The Charlotte News

Monday, September 20, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Strasbourg, France, Premier Pierre Mendes-France, speaking before the Council of Europe, made up of the parliament members from the Council's 15 nations, had called this date for a new West European defense pact, which he said could reduce French opposition to West Germany's entrance into NATO, the new organization to have a "degree of supernationality". According to the Premier, it had been partly because the proposed European Defense Community six-nation army, rejected for ratification by the French National Assembly recently, had too much supernationality that it had been defeated. He said that the new organization would be a changed and enlarged version of the Brussels Pact of 1948, and would set top limits to the armies and armaments to be held by each member country, with any discrimination based only on a "geographic and strategic basis".

In Washington, Senate parliamentarian Charles Watkins had upheld the validity of an Elections subcommittee which had issued a report in January, 1953, critical of Senator McCarthy's financial transactions, related to one of the accusations brought against him in support of the pending resolution of censure, that he had been contemptuous of that subcommittee by declining its invitations to testify regarding his financial affairs and other matters. Senator McCarthy, as part of his defense against the censure resolution, had questioned whether the Elections subcommittee was validly constituted because of the manner in which a vacancy on it had been filled in November, 1952. Testimony on the point had been taken from Mr. Watkins at an executive hearing the previous Friday, a transcript of which had been made available to newsmen this date, showing that Mr. Watkins had said that the vacancy was filled in accord with Senate precedent and custom. One of the witnesses called by the six-Senator special censure committee at its public hearings had been Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona, former chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, parent body of the Elections subcommittee, testifying that on November 20, 1953, Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma had resigned from the subcommittee and that he had appointed himself to fill the vacancy, to provide the subcommittee with a quorum of its original five members, since two other members had resigned previously. Senator McCarthy had claimed that a chairman of the committee could only nominate subcommittee members and that they had to be confirmed by the full committee, that the chairman could not appoint himself to fill such a vacancy on a subcommittee. He said that the only time he was requested to appear before the Elections subcommittee, as distinguished from being invited to appear, had been after the resignation of Senator Monroney, at which time the subcommittee did not have a proper quorum.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell this date ordered a special grand jury to be convened in Washington to investigate "possible bribery and other criminal conduct" in the Federal housing program, which had been under investigation by the Senate Banking Committee. He directed specifically the U.S. Attorney for the District to present evidence of the activities of Clyde Powell, who had resigned as assistant commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration the previous April 13, while the Congressional investigation of alleged irregularities in the FHA was transpiring. Mr. Brownell also stated that the U.S. Attorneys in all other districts of the nation were being directed "to present to grand juries, as soon as material is available, full testimony concerning criminal conduct uncovered by the Administration's FHA investigations in their districts." The Congressional investigators had asserted that numerous builders in various parts of the country had made millions of dollars in windfall profits by obtaining FHA-insured loans on apartment projects, where the stated value of the constructed projects exceeded the actual costs, pocketing the difference as part of their profits. Mr. Powell had been in charge of the rental housing program which had operated between 1946 and 1950, resulting in windfall profits to speculators exceeding 51 million dollars in the 285 cases reviewed by the special investigations.

In Milford, Del., the local board of education closed two of its public schools this date, following a protest against integration, the action having been taken, according to the school superintendent, "in the interests of the safety of the children of the district." The opponents of integration had scheduled a march on one of the schools for this date. One of the schools had grades one through nine, and the other was a combined elementary and high school. Until the present term, only white pupils had attended the latter school, while the other school already had some black students the previous year. An estimated 1,500 persons had met at the American Legion Hall the previous Friday night to protest the order of integration. The town had a population of about 4,500 whites and 1,200 blacks. Delaware was one of the four states, along with the District of Columbia, which were directly involved in Brown v. Board of Education, decided the prior May 17, finding continued segregation of public schools to be unconstitutional.

In Santiago, Chile, the Government decreed a six-month state of siege throughout most of the country this date, justifying it on the basis that there was a dangerous movement aimed at destroying the democratic way of life of the country, resulting from a strike of copper miners. The strike had apparently been resolved, and the previous week various political parties had expressed opposition to demands by the Government for extraordinary powers in the face of the strike.

In Raleigh, North Carolina's bankers, who had been robbed at gunpoint eight times during the year, would receive some tips the following Monday on how to guard against bank robberies, from the new special agent in charge of the Charlotte office of the FBI, one of five speakers to address the second annual Young Bankers Conference in Raleigh on September 26-27.

In Rocky Mount, N.C., a masked and gloved gunman robbed a branch of the People's Bank and Trust Co. of an estimated $7,500 this date, leaving behind thousands of dollars in his haste to escape. Two employees were alone in the bank when the man entered early in the morning and stuck a pistol into a teller, saying, "This is a stickup, hand over the money," thrusting a bag at her. After she had partially filled the bag, he said that it was enough, then marched her and the bank manager into a restroom and ordered them to stay there, locked the restroom from the outside and departed. The bank manager said that he and the teller were in the restroom only for a minute or so before they heard tires squeal as the bandits made their getaway. The bank manager then triggered the alarm. It was the eighth bank robbery in the state during the year. Police said that a passerby told them that at about the time of the robbery, he had seen a 1949 or 1950 Ford speed from the vicinity, traveling west. The Highway Patrol radioed that the bank robber or robbers had apparently fled on State Highway 49 or 54. The Patrol later reported that a black Ford, either a 1949 or 1950 model, had been found abandoned about 45 minutes after the robbery on N.C. 95, west of Rocky Mount. Roadblocks were established in a wide area across the eastern part of the state immediately following the robbery.

In Charlotte, Bob Wallace of The News indicates that the odors permeating the air in the Sugaw Creek area, along with damage to paint on the houses, had caused residents of the section to ask why the waste being dumped in the creek by industrial firms could not be treated to suppress the odors and stop the damage to the paint. One resident declared that the City claimed that as soon as a disposal plant was finished, the waste would be treated before being dumped into sewer lines, but citizens wanted to know why the treatment could not be initiated at once. Homes were stained and paint on cars had turned dull from the waste chemicals emanating from the creek, prompting several residents to check with their insurance companies to see if their policies covered the damage. Some of the homes could be repaired for around $100 while restoration of others cost much more. One resident of the area said that the odor from the creek had been there for the entire nine years he had lived in the area. Discoloration of the homes had begun two years earlier. The odor pervaded, according to residents, all the time, diminishing only during a heavy rain, and the paint damage occurred mainly during the summer months. Although the homes were in the county, most of the citizens believed the remedy for the problem was within the purview of the City. A City construction engineer said this date that the City Council had passed an ordinance which would force the industrial firms using the creek to treat their waste before dumping it into the sewer lines, after the disposal plant came into operation. He said that the waste could now be treated but that it was a legal issue and would have to be decided by the City Attorney. The residents might also want to visit the doctor to see if the waste was impacting their lungs.

Also in Charlotte, Harry Shuford of The News reports that local police were cracking down hard on free-wheeling passing of the bottle at local football games, that dozens of people had been arrested since the start of the high school football season for violating a State law prohibiting the display of whiskey at an athletic contest. Police Chief Frank Littlejohn said that most of the violators were teenagers. He said that they were trying to weed out the "hooliganism and youthful delinquency" which had increased during the previous couple of years, after the Park & Recreation people had come to see him about it. As a result, several plainclothes officers worked each football game, making arrests wholesale when they saw bottles being passed among the attendees. Chief Littlejohn said that there had been a marked decrease in the conduct after word had gotten around about the arrests. One of the main points of concentration had been within the men's restrooms at the stadium, a favorite place for slipping away from the game to catch a quick drink. (It will also serve as one of the main points of concentration for the drunks to evacuate their stomachs troubled by the booze.) He said further that in some cases, people were trying to conceal the whiskey by pouring it into soft drink bottles, but that some of those violators had also been caught. He expected protests from parents, but said the crackdown would continue to eliminate the small crowd of troublemakers. Offenders arrested had to post a $25 bond, and in about half the cases, the defendants forfeited their bond in lieu of appearance. Chief Littlejohn said that he had ordered the "Black Maria", apparently a paddy wagon, sent to the games to haul in those arrested. On the other hand, it might have been a perspicacious reference to "West Side Story"

In Los Angeles, George Hormel II, a musician and heir to the Hormel family meat-packing fortune, had been arrested and put in jail for 10 hours on a narcotics charge, based on possession of 13 marijuana cigarettes found by police above the sun visor of his automobile. He had just come home from a nightclub where he played piano with a trio. One of the two arresting narcotics officers said that the nightclub had been under investigation for several weeks as "a hotbed of marijuana peddling". He had been freed on a $1,500 bond, after his attorney had petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus to the Superior Court. He was divorced from French actress Leslie Caron. His friend, actress Rita Moreno, 22, said at a press conference arranged by her studio the previous night that when the officers had said they were O'Grady and O'Connor, she thought it was a gag, that she had not kicked one of the officers, but had just pushed him in the stomach and slapped his right hand. The two officers of the narcotics detail said, however, that they were met by "100 pounds of wildcat", with one of them stating that Ms. Moreno had kicked and struck him. She said that she would not have fought them if she had known they were police officers. She had been asleep in the house on a couch and was awakened when Mr. Hormel had entered with the two police officers, one of whom was trying to examine her purse, finding in it nothing unusual. Mr. Hormel was arrested on suspicion of a narcotics law violation, saying that he did not know how the cigarettes had gotten into his car, that he had not put them there, that he had never been a user of narcotics and would never do so. He said that he had been around narcotics for a good portion of his life and knew others who had used them, but had seen enough to know that he should stay away from them. His attorney indicated that he would enter a plea of not guilty. Ms. Moreno was not charged.

In New York, singer Jeanette MacDonald had been ordered to take a ten-day rest and cancel a fall concert tour, following a weekend viral attack.

In Nashville, the "lost children" booth at the Tennessee State Fair had opened the previous day under the watchful eye of a police inspector, whose son was the first reported person missing after he had wandered off while his father was supervising the erection of the booth. He was discovered at the midway 20 minutes later, explaining to officers that his father had gotten lost.

On the editorial page, "Fluoridation Helps Your Children" indicates that local and national dental health had improved markedly during the previous decade, one principal reason being the increased fluoridation of water in more than 1,000 towns and cities. Scientific tests had shown that fluoridation reduced dental caries by as much as 60 percent. In New York, where studies had been ongoing on fluoridation since 1945, the rate of dental decay was about 50 percent lower in cities with fluoridation, than in a neighboring city without it.

It finds that fluoridation ranked alongside pasteurization of milk, chlorination of water and vaccination as a sound and desirable health practice, but that some people objected to it on grounds ranging from charges that it constituted "mass medication" to those that it was even "communistic". Occasionally, fearful politicians disregarded reason and medical advice and gave into the strident voices of the minority.

That had occurred in Greensboro the previous week, when, by a vote of 4 to 3, the City Council had decided to halt fluoridation and call for a referendum on the matter.

It finds that those opposed to fluoridation would likely not find much support in Charlotte, and it trusts that the local City Council would place more stock in the opinions of organizations such as the Charlotte Dental Society, which the previous week had unanimously reaffirmed its advocacy for continued fluoridation. The practice had been endorsed by the American Dental Association, the AMA, the American Public Health Association, the National Research Council, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association and other responsible groups. It was of no particular benefit to adults, but it was helping children to have sounder teeth than their elders had. It kept down dentist bills and was safe, beneficial and desirable.

"A Good Scrubbing for Dirty Linen" indicates that the nation's comic book industry had decided to wash its own dirty linen, following a rising chorus of protest about lurid covers and blood-and-thunder contents. The comic book producers had hired Judge Charles Murphy of New York to be their chief censor.

It finds the action long overdue, allowing that not all comic books were bad, but indicating that for years, the horror and terror portion of the industry had given the entire business a bad reputation. It remained to be seen whether the censorship would be effective, as Judge Murphy had already rejected the idea that comic books might affect juvenile delinquency and had also rejected the notion of a crackdown on crime comics, as he believed crime was part of American life. It posits that the matter boiled down to one of simple taste.

The previous April, publisher William Gaines, in appearing before a Senate subcommittee investigating "sadistic comic books and their impact upon adolescents", had boasted to the legislators that he had introduced horror to the playroom and that he did not think such comics at all harmful. He was shown one of his magazine covers, depicting a man with a bloody ax standing over a woman and holding her severed head in one hand, asked whether it was in good taste, to which he replied in the affirmative, saying in response to another Senator, who asked him what he would consider to be bad taste, that it would have been bad taste if the head were held a little higher with the blood dripping out. It finds that Judge Murphy would have to contend with that sort of mentality, and that he would need to be concerned with the first attempts of children to discipline their minds to an ethical center.

It finds that discipline to be, to a certain extent, a matter of habit, which had to begin very early in childhood, where comic books could play an important role. As Irving Babbitt had written, one could not wait until the child had reached the age of reason until placing the child in a position to do his or her own selecting, as, meanwhile, the child might have become the victim of bad habits. Mr. Babbitt viewed it as "the true prison house that is in danger of closing on the growing boy. Habit must, as Aristotle says, precede reason."

"Take Your Choice" quotes from the Stewart Alsop column in the newspaper on September 2, that Kentucky was a state where remembering people's names was considered the key to political success, that Senator John Sherman Cooper constantly forgot names and forgot to shake the hands of the voters whose names he forgot.

It also quotes from the Saturday Evening Post of September 18, that Senator Cooper "owns a bone-crushing grip and he seldom forgets a name, a face or a problem."

"The Case of the Conscientious Cop" tells of a conscientious cop in New York having enforced the law against bingo, and that it was a symptom of an ugly disease, that despite the fact that bingo games were often operated by professional gamblers and that some allowed children to play, the police custom had been to overlook it when religious and charitable groups sponsored bingo parties. But in Brooklyn, the deputy chief inspector had begun receiving complaints that people were becoming obsessed with the games, to the point of gambling away their grocery money, prompting him to visit several churches, synagogues and the Knights of Columbus, to tell them to cease their bingo games. Several clergymen complained that enforcement of the law would deprive them of funds needed for religious and charitable work, and people generally began to call in their complaints, eventually causing the deputy chief inspector to be charged with insubordination, demoted and transferred. He then applied for retirement after 36 years on the force.

Mayor Robert Wagner of New York supported the Police Department's handling of the matter, adding that bingo would have to stop until the law could be changed. Most politicians of both parties favored the change, but there was no good word for the only conscientious cop who had sought to do his duty.

It finds that the officer had made the mistake of enforcing the law as it was written and not as some politicians sought. It suggests that it brought to mind the words of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover the previous November, when he declared that there were too many indications at present that law enforcement officers were "handcuffed by political influence". It concludes that no community could have good law enforcement or good government when such was the case.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "They Out-Talk Men", indicates that Southerners did not talk as fast as Yankees, but in the long-run, talked more. The Richmond News Leader had found that Richmond residents made 6.15 calls per day per telephone whereas Chicago residents made only 4.1. The newspaper took a poll of 12 men and 12 women, finding it unanimous among the men that women talked more, and vice versa. Among the respondents, a secretary said that she had to wait for hours to take dictation while her boss gabbed on the phone, and the boss said that his secretary hung on the phone all day.

The piece thinks women talked more on the phone, as a man fidgeted to get on to something else, while a woman settled into the conversation. In eastern North Carolina, a salesman was attempting to sell a radio to two bachelor brothers who lived in the country, the salesman pointing out that a radio was just the thing to bring them entertainment, to which they replied that they did not need a radio as they were now on a party line. The piece offers one guess as to which sex they were listening to.

The State magazine, in an editorial, indicates that no Governor of North Carolina since Zebulon Vance had shouldered such a burden as the Supreme Court desegregation decision had placed on Governor William B. Umstead. It suggests that the burden in North Carolina was greater than that in some of the other Southern states because North Carolina had advanced so steadily and had gone so much further in eliminating inequities in the educational facilities, including the attitudes of both races.

"Whatever the foolish and reckless agitators may say—or know, because they seem to demonstrate both ignorance and irresponsibility—North Carolina's approach to its racial problems has been earnest, conscientious, and effective. We do not believe any state in the union actually has had better race relations, regardless of what the statutes say."

It indicates that if the methods of North Carolina were to be discarded and the hasty program of outsiders prevailed, which appeared likely, nothing would be gained except "a sorry and unworkable law" with loss of a "dynamic and beneficient spirit." It suggests that "agitators" would make it impossible for leaders of both races to work together in the state. The Governor and his committee of 19 citizens appointed to study adjustment to the decision, therefore, not only faced the problem of school operation, but the more difficult problem of preserving the gains already made in terms of good will.

"Disappointment and despair are even more difficult to overcome than our intellectual carpet-baggers, imported and homegrown."

Drew Pearson indicates that now that the hearings before the six-Senator special committee considering the resolution of Senator McCarthy had concluded, the Senator could go back to wrestling with the IRS over his income tax problems. The real problem he faced was not the IRS plans to collect $25,000 from the Senator in back taxes, but how commissioner T. Coleman Andrews apparently had sidetracked a criminal investigation in the matter. Ordinarily, in such a case, the IRS would assign a special agent to investigate the possibility of tax fraud. At one point, for instance, Mr. Andrews had encountered a black man in a Cadillac, took down his license number, looked up his tax returns and found that he had been paying suspiciously low taxes, immediately assigned a special agent to the case. But in the case of Senator McCarthy, Mr. Andrews had not assigned any special agent but left it in the hands of a relatively inexperienced regular agent, Francis Boyle, who had to seek the advice of veteran agents on a simple question of procedure. He had made no special investigation of Senator McCarthy and in the end, claimed that there was no criminal case against him. At about the same time, Mr. Boyle was suddenly promoted to be an alternative squad chief, bypassing several senior agents. Commissioner Andrews had previously entertained Senator McCarthy at his home in Richmond and had introduced him to an audience as one of the greatest living Americans, had also provided him approximately 2,000 copies of other people's tax returns without a required majority vote of the Investigating subcommittee chaired by Senator McCarthy. The failure to assign a special agent to the case appeared strange in light of the fact that the Senator had so much interesting data made public regarding his monetary transactions.

The 1953 Senate report on the Senator's finances had included numerous pages of official evidence showing the Senator's large bank deposits and concealed transactions on the soybean market, utilizing money provided to him to fight Communism, and a suspiciously canceled debt for $170,000 owed to a Wisconsin bank, canceled after the Senator had initiated his campaign against Communism, plus the deposits by the Senator's assistant having increased in another bank at the same time of the start of his anti-Communist campaign. In four years between 1948 and 1952, according to the subcommittee which investigated the Senator's finances, he had deposited $172,600 in that bank, while his assistant had deposited almost $97,000, with $19,000 of the McCarthy deposits having been in cash and another nearly $60,000 from unidentified sources, while more than $29,000 of that deposited by his assistant was in cash. The committee found that there was no connection between many of the disbursements from that account and any possible anti-Communist campaign activity. Mr. Boyle had made no effort to check those contributions and the use to which they were put, lacking the manpower for such an investigation, not remedied by Mr. Andrews.

Stewart Alsop indicates that the President was deeply involved in the midterm elections, being the heart and soul of the Republican campaign strategy, which had two assumptions, that the President was quite popular and that the popularity he had could be transferred to any Republican candidate. Republican candidates were seeking to depict the election as a kind of referendum on the President, placing his prestige on the line, probably more so than in any previous midterm election.

On a recent political trip, Mr. Alsop had asked about the local attitude regarding the President and had received one surprising answer, from Senator Matthew Neely of West Virginia, who stated flatly that the President's popularity was a myth, that he had attacked the President everywhere he had gone and had received a fine response. But West Virginia had been hit hard economically and Senator Neely was about the only politician in the country who was so campaigning, that nearly everywhere else, politicians agreed that the President remained quite popular.

The Republican candidate for the Ohio Senate seat of deceased Senator Robert Taft, Representative George Bender, pitted against the interim Democratic incumbent, Senator Thomas Burke, had been a supporter of Senator Taft for the presidency at the 1952 convention, but now told everyone who would listen that he was one of a handful of Representatives with a 100 percent pro-Eisenhower voting record in Congress. Former Representative Clifford Case, the Republican candidate for the Senate in New Jersey, who was more of an independent Republican, was also convinced that the President was a great asset, having delivered great praise to the President in his first major speech of the campaign.

But Democrats were not seeking, as they had during the first 18 months of the Administration, to outbid the Republicans in declarations of allegiance to the President. An Ohio Democrat said that while the President was well-liked and the voters had once thought of him as "daddy", they now only thought of him as "a nice guy". He indicated that General Eisenhower had been oversold to the voters in 1952 as an ombudsman, something with which the General, himself, had expressed trouble, but now it was clear that the problems had not been solved. His continued popularity was the result of him being a likable human being, but he was no longer considered in the same category as George Washington, motherhood, and the American flag.

Mr. Alsop posits that if that theory proved correct, the President's popularity would not be the great asset which Republicans assumed it would be in the campaigns. He believes that it was an asset but not a decisive one, and one that was nearly erased by the "lemming-like death wish" of the right-wing Republicans.

Robert C. Ruark is upset because he had seen a flash from Hollywood that Tarzan was being streamlined for the first time in his 36-year movie history, slated to play without Jane by his side while helping the U.N. stamp out a jungle disease. He finds it dreadful, that he had clung to Tarzan's values in a world of shifting values, believed in the terseness of Tarzan when everybody else talked too much. He goes on…

A letter writer praises the work of Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner Ed Scheidt and his initiation of a safety and education program with stricter enforcement of traffic laws, reducing the death tolls on North Carolina highways, and agrees with the editorial to the same effect appearing September 8. She says she had just returned to the state after being absent for two years and noticed a clear difference on the streets and highways, that no longer were drivers driving like maniacs, that they appeared now to be observing the speed laws and that it was safe now to venture out onto the highways.

A letter writer comments on the editorial, "Workmen's Compensation Inadequate", indicates that as a workman, he was gratified to know that the editors agreed that weekly handouts for total disability provided by the North Carolina Compensation Act were shameful in a democracy, that because of loopholes, the law was ineffective and did not provide any compensation to the great majority of workmen. He believes that the whole law should be repealed by the 1955 General Assembly.

A letter writer indicates that he had read recently in the newspaper that a learned doctor had said that cigarettes and coffee breaks were giving ulcers to American ladies. He thinks the claim ridiculous, that ladies were getting ulcers, along with gentlemen, from being hurried and worried too much. In his city of Port Limon, Costa Rica, life was one long coffee break, with everyone drinking coffee from the time of waking until they went to bed, and no one had ulcers, because Port Limon had a population which seldom worried or hurried. He thinks that American ladies needed to learn to relax when they took their coffee breaks, as in Port Limon, where time was something to be savored slowly.

A letter writer indicates that in 1952, the voters of the 10th Congressional District had proven by their vote that they were not satisfied with the Democratic incumbent Congressman, and so elected Republican Charles Jonas by a large majority in 1952. The writer feels confident that with the record made in Washington by Mr. Jonas, he would be re-elected. He says that he had known Mr. Jonas's opponent, J. C. Sedberry, as a lawyer in Rockingham, that he had never been in national politics previously and sees no reason why the people would want to make a change, as Mr. Jonas now had the experience in Congress.

That's a brilliant argument.

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