The Charlotte News

Monday, October 17, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Bumble's Stage-Management" tells of the coming visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England the following late May through mid-June of 1939. Cash would write of the visit in "That Foxy Lion", May 25, "Quandary", June 3, "Their Majesties", June 8, "Capons to Wienies", June 12, and, ah yes, "Grand Gesture", June 5.

Demonstrating the long continuity and stability the royal family provides to England, the two young princesses mentioned in the 1938 piece are of course Margaret, then 8, and her sister, then 12, today's Queen Elizabeth.

On June 8, an African-American group, the North Carolina Spiritual Singers, under the sponsorship of WPA, would sing spirituals to the royal couple at the White House. On the same programme, presenting cowboy ballads, was Alan Lomax, well-known collector of folk songs of the era from among the sharecroppers and from within the prison walls of the South during the Thirties and Forties, giving us the full volume of American folk tales in verity by guitar and banjangle which later by the Fifties and Sixties became staples of the new folk movement in popular music. Also performing were the Coon Creek Girls of Pinchem-Tight Hollow, Ky., who also sang folk songs, and the Soco Gap Square-Dance Team from Asheville, N.C., performing folk dances, plus Kate Smith, Lawrence Tibbett, and Marian Anderson, fresh from her moving presentation at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter, April 9, 1939, arranged by Eleanor Roosevelt after the D.A.R. refused Ms. Anderson on racial grounds an invitation to sing at Constitution Hall in Washington, the appearance which was the forebear to Martin Luther King's oration on August 28, 1963, in turn coinciding with the date of death of Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi in 1955.


Sleeping Dogs

A glorious opportunity awaits any constitutional trouble-maker who'd like to agitate the Sunday issue just for the heck of it. According to a story in Sunday's News, a recent decision of the State Supreme Court in the case of Elm City vs. Thorne means that while the Sunday operation of filling stations may be all right if permitted by local ordinance, the operation of filling stations does not carry with it the privilege of dispensing soft drinks, beer, etc. By the same reasoning, drugstores in Charlotte may sell drugs on Sunday, but not, in the Supreme Court's probable definition of drug business, sodas.

Offhand, however, we can think of no one who would be likely to go to the trouble and expense of taking the matter to court. Burton Smith would be a natural, but at this season he is preoccupied with game wardening. And there is pretty good evidence that the protagonists of closed Sunday are the last persons likely to disturb the status quo. Their quarterbacking is strictly a defensive game, kicking on first down and playing against time. What of all things they don't want is to upset the present order, least of all to quibble over the definition of drugs, service and "necessities."

The Homeopathic Cure

Here it is all over again.

At Alexandria Va., Saturday, City Judge Gus A. Voltz fined four men $100 each and sentenced them to 90 days in jail for "peddling and selling without State licenses... literature allegedly promoting Fascism and attacking the Catholic Church." The sentences were suspended on condition that the men get out of town. Said Judge Voltz:

"Our state parish and city are made up of God-fearing people--people of all faiths and creeds, who enjoy friendship of each other, regardless of religious beliefs."

Ho, hum. Here is a man who obviously means well, who dislikes the preaching of hate, and who wants to do his level best to keep the Fascist terror out of this country. But look how he goes about it! To emphasize his desire for tolerance and his horror of Fascism, he stretches a state law against peddling to cover what it certainly never was intended to cover, and thereby violates the most fundamental law of Virginia, its constitution--the Bill of Rights which reads almost identically with that of the Federal constitution--and deprives these four men of the right of the "free press."

We have said it many times before, but it is worth saying again. You cannot save democracy and head off Fascism by adopting the philosophy and methods of Fascism.

Bumble's Stage-Management

And so at last we are to see a real British King and a real British Queen in Washington. The first monarchs of a first-rate power ever to visit at the White House.

And undoubtedly, we'll love it. No people on earth so likes to look at kings and queens as our own, which has been deprived of the sight of them for the last 150 years. Even little kinglets and queenlets get a big hand over here. And so when the heirs and successors of William the Norman and Richard and Henry VIII and great Elizabeth and William of Orange come to us, Washington and the country are probably going to see the greatest spectacle in the history of the republic.

There will be a splendid show and hands-across-the-sea. Czechoslovakia will vanish from the front pages. Maybe Lord Hitler himself will vanish therefrom. People who have been growling against Mr. Bumble Chamberlain will forget about him and remember only old England. People who have been saying that the British Empire is crumbling will suddenly remember that the lion is mighty still. People who grumbled about Edward VIII will look at the mother of the two little princesses and feel better about it. And everywhere enthusiasm and kindness for monarchs and their country will go steadily up.

Ah, well, we wouldn't for the world throw cold water on the visit. We're glad they're coming. We'll like 'em, too. But all the same, it is just as well to be wise to that old Mr. Bumble Chamberlain.

One More Inconsistency*

The whole policy of the New Deal towards the textile industry, as demonstrated in NRA, the Wagner and the Wage-Hour Acts, has been to increase the cost of raw materials, to up wages, maintain prices and limit the running time of the more efficient mills in order to enable the marginal producers to net a share of the business. That all this, compounded with ever higher and higher taxes, can only mean higher costs to the consumer, has troubled the New Deal not at all. Indeed, the Government itself requires that on all Federal orders prevailing maximum wages be paid and minimum hours observed, and hang the expanse.

But now a change of tune is to be detected. The Department of Agriculture is diverted with the notion of having surplus cotton, Government-owned, made into garments and sold the ill-clad third at bargain prices. This is going to run into real money. The 1,600,000 bales the Government is figuring on processing would alone amount to about $54,000,000, and the cost of manufacturing the raw material into cloth would come to four or five times as much, not to mention the cost of making the cloth into finished goods.

Alarmed that the textile industry will somehow have got the idea that the Government prefers to pay dearly, Department of Agriculture officials--even before bids have been called for--are vaguely threatening to rent idle mills or build new ones unless the industry cuts costs to the bone and forgoes any profit on this relief business. And doubtless the industry will do what is expected, but who can blame it for being puzzled at this contradiction in policies?

Survival of the Unfit

Thursday Henry Mencken delivered himself of some remarks at Baltimore which will shock the tender-minded even more dreadfully than they are usually shocked by the shocking editor. He said that while the free services of the Johns Hopkins Hospital to the poor were "valuable beyond computation," that hospital was nevertheless "the most brutally anti-social agency ever set up in Baltimore." And proceeded to quote facts thus--

1--Of 1,900 mothers annually delivered free by the Hopkins staff, 49.5 of the whites and 73.6 per cent of the Negroes are found to be "seriously defective and feeble-minded."

2--Exactly half the white mothers and 37 per cent of the colored are registered at the Baltimore Social Services Exchange as habitual or intermittent paupers.

3--Of the whites more than 89 per cent, and of the blacks 86.1 per cent, come from families known to be afflicted by alcoholism, mental aberration, or other major defects.

4--Of the whites 3.6 per cent, and of the Negroes to 2.6 per cent, had syphilis.

5--The records of the Johns Hopkins itself show that "the women who are being delivered of pathological specimens today are the daughters of pathological specimens who were delivered at the women's clinic twenty years ago. Twenty years hence, their daughters will be back, ready with more syphilitic babies."

The Johns Hopkins immediately reported that Dr. Mencken had his facts correct.

Tempest In A Vacuum

At Paris the White Russians are engaged in a hot dispute as to who shall succeed the Grand Duke, who died Wednesday, as "Czar of all the Russians." It is like the squabbling of the Bourbons over who shall be "King of France," or as though the descendants of Godfrey, Duke of Bouillon, should take to quarreling over who should be "King of Jerusalem"--a title he bore in the Crusades.

That the Romanoffs will ever again sit on the throne of their fathers is just about as likely as that Godfrey's heirs will sit again on the throne at the great Christian-Mohammedan shrine. The unfortunate Russians may have simply swapped the Devil off for Satan in getting Stalin for this family. Even so, the shape of things has altered too much ever to be put back so as to make room for these Romanoffs without a deluge of blood. The body of the Russian people themselves certainly have no itch to pay that price for having their old masters back--and justly. For not even the Bourbons ever more thoroughly proved that they were unfit to rule. The whole Romanoff story is a monotonous chronicle of murder, rapine, and the most callous indifference to the welfare of their subjects. Only the names of Alexander I and Alexander II shed any luster on the line.

Nor is it likely that Russia will ever be coerced from outside into accepting them. The Spaniards can be forced to endure the Bourbons again, for Spain is weak. But the great population of Russia and the vast extent of the country make its reduction by force an appalling task.


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