The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 8, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that before the six-Senator special committee hearing the resolution of censure against Senator McCarthy, Maj. General Kirke Lawton had refused to testify regarding a conversation with Brig. General Ralph Zwicker, prompting the attorney for Senator McCarthy, Edward Bennett Williams, to accuse the Army of "definitely gagging" the witness. Retired General Lawton, who had been the commanding officer at Fort Monmouth, the object of Senator McCarthy's investigation of subversives in the Army the previous fall and winter, had cited a Presidential directive of the prior May 17 against disclosure of private conversations with other personnel within the executive branch and said that he was acting on advice from various counsel at the Pentagon. Mr. Williams said that such advice would be "either incompetent or not in good faith". General Lawton agreed with Mr. Williams that he had discussed with the latter on the prior Monday night the substance of the conversation with General Zwicker. Mr. Williams then appealed to the chairman, Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah, who upheld the right of the witness to invoke the President's order.

In Taipeh, Formosa, it was reported by the Nationalist Defense Ministry that Chinese Nationalist warships and planes, including U.S.-supplied F-84 Thunderjets, had teamed up again this date to fire on possible Communist invasion bases on the Chinese mainland. It was the first time that Nationalist jets had been in action against the Communists. It was the third day that bombs and shells had hit Communist batteries which had shelled the Nationalist island of Quemoy for four hours the prior Friday and sporadically since that time, hitting bases where the Communists may have been massing junks for an invasion of Quemoy. There was no shooting reported on Tuesday against Quemoy and only a few sporadic shots on Wednesday afternoon, bearing in mind the international date line. A Nationalist Army spokesman said that he had no information on reports that two former U.S. destroyers had taken part in the bombardment of the Communist base on nearby Amoy and on other Communist bases within range of Quemoy. Secretary of State Dulles intended to visit Formosa the following day to confer with top Nationalist officials, who believed that the attacks had diminished the threat of a Communist invasion.

The Associated Press reports that the issue of whites and blacks attending the same public schools was raging in the legislatures and the courts all over the South, that blacks the previous day had petitioned the board of education in Montgomery County, N.C., to take steps toward ending segregation, with the board stating that it would reply in ten days after consultation with State Attorney General Harry McMullan. In Mississippi, the Legislature had begun work on plans to circumvent the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, based on Governor Hugh White's convening message the previous day: "We shall resist by every legal means at our command." A proposed State constitutional amendment to Mississippi's 1890 Constitution, to empower the Legislature to abolish public schools, had been introduced in both houses. Under the proposal, State-owned school property could be leased, rented or sold to individuals for conduct of private schools in that event, and State money would be appropriated to pay tuition of pupils within the private system. In Washington, a Federal District Court judge would consider the following day a lawsuit to prevent scheduled integration of District of Columbia schools, initiated by the Federation of Citizens' Associations, an all-white organization, which contended that integration was illegal because no orders had been issued by the Supreme Court providing for implementation of its May 17 decision, oral arguments on which were scheduled for the coming term, to start in October. Similar litigation had been initiated in Baltimore, where integration had also been ordered. At the start of school the previous day, no incidents had occurred there. In Texas, the superintendent of a white rural school near Dallas rejected efforts the previous day of a group of black parents to enroll their children, saying that he would abide by the State Board of Education instructions to continue segregation during the current school year. The Dallas chapter of the NAACP had responded that it believed in the Brown decision and would stop at nothing until the law of the land came to Dallas. A white Tennessee lawyer, long associated with Southern education, predicted gradual elimination of racial segregation in the schools, addressing a conference of school officials from 11 Southern states in Atlanta.

In New York, Governor Thomas Dewey, who had been the Republican presidential nominee in 1944 and 1948, said in a statewide telecast the previous night that he would not, under any circumstances, be a candidate for public office during the current fall, providing as the reason his desire to return to private life. Many Republican leaders, including the President, had urged him to run for a fourth term.

In Miami, the hurricane alert for South Florida was lifted this date, as Hurricane Edna, packing 150 mph winds, swung northward in the Atlantic, currently 300 miles east of Miami and moving northwestward at about ten mph, anticipated to continue in a northerly direction. The chief storm forecaster at the Miami Weather Bureau said that if its direction continued, it was possible that it would be over water for some time and that no one would get hit by it.

Hurricane winds pushed rain into the Carolinas this date, cooling sweltering temperatures from Sunday and Monday, which had reached and exceeded 100 in Charlotte, including the highest ever recorded in the city of more than 103 on Monday.

In Raleigh, a Woman's Prison inmate testified before a Coroner's inquest this date that she had seen the superintendent put a gag over the nose of inmate Eleanor Rush shortly before the latter had died on the night of August 20 from a broken neck. The testifying inmate said that she was in an isolation cell across the hall from Ms. Rush's cell and had seen guards tie Ms. Rush's feet and then tie her to her mattress. She said that five minutes after the guards had left her trussed, she saw the superintendent return, whereupon she heard a noise like the palm of a hand hitting a fist. She also said that she had never heard Ms. Rush create a disturbance by yelling, that she had been hungry, and was calling for food, as was the testifying witness. She said that when the body was removed from the cell, the bonds had been removed except for the gags. The testimony was in conflict with that of prior witnesses at the hearing being conducted before a six-person jury, including one black man. Two guards testified that two gags, one over the other, had been used on Ms. Rush and that two separate efforts had been made to gag her after the first gag had been loosened by Ms. Rush, the guards then succeeding only in getting the first gag retied between her upper teeth and lip before slipping the second gag into her mouth. All of the guards involved and the superintendent stated that they had never before used gags during prison work. A guard testified that the guards had not become angry, though it had taken between eight and ten minutes to put the gag in place. The superintendent and others had testified that Ms. Rush was placed in a restraining belt and gagged to keep her from disturbing the entire prison area, and all denied that her feet were restrained or that she was bound to the mattress. The death of Ms. Rush had sparked a riot among the 350 inmates at the institution the following morning.

Ann Sawyer of The News reports that after many months of discussion, planning and trading, City Council members and County Commission members had agreed to a merger of the existing City and County Planning Boards, but that disagreement over the percentage of financing to be borne by each entity threatened to derail the plan. Eventually, they agreed that the City would pay 60 percent and the County, 40 percent, of the Planning Board's budget, which would go into effect at the start of the 1955-56 fiscal year. The new Board would have ten members, five from the county and five from the city.

On the editorial page, "'Nothing To Fear'—Except Prison" indicates that the previous December, an American officer had broadcast to 22 U.S. prisoners still in Korea, electing to remain with their Communist captors, that they had nothing to fear, that Indian guards would protect them. The officer had gone on to tell of one corporal who had recently departed the camp and returned home to his loved ones to enjoy a combination 30-day leave and honeymoon.

But that corporal was now serving a ten-year prison term on charges that he had been a collaborator and informer, and the only soldier among the remaining hold-out prisoners who had followed him, another corporal, now faced similar charges before an Army court-martial. Both soldiers had apparently committed acts which were dishonorable, although the piece recognizes that those who had never been subjected to brainwashing techniques should not hastily condemn such men. But it also finds that the Army should not be criticized for carrying out its obligations to try them for violation of Army rules devised before brainwashing became the science that it had become.

It indicates that it could not escape the conclusion that the Army was not being fair to the soldiers, that they were unprepared in civilian life and by the Army for the psychological brainwashing they had endured from the Communists, and that the inducement to return without penalty was now being reneged upon, urging that Army justice should show compassion.

"A New Era of Highway Safety" indicates that State Motor Vehicles commissioner Ed Scheidt had stated shortly after taking office in June, 1953 that they were going to reduce highway fatalities in the state, whereupon he launched on a program toward that end, which included stricter enforcement of traffic laws and driver education and information programs. At the time, fatalities were four ahead of the same date in 1952, and at one point during 1953, were 20 ahead of the previous year. At that point, they began to decline, slowly at first, then more precipitously, and had been going down since.

During the recent Labor Day weekend, there were ten traffic fatalities in the state, compared to 18 on the same weekend the previous year. During the first 250 days of 1954, traffic fatalities in the state had totaled 594, compared to 728 to the same point in 1952.

The state had added unmarked patrol cars, marked patrol cars parked next to the highway with a dummy driver at the wheel, speed-detection whammies, fake whammies, and saturation coverage. By those devices and others, Mr. Scheidt had created a psychology against speeding in the state.

While some out-of-state motorists had complained about the speed traps in North Carolina, some even having their automobile clubs write complaining letters to the Department of Motor Vehicles, Mr. Scheidt had responded that the state was not utilizing "speed traps", that its speed limit was prominently posted and every motorist knew what it was, and that it was very unfair to the professional law enforcement officers of the Highway Patrol to label speeding citations as resulting from speed traps, suggesting that the automobile clubs would render a better service to their membership if they would undertake an active campaign to discourage speeding instead of giving aid and comfort to violators.

The piece praises the program and indicates that it ought be maintained in full force, commends Mr. Scheidt and his Department for their efforts.

"Pogo, Joe and Stuffy Old Editors" advises never to underestimate the power of cartoon characters, that Pogo, the possum, and his swamp-loving friends, had the editors of the Providence (R.I.) Journal in a tizzy because one of Pogo's acquaintances, a wildcat named Simple J. Malarky, looked and sometimes acted like Senator McCarthy, and had a sidekick dressed like an Indian, named Charlie, who recently kicked an acquaintance below the belt, while during the recent Army-McCarthy hearings, it was indicated that the Senator had been taught his political techniques by an Indian named Charlie. (It provides three panels from the cartoon to prove its point.) Thus, the Journal editors had decided that the cartoonist, Walt Kelly, had gone too far, indicating that editorial views should be confined to the editorial page, and thus determined to drop Pogo from its comic strips page on any days when the McCarthy cast of characters appeared.

It indicates that it was an interesting line of reasoning and that if such a rule were followed, it ought apply to editorializing for the Air Force in "Steve Canyon" as well as that for the "good old days" and against present tax rates in "Little Orphan Annie", or for naval aviation in "Buz Sawyer", or against hucksters and about 101 other types in "L'il Abner", or for the medical profession in "Rex Morgan, M.D.", or for super detective techniques in "Dick Tracy". It concludes that the Journal would have to drop nearly all of the comics, at least most of the good ones, under such a rule.

It takes the position that Pogo, like Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, was a delightful combination of nonsense and shrewd political satire and wishes Walt Kelly and his fellow cartoonists full rein to draw cartoons for or against Senator McCarthy or on any other subject they pleased.

"In sum, phooey on the stuffy old Providence Journal."

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Words That Elevate", indicates that there were those who regarded awakening as a kind of insomnia in reverse, groaning, thrashing about, but not getting out of bed. One person the writer knew who was normally honorable, told outrageous and ingenious falsehoods to try to obtain more sleep. Another person of whom it had heard, who was a reluctant waker, had posted insulting signs around his bed, so that when the alarm clock went off, he would be angered by the signs and get up rather than go back to sleep.

The Christian Science Monitor indicates that the fear being expressed that the Supreme Court's May 17 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, holding continued public school segregation to be unconstitutional, would result in "mongrelization" and interracial marriages, was unwarranted. Mores involved in relationships between the sexes effected a prohibition against interracial unions.

Gunnar Myrdal, in An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, had found that such interracial marriage was so rare as to be almost nonexistent despite the fact that 27 of the 48 states provided for no legal segregation, and that nearly a third of the states had no laws against miscegenation. Moreover, "mongrelization" had been ongoing since blacks had first been brought from Africa as slaves. But Mr. Myrdal had concluded that such practices, whether legal or extralegal, were on the wane and offspring from such unions were becoming fewer.

It posits that there were many reasons for that occurrence, including growing pride of race among blacks as they improved their status in the society, which merged with worldwide resurgence of racial pride among dark-skinned peoples.

It concludes that if such practices held within the country where there was no compulsory segregation, it was without reason to fear any significant reversal of the trend in the South.

Drew Pearson, returning from a two-week vacation, muses that what had occurred in the French National Assembly, rejecting EDC, would impact his seven-year old grandson, and probably impact the world more than anything which had occurred since the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor or since Hitler had invaded the Ruhr in 1936. He muses further that wars were brewed slowly, with incident piling on incident and suspicion piling on suspicion, and that the French vote had meant that his grandson and thousands of other grandsons would almost certainly have to march off to war once again.

He tells of the events which had piled one on another leading to World War II, starting with Secretary of State Henry Stimson under President Hoover, having in 1931 watched Japan invade Manchuria, seeing what it was, the beginning of a Japanese conquest of Asia and the de facto beginning of World War II, having sought to rally the peace machinery of the world, to persuade isolationist forces inside the Republican Party to go along with him, failing in that effort because of division inside the Hoover Cabinet and in the Republican Party. He indicates that had Secretary Stimson succeeded, a generation might have been spared having to go to war again. For after that point, the dictators became stronger and Japan marched almost at will through China, Mussolini bombed helpless Ethiopia, paying no heed to the League of Nations, and the world's peace machinery weakened further. FDR and Sumner Welles had sought to bolster that machinery at the Brussels Conference in 1936, seeking sanctions against Japan's warlords, but also had failed because of division among the Democrats and the country's allies, and because Secretary of State Cordell Hull did not like Mr. Welles, while England was suspicious of the U.S. Thus the world had drifted further toward war.

By the time Hitler had ordered the SS into the Ruhr and Rhineland in 1936, the democracies were divided and the peace machinery weakened. On March 7, 1936, the French Cabinet had debated whether it should mobilize and resist the SS, consulting with Britain in the process. If Britain had been willing to support France, France would resist Hitler, but Britain remained aloof, enabling Hitler to obtain the coal and steel resources of the Ruhr, making war a certainty.

He concludes that those were the things he had thought about as he stared at an empty typewriter, musing about his grandson having learned to swim at his farm during the vacation, and considering how his own generation had failed to avoid war and let down the small boy, who was unmindful of the burdens his grandfather was passing on to him.

Stewart Alsop, in Batavia, O., tells of the campaign of Representative George Bender for the Senate seat previously occupied by the late Robert Taft, who had died in late June, 1953. During a campaign speech in Batavia, Mr. Bender had stated one important thing, that the race was the most important election in the country, a statement which Mr. Alsop finds probably true, as Mr. Bender was presenting his candidacy as a referendum on the President.

Being in Taft country, Mr. Bender always paid emotional tribute to the late Senator, probably sincere praise, as he had fought for the candidacy of Senator Taft at the 1952 Republican convention. But since that time, he had become a supporter of the President and was pointing out that he was only one of a handful of Representatives who consistently supported him on every issue.

The fact that he was essentially identifying himself with the President was approved Republican campaign strategy in most states and Representative Bender had only adopted that strategy with more enthusiasm than had most.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the 83rd Congress had, in effect, but handcuffs on the Communist Party in the country, but left it footloose. Eight of the 15 requests by the Administration for anti-subversive legislation were enacted, plus three measures which the Administration had not sought, most of it occurring in the closing days of the session.

The Administration had been against outlawing of the Communist Party, but Congress had passed legislation as part of the bill aimed at Communist-infiltrated labor organizations. It did not provide for criminal penalties for party membership. Congress had approved six proposals to facilitate detection or conviction of subversives, making peacetime espionage a capital offense, providing for more funds for security investigations, extending the statute of limitations in certain non-capital felony cases, broadening laws relating to sabotage to include such actions as use of radioactive, chemical or biological agents, making bail-jumping in Federal cases a separate offense, and increasing penalties for harboring fugitives.

Two other Administration measures, to remove citizenship from persons found guilty of conspiring to overthrow the Government by force or violence and to grant immunity to witnesses to compel them to testify, were modified by Congress but had been enacted in recognizable form. Attorney General Herbert Brownell had asked for authority to grant immunity to witnesses testifying on security matters, but Congress passed and the President had signed into law a measure to place ultimate authority in the Federal courts.

The President had recommended legislation to deprive persons of citizenship after being found guilty of conspiring to advocate and teach the overthrow of the Government, but that had met stiff opposition in Congress, while surviving in modified form. Opponents had argued that existing laws, the Alien Registration Act and the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Smith Act and McCarran-Walter Act, respectively, already provided for loss of certain citizenship privileges and nationality under those circumstances, and the constitutionality of the proposed measure had been questioned. The passed bill provided for loss of "nationality" if it were shown that a person "willfully" performed an act directed at overthrow of the Government.

Mr. Brownell had stated that a measure to outlaw the Communist Party would interfere with existing anti-subversive laws and make it harder to catch Communists, as they would simply go underground and form new organizations. The Senate had originally passed a measure sponsored by Democrats to outlaw the party and make it a criminal offense to be a member, but the Congress as a whole eventually passed a toned-down version as part of the bill to deny legal status to Communist-infiltrated labor groups. Whereas Mr. Brownell had asked for a bill furnishing the machinery for dissolving such labor organizations, that was eventually rejected by the House Judiciary Committee.

Congress had also enacted a law requiring Communist-front or Communist-action groups to register their printing equipment, though the Administration did not request that measure. Congress also passed a measure denying pension benefits to Federal employees convicted of felonies or who refused to testify on grounds of self-incrimination, a measure which the Administration also had not sought. The statute of limitations extension was from 3 to 5 years, requested by the Administration.

A letter writer from Lancaster, S.C., says that he had nothing personal against Edgar Brown, who had just been nominated by the state Democratic executive committee to fill the Senate vacancy left by the death of Senator Burnet Maybank, but opposed the method by which he was being nominated, without a vote of the people. He hopes that Governor James Byrnes, whom he respects, would not remain silent on the issue.

A letter writer from Lykesland, S.C., comments on the newspaper's editorial on Winthrop College, suggesting that the dignity and integrity of South Carolina had been sullied by attacks and letters from a few of the alumni because the college had lost its approval from the AAUW and AAUP. She explains in detail her position and hopes that the college would be able to regain that approval.

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