The Charlotte News
Friday, November 19, 1937
And, as long as we are on the subject of the anti-lynching bill then before Congress in 1937, uniformity in application of drunk driving laws, high murder statistics, and the high Bankhead taxes on the farmer exceeding the limits on cotton growing, limits to stem surplus production creating in turn an abundance of supply, thus lowering overall prices, we shall provide yet a little more on the 1958 episode of the Indians versus the Kowboys in and around Lumberton, N.C., though properly the story derived from nearby Maxton where the Klan actually tried to meet.
So, one might ask, why was it that the Klansmen were inciting a riot by having a private gathering on private property? Why were the Indians allowed to break up the meeting by use of firearms?
Candidly, those questions we cannot answer. Based on ordinary application of the law, as long as the meeting was peaceable and on private property, the Indians were likely not within their rights to break it up. The Klansmen had weapons but apparently not in violation of the laws in existence at that time, as the Sheriff could do nothing, he said, to prevent the meeting in advance.
But, the Klansmen came into the community, having announced their meeting in advance, and done so in the wake of publicized reports of cross-burnings on several properties in the community, including that of a white family "by mistake", all stimulated from tension over interracial dating between Caucasians and Native Americans, the announced purpose of the Klan meeting having been to preserve the racial integrity of the white race against mongrelization—which apparently had already been occurring since 1588 or thereabouts. But, never too late to make a start, as they say.
The stories had appeared in the Robesonian during the days preceding the meeting.
And, obviously, therefore, one of the local boys, figuring it was high time to put an end to this integration notion being stirred up by the movies and the tv and what-not, called the Klan Kleagle and the Klan Kleagle called the Klan Kloogle and the Klan Kloogle called the Klan Klaggle, who then rounded up the whole Klan Klabble, all done of course in Klandestined fashion, to come to Maxton for the party.
As we say, both then and in hindsight, we are glad the Indians prevailed, even if the method employed technically broke a few laws. For the Klan party in this instance was plainly up to no good when the partiers arrived drunk, with shotguns, and with hoods and robes. Rides and lynchings were apt to follow—or at least plain murder, if not that night, then soon, as the boys were being stirred to the boiling point deliberately against the Reds.
While in hindsight, perhaps, the whole thing reads as being not just a little silly, it could have been otherwise, of course. And the way it turned out, sounding not just a little silly, would have been far better followed by the men of Gettysburg, for instance, such that Mr. Lincoln would not have had to go there on this date in 1863 to deliver a dedicatory address to the dead reposited in the cemetery along the ridge. The practice by the remaining survivors 75 years later in 1938 was the far better approach.
But, by 1958, everybody had been to see Audie Murphy at the theater, and so…
By this time we have got to taking a kind of morbid pride in reading the Uniform Crime Reports of the FBI. Take Volume VIII, Number 3--Third Quarterly Bulletin, 1937, the latest, which has just come in.
It shows among other things that, in the first nine months of the year, the general average of murders and non-negligent homicides for 87 representative American cities with from 50,000 to 100,000 population was--5.8 per 100,000. And Charlotte's rate? Well, Charlotte had 20 out and out murders, which would be 22 per 100,000. As for non-negligent homicides, the figures aren't available.
That is to say, we had more than five times as many such deaths as the average town of our size in these United States. By golly, there is something besides moral fervor that we go in for on a really grand scale, isn't there? And nobody can accuse us of being measly or chincy about anything we seriously set ourselves to, can they?
The Lodge Meets
"I know a lot of you will be ashamed when you do it and more ashamed after you do it.... But I don't blame you folks who need the votes and have to have them to be elected."
Thus Tom Connally, Senator in Congress from Texas, paying his regards to the majority of his confreres whom he suspects to be about to vote for the Wagner anti-lynching bill.
Well, Tom has sometimes indulged in heavy sarcasm. And so maybe yesterday he was going in for irony. There was plenty of room in that "I don't blame you folks who need the votes," surely. For what it seems to say is that the job is the thing. Loyalty to principle, personal integrity, devotion to the public interest--we all admire them things of course, gents, but what I always say is that the first thing is to get a seat at the table. That's what Tom seems to be saying--and that's pretty raw.
And besides, isn't there about the way Tom said it the ring of something most remarkably reminiscent of one lodge brother addressing other lodge brothers in confidential key?
Two decisions handed down by the State this week in regard to drunken driving seemed to be in essential agreement. Governor Hoey commuted the thirty-day road sentence of R. E. Sentelle, a politician from Brunswick County, who was convicted of drunken driving in Montgomery County a few months ago. The Governor gave as his reasons that it was a first offense and that no injury resulted to either person or property. At about the same time, in Superior Court here Judge Wilson Warlick was sentencing Mrs. R. E. Campbell to two to three years in State's prison for drunken driving which resulted in the death of a Washington woman last August 6.
From these two cases, then, one might deduce that it is the practical rule of North Carolina law that a man who drives drunk but injures no one nor anything may be let off with a fine, but that whoever does injure somebody or something must go to jail. We recall, however, that such is not always the rule. A few months ago Judge Rousman, sitting in Superior Court here, was strictly enforcing a rule that all persons convicted of drunken driving must serve a jail sentence. And there have been other North Carolina judges, we believe, who followed the same course.
What is obviously needed here is examination. For any or all these [indiscernible words] more or less good arguments can be made. But in any event the State should adopt some uniform rule of procedure in such cases, and follow it wherever it leads.
Let's Be Realistic*
The papers these last few days have been full of good tax news from Washington. The business barometer has been falling pretty sharply, and Congress seems to have come around at last to the realization that the capital gains tax and the undistributed profits tax are having a lot to do with it. From the floor and the corridors and the cloakrooms are heard such expressions as: "We must free business from these binders;" "Give business a chance;" "Have pity on the small business man, at least."
Business itself, on the theory of any old port in a storm, is compounding the illusion that merely a change in the method of collecting taxes would cause the winds to moderate and the waters to recede. It might help, to be sure; but, come; let's be realistic about the beginnings of this depression, as we could bring ourselves to be at the onset of the last. It is the amount of the national income expropriated by the Federal Government that is stalemating recovery. As long as some nine billions annually are necessary to support the New Deal in the style to which it has become accustomed, there is no possible way to make the collection of those billions painless.
Disguise the process as much as possible, soak only the rich and get it out of the hides of big corporations alone, the fact remains that it is the amount of money siphoned out of the earnings of business, rather than the manner of siphoning it, that is at the bottom of our troubles.
As soon as we saw that Dr. A. J. Barton of Wilmington was on the resolutions committee of the North Carolina Baptist Convention, we were on the lookout for fireworks about firewater. Dr. Barton never disappoints.
The liquor resolution adopted gave the last Legislature Hail Columbia. The local option act, it asserted, was passed "in the face of the unquestioned fact, well-known to the Legislature, that the state of North Carolina as a whole was utterly opposed to the liquor traffic." The convention randomly applauded the declaration that every member of the Legislature who voted to foist this--this--this nefarious liquor traffic upon our people should be "promptly, effectively and permanently retired to private life."
That last can't take place before 1938. Meanwhile, what about the "unquestionable fact" that the state as a whole was dry? Our unofficial tabulations of the voting in the counties that have called local option elections since the Legislature met shows that the wets are in the lead 39,842 votes to 37,250. To be sure, the counties that have called elections are, in all probability, so dry that they perceive the futility of it. On the other hand, the 18 Eastern counties that were already wet ditched prohibition with a whoop and a series of landslides.
We do believe, candidly, that the state as a whole was and is dry--but by the narrowest of margins. And going by the only current indication available--that is, actual votes cast in local liquor elections--the state as a whole is really slightly moist.
Senator Bankhead of Alabama wants his jettisoned compulsory cotton crop law reenacted all over again for the next two years, save that now he wants to raise the tax on farmers who grow more than they are told to grow from 50% of their surplus to 75%.
Well, it's possible to feel a certain sympathy with the Senator's purpose. Cotton production is obviously bound up with the "general welfare" and particularly the welfare of the South. And in view of this year's crop in the steadily falling foreign market, it might be desirable to reduce the planting for the next two years from the present 36,000,000 acres to the 25,000,000 acres the Senator proposes.
But what about the constitutionality of the thing? The Bankhead Act was so obviously unconstitutional under the majority opinion of the Supreme Court in the AAA case that Congress beat the Court to its invalidation. And that there is any hope from the augmented left flank of the Court seems extremely dubious. For, while three most liberal of the Justices, Brandeis, Stone, and Cardozo, dissented from the AAA death-sentence, yet in that very dissenting opinion they had to say, and with pointed reference to the Bankhead Law, first, that economic coercion was undoubtedly unconstitutional, and secondly that:
"Threat of loss, not hope of gain, is the essence of economic coercion..."
And isn't it manifestly by "the threat of loss" that the Senator proposes to enforce his scheme?
Site Ed. Note: The rest of the editorial page for the day is here. We have to question that punt record, incidentally, as we think there could be no such thing actually as a 132-yard punt, for that would be a touchback. Anyway, maybe in those days, in that league, you had to scrimmage from wherever the ball landed. Also, the punter, we find, went on to be a star baseball player at the University of Southern California; whether he could use his punting skills in that game, we don't know. Maybe he was able to punt a few over the fence. Maybe they had somewhat different rules back then.
We think we shall go fix us up one of those rabbit gums out in the woods so as to have us a nice Thanksgiving meal.
Look, there, here comes one now.
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