian Prime Minister Nehru and with Burmese Prime Minister U Nu, indicating that it had come about after Chinese Communists had provided hints in advance that Chou would like to visit, seeking an invitation. The chief aim of the visit had been to arrange a nonaggression pact with India and Burma before the West could obtain a Southeast Asian defense pact. The U.S. Embassy reported that Prime Minister Nehru had been charmed by Chou's talk about peace. Mr. Pearson notes that one of the most tragic mistakes of the Eisenhower Administration in the Far East had been the removal of Chester Bowles as Ambassador to India on the eve of some of the most important discussions the U.S. had ever had with that country. Mr. Bowles had been an intimate friend of Nehru and the most popular Ambassador the U.S. had ever sent to India. His replacement, George Allen, had been doing an excellent job in Yugoslavia, but it took a different set of tactics to deal with Yugoslavian dictator Tito from that regarding the philosopher and mystic, Nehru.

Senator Edward Thye of Minnesota had been pressuring the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the big flour and soap companies, including one of his major supporters, General Mills of Minneapolis. Some of the flour and soap companies had been promoting each other's products by cross-couponing, with a box of soap, for instance, containing a coupon for a bag of flour. The results had been that the smaller producers of soap and flour were being squeezed out of business by the larger companies working with one another. Senator Thye, as chairman of the Small Business Committee, was planning to demand an FTC investigation when his staff pointed out that General Mills was one of the worst offenders at the practice, but the Senator, nevertheless, refused to pull punches and demanded the FTC investigation anyway.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Charles Bohlen had warned the Pentagon that the Russian high command might order destroyers to escort all Soviet tankers and merchantmen in Far East waters, as the Russians were extremely upset about the Chinese Nationalist warships having intercepted and seized one of its best tankers, and probably would retaliate by daring the Nationalists to take on Russian destroyers. The Russians had been aware that the U.S. had a Naval seaplane circling over the Russian tanker most of the time before it had been seized by the Chinese. The plane had been in contact with the Nationalists, tipping them off as to the location of the tanker. The U.S. did not have one of its own warships involved.

The Federal Power Commission was anxious to please the private power companies and so had eliminated ten hours of testimony by its former chairman, Leland Olds, when he opposed the Idaho Power Company's plan for damming the Snake River. Mr. Olds had testified that the Government should construct a high dam at Hell's Canyon, which would be cheaper for the taxpayers and provide cheaper power rates for consumers in Idaho and Oregon. But after his testimony was stricken, all that remained was his name and address. It was another example of why the FPC now had the worst reputation in Washington for selling out to private interests. Mr. Pearson notes that the electric power lobby spent more money in Washington than any other lobbying group to influence Congress and the executive branch, a total of $500,000 per year.

A story going around the Capitol cloakrooms was that Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov had asked Premier Georgi Malenkov what he thought of Senator McCarthy, to which Mr. Malenkov had supposedly replied that he did not think much of his aim but liked his methods.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that in the current "melancholy session" of Congress, some reputations had been ruined, others severely damaged and only one actually made, that of Senator Lyndon Johnson, the Minority Leader. They tell of the "big, tough, ambitious, long-headed, energetic and enormously hard-working" Senator having been saluted by Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia as "the best leader" he had ever seen in the Senate.

By Senator Johnson's work, he illustrated the bad fortune of the President with his own party, as it had been Senator Johnson, in combination with House Minority Leader Sam Rayburn, who had saved the President on several occasions from defeat at the hands of Republicans. In one instance, House Republicans had gutted the cheap housing program for lower income groups and several Senate Republicans were prepared to defy the leadership and go along with the Republican majority in the House, until Senator Johnson organized the Democrats to give the President a program similar to that which he had sought. On the issue of foreign trade, Congressman Dan Reed, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, had been planning to allow the Reciprocal Trade Act to die in committee on the basis that Ways & Means had no time to deal with it. Senator Johnson then got Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee to offer a trade program which included a three-year extension of reciprocal trade as an amendment to the tax bill, which would have prolonged debate on the latter bill, and so hastily, the House passed a one-year extension. Had the President rallied the Republicans in the Senate, they, in addition to the Democrats behind Senator Johnson, would have been able to obtain a bill which the President had wanted.

The Alsops find that the intervention by Senator Johnson was partly from his convictions, and partly from politics. But when Mr. Rayburn, speaking for Senator Johnson as well as himself, had gone to the President some months earlier, saying that if there were hard and unpopular things to be done in the areas of defense and foreign policy, the President could count on Democratic support, that had not been politics. Senator Johnson and Congressman Rayburn were symbols of the opportunity which the President had thus far neglected, to work with a large majority of moderate members of Congress in both political parties and leave the anti-Eisenhower Republicans "yelling and withering somewhere out in right field." They suggest that it might yet occur in the ensuing session if the President's discontent with Republicans continued.

The Alsops observe that Congressional leadership required knowledge of everything from the beer joints which were patronized by Senators who liked beer to the particular knowledge of Senatorial human nature, and Senator Johnson's skill in that regard had been demonstrated during the session, with his adept ability to induce the most conservative Southerners to vote solidly with the liberal Northern Democrats to send proposed amendments to Taft-Hartley back to committee having been one of the most deft maneuvers in Senate history. The unanimous Democratic vote on those amendments revealed another aspect of the Senator's success, his ability to unite the two wings of his party so that Senator Walter George of Georgia was now busily endorsing Senator Hubert Humphrey for re-election in Minnesota.

The Senator's astuteness in leaving to the Republicans the issue of Senator McCarthy had been shown wise, despite being criticized by Northern Democrats as being unprincipled.

The Alsops indicate that the Senator was no knight in shining armor but rather an able, practical politician who did not believe in demagoguery and served his party's interests as well as those of the country. His goal was to have a moderate and united Democratic Party, neither Dixiecrat nor New Deal in nature, which the Alsops regard as a worthy goal in times when the Congress had virtually abandoned legislating and instead devoted its time to investigating, making the emergence of a legislative leader in the traditional pattern of the country an event about which to cheer, even if he came from among the Democrats instead of from among the Republicans.

Time  tells of the premiere of a movie two weeks earlier in the rathskeller of Milwaukee's Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co., titled "The Secret of Selling the Negro", a movie made by Chicago's Johnson Publishing Co., publishers of Ebony, Jet, Tan, Copper, and Hue. The film would be shown to businessmen across the country to drive home the point that the market among blacks was huge and profitable.

In support of that aim, Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks had quoted figures from the Census Bureau showing that the total income of the black population had quadrupled since 1940, with median income increasing even faster, non-white median income having risen almost four times, from $489 per year in 1939 to $1,943 in 1951, while white median income had increased less than three times, from $1,325 in 1939 to $3,673 in 1951. The market among blacks was estimated to be 15 billion dollars per year.

The result was that businessmen across the country were now paying increasing attention to the long-ignored market within the black population, especially in the South, where two-thirds of the 15 million blacks in the country lived.

The Birmingham News had recently made a survey showing that the city's 130,000 blacks, constituting 40 percent of the overall population of that city, had an average family income of $1,849 per year and were regular buyers of consumer products. To help tap the market, some companies had begun employing black salesmen, with good results.

About 374 radio stations in the country presently broadcast special programs to sell to blacks, some employing black disc jockeys to discuss black social life and play records which black fans requested, mostly consisting of jazz, spirituals and blues. Any mention of race, however, was considered taboo as alienating listeners.

Magazine advertisements were the same in black magazines as in any other slick magazines, except that the models were usually black. Market surveys showed that black customers responded most favorably to advertising which emphasized quality and prestige, with a long history of exploitation making blacks wary of cheap, shoddy goods, causing black buyers more likely to spend more of their money on high-price goods than white consumers, in part because such purchases provided prestige among their friends. One tobacco company had aimed an ad campaign at the market among blacks and had featured a brand costing a dime, designed to appeal to lower income blacks, causing the campaign to flop.

The economic rise of the black population had helped break down segregation barriers and to eliminate the stereotype that black customers were poor credit risks. Blacks still found it hard to obtain credit in many stores, but the Credit Bureau of Greater New York made no distinction between races and the National Association of Real Estate Boards had indicated that blacks maintained house payments faithfully. Dallas insurance companies, for the first time, had started to buy up mortgages in a development of new homes built for and purchased by blacks. In New York City and Chicago, department store sales clerks treated black shoppers the same as whites, and some Southern stores were beginning to instruct their clerks to address blacks as "Mr." and "Mrs.", with one Birmingham store having abandoned the practice of tagging charge plates with the label "col". In Dallas, black women were now permitted to try on hats and dresses.

Retailers had discovered that black shoppers did not want special treatment and the trend toward equality of purchasing power had enabled blacks to find equality at the sales counter, with most retailers believing that discrimination would gradually disappear in Southern stores, from the legal pressure against segregation and the economic rise of the South generally, such that eventually, the market among the black population would merge into and become indistinguishable from the overall market.

A letter writer from Belmont indicates that he had read the letters column with a feeling of pity for readers expressing views on the segregation issue, recommends a good article in the May 20 New York Times Magazine, on how one community had reduced racial tensions.

A letter from "Bib Lee O'Phile" takes issue with letter writers who had suggested that the Bible supported racial integration, citing alternative translations which suggested other meaning to be gleaned from the words than reference to racial composition. "Micegenationists to see their dream in action, should read Albert Hicks' 'Blood in the Streets' and contemplate 20,000 poor, unarmed Negroes cut down by mixed-breed 'soldiers' under a mixed-breed dictator who was soon after entertained in the White House."

You must have been drinking. If you intended your letter as parody, it misses the mark, as one cannot tell which group of letter writers you intend to satirize, those favoring integration or those favoring continued segegation, or whether cynically intending mock at both.

A letter writer from Myrtle Beach, S.C., indicates that few blacks had embraced the Communist movement, despite being treated more ruthlessly than any other group except the American Indian. He offers that, given time, Southerners would work out segregation themselves without hard feelings, but if pushed, they would rebel. He finds that racial segregation was not for the radical reformer but rather for the "sensible minded", favors getting together and running out the radicals.

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