The Charlotte News

Wednesday, October 19, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Masochistic Mob" tells of the duncely mass cowering behind the sheets and pillowcases, striking blows for "Southern womanhood".

Of course, over time, by the 1960's, they would learn from experience not to cost their own coffers by burning schools. Instead, they would turn their little perversions upon churches, threatening and killing innocent children in the bargain. Justice would not be swift in these cases, in some not at all.

But eventually, for at least the most notorious of them, that of the September 15, 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, it would catch up, as Robert Chambliss was convicted for the bombing in 1977, Thomas Blanton in 2001, and Bobby Frank Cherry, who had spent 37 years bragging of the crime--as sado-masochists would--in 2002. Herman Cash, (no relation to W. J. Cash), also a participant in the bombing conspiracy, escaped earthly justice through death in 1994.

These men, no doubt, thought of themselves, much as the latter day terrorist thinks of himself, as an heroic rodomontading blade striking a blow for justice and his way of life, threatened from the outside by some unseen hand, which nevertheless he knows is ever-wrenching something from him which he had or his father or grandfather before him had, something which he no longer possesses, a kind of innocence and freedom which the modern age has taken, emasculating his distinction within his own tribal unit of the family as a conquering adventurer on the high hunting ground in the hills, returning with the provender for the night, a fighter of bears and a bleeder of trees, a subduer of all which intervenes to threaten his woman and child back at the shack, a tamer of the vast wilderness to his own calm and most civilized pursuits.

But, of course, this was just his story, conjured from storybooks, read to him or half-read by him or, by 1938, being seen by him in the movies or heard on the radio. Stories taken over to supply an identity where there was none--at least none of which society told him he might be proud, none more than that of a trifling sort of shiftless do-nothing son of a moonshiner or worse.

So, to escape this useless and trapping coil, this menacing outside foeman come to strip him of all, he mentally donned his armor on a Sunday morning, ventured to the mountain again, rode his handsome gray steed hard and high upon the whiphand, to the highland call of the renegade chieftain still in his genetic flow, as he knew it was, sensed it in every quickening beat of his heart and pulse as the moment drew nearer--and, there upon that high, high hill, there to do battle with this unseen foe threatening him, he left a package for the Devil in black garb he knew only too well was the human assemblage embodying that collective ethic most responsible for this emasculation, this traitorous band who had spurned all of his caring for them, who had turned and were preaching resistance and the desire for rights to vote and to go to school with his child. There, he left his present full of sticks of dynamite laced with nails and screws and barbs, strapped to a timer. Then he rode triumphantly away and waited back at the shack ever so patiently for the hour to strike.

And when this great, brave warrior was done with his rodomontading high raid for justice and preservation of his way of life, for vengeance and deterrence to those who would dare to threaten its ancient generationally mandated hueristic mystique, especially by one so displaced from heritage that they don't even know their tribal name, their locus of origin, would not know how to read or write if the white patriarch had not taught them, this ungrateful lot, not even that, this quarry this brave blade retrieved for protection of his woman and his child and his way of life--this proved to be the limp bodies of four young girls, ages 11 to 14, named Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Addie Mae Collins.

Blurb on the Weather

Mr. Clarence Kuester will be less alert than we think he is if, in preparing his Chamber of Commerce literature for the coming year, he fails to include under the topic of Weather a few remarks like these:

October in Charlotte is really only a curtain call for Summer. Day upon day of the brightest blue follow each other in a succession that would excite comment in the locality where the weather was less admirably administered. Cases of rich October suntan are not unheard of, and were it not that the warmth of the day (87 degrees; cf., U. S. Weather Bureau) is tempered by the cool of the night (53 degrees; idem), the beneficence of the October sun might at times become uncomfortable. Too much of a good thing, in short.

Something of an actual hardship, indeed, results from October's cheerful sunniness. Restaurants and other establishments are forced to continue to operate their air-conditioning equipment almost into the Winter. But the post-seasonal expense to the proprietors of these places is more than made up to them in their capacity as householders. They do not have to start their furnaces, in short.

The best thing about such a statement of the weather case, Clarence, is that it would be literally true with respect to yesterday and approximately true with respect to all of this October's yesterdays. But the weather is a fickle jade, and as sure as we exploit her amiability she will grow perverse and send us the North Wind. But while her favor lasts, ain't it wonderful?

One More Commission

What the railroad fact-finding board, which ended its open hearings yesterday, will report to the President next week, nobody, probably not even the board itself as yet, can say. But how the mind of the chairman, North Carolina's Stacy, is working it may be gathered from a characteristic statement he made at the conclusion of the hearings:

"The time has come in this country when the man who earns his daily bread by the muscle of his arms or by the cunning of his hands deserves a larger share in the profits of his toil. But what is said of profits is not true of deficits. The two are not the same."

Yet remaining to be established as fact is that the railroads, with the increase in carloadings and higher freight rates, cannot operate at a profit. But there is one concern in the country which we know from long experience is failing signally to operate within its income, despite which it continues to ladle out in larger and larger helpings benefits of all kinds. That, of course, is the United States Government, a casual reference to whose current balance sheet will show expenditures nearly twice receipts.

Wouldn't it be an excellent idea to take a leaf from the railroad arbitration book and appoint a fact-finding commission to examine the New Deal fiscal lavishness? North Carolina's Stacy would make a competent chairman.

Masochistic Mob

Two horrid words, both derived from the names of abnormal Europeans, are sadism and masochism. The first means, approximately, to experience actual physical pleasure from the infliction of cruelties upon others, and there is a good deal of it at present in Nazi doctrines and practices. Likewise it is a moving force in Southern lynching mobs, though mobsters as a rule are unfamiliar with the term and would probably reject that analysis anyhow in favor of one attributing their behavior to a respect for womanhood (generically, of course) and the preservation of their own precarious and strictly racial supremacy.

Yesterday, however, there formed in Georgia a mob which seemed to be possessed, instead of wholly by sadism, partly by masochism. Masochism means to experience actual physical pleasure from the infliction of cruelties upon oneself. This mob, denied the gratification of torturing an alleged Negro murderer, took out its lust upon an inanimate Negro schoolhouse. The boys burned the ten-room, two-story frame building to the ground.

And thereby played a sardonic practical joke upon themselves and their race, for undoubtedly the schoolhouse will have to be rebuilt, and undoubtedly it is the white people of the community who will have to pay almost the entire cost. Nor is that the cream of the jest. Chances are the frame building will have to be replaced in more enduring brick. It would serve them right.

Payment Under Stress

How little anybody actually believes the war has been certainly and permanently averted by the Munich surrender is conclusively shown by the news that France and Britain are probably preparing to resume payments on the war debts owed this country.

It is totally unfair to lambast these countries for their failure to pay up these debts in the 1920s. They either had to pay them in gold or in goods, and they didn't have the gold to spare in quantity and the Republican tariff policy made it impossible for them to pay in goods. But they could, certainly, have paid more than they did pay, and since the beginning of the Roosevelt Administration, they have had a much better chance to pay in goods. They had the excuse, however, that they were suffering acutely from the depression. And that excuse would be better just now than at any time in the past. Faced with appalling economic and social troubles, a steadily declining currency, and the necessity of somehow raising funds for a staggering armament, the two countries are going to find the making of payments on the war debt painful indeed.

But, at that, it is perhaps as cheap a way as they can prepare for war. For, as matters stand now, they are barred by the Johnson Act from borrowing money in this country to pay for American goods. And if war comes, they are going to need those goods desperately.

First Things First

Down in the Ninth Congressional District Farmer Bob Doughton has a Republican opponent named Monroe Adams. And this Mr. Adams is running on a platform consisting quite simply of the Townsend Plan--the crackpot scheme which proposes to give everybody over sixty $200 a month from the Federal Treasury. More than that, "cells" of the Townsend movement are being set up all over the district, and, though nobody thinks it likely, the fellow is given an outside chance to beat Farmer Bob through capitalizing on the wishes of the ignorant aged.

Ah, well, now--but of course the Republican organization is rushing to disown the man and his scheme for vote-snaring? Of course, the Republican leaders are telling the voters of the Ninth District that the Republican Party is the party par excellence of "sound finance"--that ever since Populism it has stood foursquare for "sound money" and a balanced budget--and that, knowing that this goofy Townsend plan will wreck the dollar and the finances of the United States Government, it is bound in honor to warn them not to fall for it? Not so, mates. Jake Newell, State chairman of the G.O.P., announces that the party means to take no official cognizance of the case.

After all, you see, Mr. Adams is a member of the lodge. If he is elected, he can be counted on to do his level best against Roosevelt, the New Deal, and all Democrats to the end of discrediting them, getting them thrown out, and getting the Republicans back in. And meantime, his election would mean some juicy patronage to a lot of Tar Heel Republicans who are mighty hungry for it...


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