The Charlotte News

Monday, September 5, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "...[T]hey encased their necks in stocks which must have made it nearly impossible for them to breathe in warm weather." The last paragraph of "Report for the Future" was mildly humorous in September, 1938, but that single line above haunts when juxtaposed to the way Cash was found hanging on July 1, 1941.

As to "Toll of Speed", Wilkinson Boulevard running out of Charlotte to Gastonia, eventually to Shelby, an early four lane non-controlled access road, became known as "Blood Alley" by the 1950's. By the time Charlotte established its racetrack in the late '50's many thought the road's repute for speed derived from the Saturday afternoon crowds getting out and emulating the NASCAR drivers they had witnessed running round and round the steeped macadam. But 'twould appear it was surly with speed long before that, even in the jalopy coupe age of 1938, though more treacherous it would become with the coming of the sleeked, four-barreled jobs of 1955 and onward.

For more on the increasing division in labor between AFL and CIO, as discussed in "Growing Pains", and the eventual demise of Homer Martin, head of the AFL branch of the United Auto Workers' Union, see "Homer Yorick", August 21, 1939. AFL was founded in 1886 as a parent organization for each craft union, rather than industry-wide unions. The unions themselves were the members of AFL, not the inidvidual workers. The organization was against political activity, but fought for and obtained shorter hours and minimum wages, as well child labor laws. In 1935, CIO was formed under John L. Lewis, head of UMW, as a parent organization to industry-wide unions internationally, making no hesitancy of taking stands on political issues affecting labor. When the two organizations merged in 1955 to combat perceived anti-union activity by the Eisenhower Administration, AFL was run by George Meany and CIO was run by Walter Reuther, the former having a membership of about ten million and the latter, five million.

Toll of Speed

A sudden and most gory death of death to whole families, indiscriminately to young and old, a violent death, have the newspaper been full these last days. Of death whose first cause is speed--the speed of vehicles which transport man faster than the winds on land and water and in the air. Of speed mechanically obtained but humanly controlled, therefore of speed subject always to miscalculation, mischance, misuse.

A momentary slip can produce tragedies such as those of the collision of a bus and a family automobile on the Wilkinson Boulevard, with immediate death to five persons and injury to numerous others, the collision in two automobiles on the old Salisbury Road, with death to one young woman and injury to other passengers, the crashing of a Royal Air Force plane in a London suburb, with death to ten persons and grave injury to many others. And at the air races in Cleveland a young chap in a diminutive plane zooms around a ten-mile course at 250 miles an hour, safe only so long as his speed is uninterrupted.

For the shining wings of speed are fragile things, which all too often break into processions down dark aisles on leaden feet. Accidents, they call them, but speed is by design, and so death by speed is not against man's volition. Else he would slow down.

In a Small Town

We, what with new hospitals, new population, new streets and big-time rackets, are getting to be quite a metropolis, thank Heaven, and yet, thank Heaven, the signs still linger that Charlotte is small-townish. Now and then, in one way or another, these indications are revealed to us.

The other day a lady across town where the hundred-foot building lots are, sent word by a street bus driver to tell somebody over in Greenville to take word to her vacationing cook to return to work next Tuesday. He did and the cook came back. You don't do that sort of thing in a metropolis.

A cop took a roistering youth under his wing downtown late at night and called the lad's pop, the cop's old friend who clips coupons for a living, and held the boy in the rear of a restaurant until the father appeared. Small-townish, but nice.

A taxi-driver had a busy day just at the time he was engaged in a real estate deal, so his lawyer rode around with him long enough to get the necessary information.

A merchant was in favor of the hospital bond election, but his wife wasn't, so the merchant got the preacher to call and convince her, which he did.

One of the good dry citizens became run down and thought if he had a little liquor it would help his distemper, but he didn't want to break the law. So he got his elder to arrange it for him.

Someday, perhaps, we will grow into a metropolis and these things won't happen--more's the pity. There's a lot of obligingness in a small town. There's more time to be accommodating.

An Eminent Catholic

Patrick Joseph Cardinal Hayes, who died yesterday, was another of the many Americans who rose from poverty and obscurity to great eminence. He was born of Irish immigrant parents in the slums of New York, became an orphan at an early age. His Catholic schooling brought out qualities of devotion and application which later carried him rapidly upward in his chosen work. His genius was more largely administrative than evangelistic, which probably accounted for his selection as head of all Catholic chaplains of American forces in the World War.

In the last year of the war, he was made archbishop. Six years later he got his red hat, symbol of cardinalcy, whose wearers constitute the Sacred College, advisers to the Pope and after him the highest dignitaries in the Catholic hierarchy. The greatest manifestation of Cardinal Hayes' churchly eminence took place in 1935, when he was designated the Pope's official representative at the Cleveland Eucharistic Congress.

Cardinal Hayes, whose New York archdiocese is the richest in the world, usually contributing more to the support of the Church than all of Europe, was noted for his charities, his simplicity, his friendliness, and above all for his Americanism.

Growing Pains

The tone to take, we suppose, on this Labor Day, 1938, is extreme pessimism. Labor is a house bitterly divided. William Green and John L. Lewis have a feud on, and John L. Lewis and Homer Martin have a feud on, and Homer Martin and Brother Frankensteen, et al., have a feud on. The Dies Committee investigating un-American activities has proved, to its own satisfaction, at any rate, that Communists are strongly entrenched in CIO and the AFL has proved to its own satisfaction that it has got one raw deal after another from the Labor Relations Board.

It's a mess, and no denying it. But there are compensating factors. For one, the rights of organization and collective bargaining have been defined by law and generally accepted in the practice by industry. The standard work-week is down to 40 hours. The employers of the nation are dedicated, for the most part, to a policy of maintaining wages on as high a scale as possible. Unemployment and old age insurance are fixtures, and child labor, the employment of women workers and conditions of work for all ages and sexes are stringently regulated by most of the states.

In these years immediately past, American Labor has made perhaps the most single advance of all eras toward its objectives. All it needs to consolidate those gains is to overcome the dissension in its own ranks, to inculcate discipline and responsibility into the body of unionized workers, and to co-operate in any feasible proposal to make our economy work again. On this Labor Day, we find, Labor has everything to be thankful for except Labor.

Report for the Future

In the Westinghouse laboratories in New York, they are building a "time capsule," to serve as a "tomb for the Machine Age," so that the people 5,000 years from now may know what we were like. As far as that goes, the tune is unlikely to last so long as the tombs of Akhnaton or Tutankamen; for the outer shell is to be made of metals which are useful to the race of warmakers which is spreading over the earth. And so the time capsule is most likely to go the way of the Colossus of Rhodes, another "deathless monument" for posterity.

But maybe it is just as well. For in that tomb they are going to place, among other things, specimens of modern art, our clothes generally, and a woman's hat in the mode. They are going to place books there, too, apparently. The books are very likely to turn to dust. Moreover, it is quite possible that English will be as completely forgotten by that time as worthy Egyptian hieroglyphics when the tombs began to be opened, and that there will be no Rosetta stone around to furnish a key. Likely, the men of 5,000 years hence would have to decipher the meaning of the contents of that tomb by purely archaeological methods. And, ah, masters, can't you see that report? Thus--

"The males of that benighted race, which was apparently less than human, seem to have been obsessed with some cult of the lower animals, for they went about encased in garments manifestly designed to imitate as closely as possible the pelt of a polar bear; and, probably for superstitious reasons, they encased their necks in stocks which must have made it nearly impossible for them to breathe in warm weather. Male and female alike, they seem to have been either of very primitive cortical development or to have been uniformly nutsy, for they made hen-tracks on canvas for art, and do not appear to have considered it funny. And as for the women as such--they must have been the most grotesque of creatures. From their garments, we judge that their bodies were not unlike those of our own women, though they ran curiously to a unnormal extremes--either too skinny or too fat. But their heads, judging from their hats, were apparently about the size of those of our dolls and flat, perfectly flat, on top..."


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