The Charlotte News

Monday, August 8, 1938


Site Ed. Note: ...Okay, so it's an inane world. We rather like our mistaken impression beneath the magnifier anyway, with that Latin feel to it.

We got that new record, by the way. They gave us a free tee-shirt with it, too. Says on the back,"You can fall back or fight your best on the front lines..." The tee-shirt's nice, and we'll wear it while biking and running.

The record is even better. We like it.

It will take us awhile though to provide any detailed review. It always does.

But, just as a sample, we like that song, "Beyond the Horizon". It reminds us of some things. The tune we vaguely think we may have heard before when we were little tykes. Came to us in the shower. But, like they say, nothing is new or absolutely original under the red sky, somewhere out there. (If it were truly so to our perceptions, after all, we'd run like it was, well, from Mars. We always do anyway.) Besides if it isn't derivative of something, it is probably advertising, not art. Pass it on.

When we first heard that similar tune, we were standing on a terrace, walled by green blocks, facing the dark, foreboding swamp by the Lumbee. (Our mama never let us wander to the river; might jump in and drown. The earnestness of youth can cause a drift too far from shore. We wandered down through the swamp sometimes though, on the sly. Looking for those lost pups in the tree trunk.)

We remember that song--maybe it was '56--right between "Standing on the Corner" and "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?"

Someone right about then must have passed by on the highway there, right by the front of the broad sandy pine-green yard, in a white sport coat, driving a fast car, on their way to somewhere from nowhere, one hand on the rudder, one on the rope--must have been. On down the highway to Maxton and points west generally, maybe Asheville, Nashville, maybe even as far as Memphis, way gone, never to be seen by us again.

Ah, but heard, yes, heard maybe, right there on the radio. The next year or the next, after they hit it big.

Somewhere out there, somewhere.

Do you remember that?

Sand and surf, swamps by the turf, hurricane winds, seashells with a ukelele--all that'll do that to you, especially when you're just a little tyke.

Got a two-fer, in fact, down there at the record store, somewhere in Georgia. Another new one out by Muddy, about a month ago. Liked that one, too.

On the way back from the store on our bike, about 10:00 at night, on along Telegraph, turned the corner to the left, realized that this Samuel Clemens summer night was too chilly for our open green jacket on our breezy bike, flapping. Pulled up on the curb momentarily to fasten the front of our green jacket. Saw someone then and there we didn't know, someone lost in a song, just dancing and swaying to the music in her head, right there in front of the university gate. A couple of weeks earlier we had seen the same person we didn't know on the subway train as it passed along above the ground. She was swaying and singing to the song in her head then, too. Eyes closed both times, as the train moved on through space and time, 'round and 'round the tracks, fast and faster. We figure she must be a musicologist.

Just a fantasy note for brass and woodwinds, nothing else.

The Record Is Straight*

Mr. Kenneth Reed, alias John Cothan, has our congratulations. He will not have to stay awake nights hereafter and lie listening for the fateful hammering on the door. He can pass through the streets now, and not know sudden terror when a stranger glances at him or the cop on the beat strolls behind him. The record is straight, and at last he is a really free man.

He turned criminal because he forgot that even though you may have had a raw deal, you cannot take the law into your own hands; and the hard doctrine that, if the law provides no remedy for what you think a raw deal, you simply have to grin and bear it. He broke the law again when he escaped, but the common feeling of humanity has not much blamed him for that, and his five years of exemplary life after escape proved beyond reasonable doubt that he was no criminal at heart, and that no good purpose would have been served by his going through the harsh sentence originally passed upon him. So it was probably the luckiest day in his life, that one a year ago when the cops found out who he was and came for him. It must have been tough, that year in prison. But now the record is straight, and he can walk free, without fear.

We wish Mr. Reed luck. And confidently express our belief that he has had his last business with the law.

Crump Reigns

Boss Crump has thoroughly demonstrated who it is that rules Tennessee. It's Boss Crump. In 1936 Governor Gordon Browning won his post by the greatest majority ever with Boss Crump's backing. Then Mr. Browning decided to branch out on his own and oppose the Boss. And now Mr. Browning and his candidate for Senator, the present Senator George L. Berry, have been overwhelmed by Boss Crump's candidates. Browning contributed to his own undoing by playing too high and mighty, as Berry did with his curious marble claims against TVA, but it is plain nonetheless that Boss Crump is the true master of Tennessee.

The news is none too pleasant, either. Mr. Browning and Mr. Berry can be consigned to oblivion without a tear. But Boss Crump's methods at the ballot box have in Memphis had a curious family resemblance to those of Boss Pendergast in Kansas City and those of Boss Frank (I am the Works) Hague in Jersey City. Moreover, the resemblance to Hague goes further. Crump rules Memphis absolutely. Nobody can have a job in the City administration there without his consent. And in Memphis the Mayor and the Police Commissioner have for nearly a year been carrying on a war to deprive the CIO of its civil rights under the constitution--riding them out of town and beating them up, precisely as Hague does in Jersey City.

It is not comforting to think that the spirit which rules there is now definitely in the saddle in a whole state.


The nomination of Senator Barkley is indubitably a pretty clearcut victory for the New Deal. It is undoubtedly true that the local WPA administrators in Kentucky have used every resource at their command, including, perhaps, intimidation, to make sure that all those on relief rolls and all those connected with them should vote "right." And the administration at Washington [has certainly used every grape-vine] avenue of approach, as well as direct endorsement, to secure the return of "Dear Alben." And indeed, in view of the extraordinary swiftness with which WPA employees were added in the last days of the campaign and the strikingly favorable wage increases granted WPA men in Kentucky, it is difficult not to believe that the powers at Washington have not directly connived at the local administrator's purposes in WPA.

But it is just as certainly true that Chandler used the state employees exactly as WPA was used on the other side, and that large sums of money were poured into his cause by Anti-New Deal interests from outside the state. Furthermore, Chandler is personally one of the most popular men in Kentucky, and conducted his campaign on the same popular basis which elected Mr. O'Daniel in Texas, whereas "Dear Alben" is a pretty stodgy sort. So, on the whole, the monkey business pretty well balances out.

Like it or not, the New Deal plainly remains popular. It has lost ground in the upper classes rapidly, but the masses are still pretty solid for it. And these masses make up the majority.

Fair And Unfair

Disappointing though it is to the wets, the outcome of the ABC election in Catawba County was very much what was to be expected. Those familiar with the state's history and the psychology of its people, have repeatedly prophesied that the wets could not win any such election in the West--certainly west of Charlotte. And so far none has been won west of Durham. All these counties west of Charlotte, save only Buncombe and Gaston, are predominantly rural. So far as the towns go, most of them seem, like Charlotte, to be wet. Both Hickory and Newton went wet in Catawba. But, like Charlotte again, they are wet only by a fairly small margin. And in the rural districts--

In the rural districts the ministers serve almost exclusively as leaders of the people. And practically the whole body of these ministers holds to two propositions: First that any drinking at all is wrong and that teetotalism is the only Christian position, and (2) that prohibition is equal to teetotalism. The last cannot be made to fit with the facts, but it has all the value of a religious dogma, and no amount of fact-quoting or logic has any effect upon it. So the rural districts vote overwhelmingly dry and cancel out the small wet majority of the towns.

And, under the principle of local option which we have uniformly supported, that seems fair enough--for counties like Catawba where the towns are still small enough to remain an integral part of the rural community surrounding them. But we do not believe it is fair for Charlotte. For Charlotte long ago grew up to be a unit in its own right--a unit more and more completely urban. And it ought to have the right to settle its own affairs in the light of its urban needs regardless of the opinions of the farmers living about it.

More Jaypee Justice

The case of the unnamed magistrate at Sanford, uncovered by Chief of Detectives Frank Littlejohn, is another choice piece of proof that the jaypee system is rotten to the core. Two boys, wanted here for storebreaking, fled to Florida, were returned, and upon their return told the chief at Sanford they were taken from a freight train by a Sanford cop and haled before this Bridlegoose who proceeded to assess them $13. For $7 of that he took the watch which one of them had in his possession, and, exacting a promise that they'd send him the rest, let them proceed. But when the chief began to make inquiries from the Sanford police, the fellow hastily called up, promised to return the watch, and "asked for the boys' names, explaining that he did not have a record!"

What he has coming to him is plain enough. But the removal from office and the jailing of an individual caught red-handed is not going really to cure the case. Some of the magistrates in the state are honest men, of course, and some of them are more or less capable of discharging the functions of their office. But the power of appointment has been so abused by both the Legislature and the Governor's office that it is a fair guess that the majority of them are unfit on the one count or the other.

If the system is to be perpetuated at all, then, obviously, certain minimum changes are called for, as (1) the cancellation of outstanding commissions, so as to start clean from scratch; (2) the adoption of popular election, so as to stop the appointment of illiterates and scoundrels as a reward for political services and so as to give their potential victims at least some chance to insure themselves fair treatment; (3) the setting up of, say, a high school education and an elementary knowledge of the law as minimum educational requirements; (4) the establishment of a character for intelligence and decency acceptable, say, to a Superior Court judge; (5) the drastic reduction of their numbers; and (6) the abolition of the fee system, which is the greatest single source of trouble.

But perhaps the system ought to be discarded altogether as an anachronism no longer workable. A system of small claims courts, regularly organized as part of the judiciary, would probably do the job infinitely better and cost the State less in the long run.

Site Ed. Note: The other limericks and remarcable dogs of the day, and other really big shoes...

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