The Charlotte News

Wednesday, November 24, 1937


Site Ed. Note: Speaking of G-Men, today’s prints carries a letter from the head G-Man in praise of an editorial of October 25 regarding the "mal-administration of parole". We have not yet provided that editorial, but soon.

Did J. Edgar Hoover then consequently become a regular reader of The News?

Miss Dixie served in her spousal-appointed capacity as Senator from Alabama for five months until early January, 1938, after a special election could be held to fill the seat vacated by Hugo Black when he joined the Supreme Court. Miss Dixie was succeeded by Lister Hill, an ardent segregationist who refused to recognize the validity of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

Mister Dixie was Exalted Cyclops of the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, and also a founding board member in 1927 of Bob Jones College, established originally in Panama City, Florida, before it found segregated sanctuary eventually elsewhere in the universe. (Maybe they read all about their founding principles in the Ripley’s of this date. Who the hell knows—or really cares?)

Speaking of sit-ins, filibusters, and cold in Greensboro, we thought we would provide a brief retrospective on the nation’s first sit-in demonstration to protest segregated public lunch counter facilities, occurring in Greensboro during the week of February 1 through 8, 1960. The African-American students from North Carolina A&T, initially four, by the second day, 30, humbly and politely took their places awaiting service, and were ignored, by tradition. The tradition was that they could be served standing, but not sitting. The store claimed that the waitresses were simply too busy to serve everybody, managed to overlook the African-American students who sat down at the counter, were not deliberately ignoring or refusing to serve.

The newspaper in Burlington, just 15 miles from Greensboro, ignored the whole thing the first couple of days, but began to take notice when some white high school student hecklers began showing up to hog the seats at the lunch counter so that the students could not even sit down.

Some ugly confrontations, initiated by the white students, then ensued, as briefly chronicled.

The demonstration, having started at Woolworth, spread to Kress. And three white women students from Greensboro Women’s College, later UNC-G, showed up also in support of the A&T students. The white high schoolers, however, now outnumbered the sit-in demonstrators.

Eventually, by the weekend, the KKK Klud showed up to offer protection to the nice little white boys and girls upholding Aryan superiority.

The demonstration then spread to Durham, where students of both Duke and North Carolina College, later North Carolina Central University, began sitting in likewise at segregated dime store lunch counters. Demonstrations also took place at the Kress store in Winston-Salem.

Eventually, as tensions heightened, racial epithets flying, the stores closed their doors to everybody, white and black alike, all treated indiscriminately, as long as they were on the outside, all troublemakers, all agitators--and the A&T students finally agreed to a two-week cooling-off period.

It was an humble beginning—30 young men and women college students, inspired no doubt by what had occurred in Montgomery in 1956 with Rosa Parks refusing to move to the back of the bus. It was an humble beginning. But one which would have resounding impact far and wide eventually, all over the South, all over the country, all leading to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

And this substantial part of it began with 30 college students in Greensboro who refused to surrender their Constitutional rights to tradition and loud-mouth hecklers.

The hecklers, the white high school youth, none of whom could even vote, are, in one sense, inconsequential. They were simply immature Kuku recruits.

But it remains hard today to realize that as late as 1960 in North Carolina there was still extant a tradition of not even allowing African-Americans to sit at a Woolworth lunch counter to have a club sandwich, one barely fit to eat to begin with, even if it was decorated by a toothpick with colored cellophane strung all around it like that in a cute little bow.

In the midst of it all, Richard Nixon cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate to thwart a bill to provide Federal aid for school construction and higher teacher salaries, because, he said, he believed school operations should be left to the states. But, Mr. Nixon would avow in August, right there in Greensboro at the skating party he and his wife hosted, that he was all for civil rights, just thought the Federal government's role in enforcing them should be limited.

John F. Kennedy carried North Carolina on November 8, 1960 by 58,000 votes, 5% of the total. The trend would continue in 1964. But, save for 1976, North Carolina has uniformly voted since, in varying degrees, for the Republican candidate for President.

Miss Dixie died in January, 1965, some six months before the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, finally enabling all United States citizens to vote. Whether she ever got to tell her great-grandchildren about her five months in the Senate or about her husband, the Governor, who doubled in his spare time as Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, we don’t know.

Poor Things

Greensboro is a town some eighty miles northeast of here, and time and again we have noticed how in cold snaps the thermometer falls much lower in Greensboro than it does on top of the Charlotte post office. A couple of years ago it got so bitterly cold in Charlotte that the temperature went to an almost unheard of 8 above zero. But, ha! in Greensboro it went to 3.

Monday night, the lowest reading in the city of Charlotte was 21 degrees, which is cold enough, we wot, but not nearly so cold as the minimum of 14 degrees that the good Greensburghers had to endure. It's a blanket's difference, at least.

Whether outcroppings of the ancient Uwharries interpose to break the force of the frigid blasts or the Gulf Stream is closer on account of that great bay in the Atlantic or God simply and justly tempers the winds in Mecklenburg lambs, we know not. But we believe that comparative temperature readings in Charlotte and Greensboro, only eighty miles apart as the crow flies, will show a constant mildness in favor of the Queen City.

Dixie's Big Moment

When Senator Dixie Graves is a very old woman dreaming by the fire, no doubt her great-grandchildren will implore her after this fashion:

"Granny Miss Dixie, tell us about the time you sat in the seat of the Vice President and presided over the Senate that made laws for a hundred and thirty million Americans."

And Granny Dixie will beam, and begin:

"Well, my dears, there I sat--"

"Ah, but Granny Miss Dixie, the people of Alabama must have thought you a very great woman and must have greatly loved you to have sent you to that high place in those parlous times."

"Well, no, my dears, I don't know that I could rightly say that. You see--."

"But oh, then, however did you come to be there, Granny Miss Dixie?"

"Well, darlings, your great-grandpapa Bibb was Governor of the State, and he had the appointing of a Senator to fill the shoes of Mr. Black who had been promoted to glory, and dear Bibb thought that it would be perfectly ducky to have me a Senator, and I--"

"You must have been very proud, sitting there, Granny Miss Dixie."

"I was, my dears."

Debts and the Tax Dollar*

North Carolina is getting, and deserves, favorable notice for the rate at which she is paying off her State and local debts. Governor Hoey came out with a proud statement on it the other day showing a net reduction in bonded indebtedness of nearly $50,000,000 in the last five years. The Governor might have added, truthfully, that North Carolina had a larger debt still to pay off than all the states but six, an adverse statistic which he might have ameliorated with the comparison that since 1932 only five other states have brought their debts down at all.

At the same time, the picture of the State Government applying about a third of its revenue to debt payments and of the local governments devoting anywhere from half to three-fourths of their revenue to the same purpose, is no longer in issue. Two years ago the State was allotting 27.8% of its expenditures to debt service; this year, 20.5%. Three years ago Mecklenburg County applied 50.3¢ of each tax dollar to debt service. This year but 29.5¢ goes to that devoir.

The same gross retirements are there, to be sure, but the ratio between them and final expenditures has changed unmistakably in the last year or so. The explanation is not hard to find. New expenditures, such as Social Security, and greater expenditures all along the line have combined to reduce the percentage of revenue which goes for debt service. North Carolina is not only paying out; she is paying in.

Bad Bears and Nice Bulls*

Mr. Roosevelt's SEC Commissioner Douglas has handed the New York Stock Exchange a stiff jolt. He likens the recent tumbling market to a casino, in which the brokers have taken an inside part. In five leading stocks, 25 per cent of all the trading was short selling; and of this short selling, 46 per cent was done by members of the exchange for their own account. This bears out the general belief that the public is always bullish and that the sheep-shearing on the short side is always done by professionals: but in Mr. Douglas's eyes, it does more than that. It shows that the professionals--i.e., the shorts in this instance--far from being the stabilizing influence they claim to be,

"... accentuate a declining market by selling short for speculative profit at a time when public distress adds a factor of demoralization."

Well, Mr. Douglas seems to have sketched the outlines of a case against stock exchange members, and we are entertaining the notion that the indictment should have been made. At the same time, there are two kinds of markets that are demoralized. One is a runaway bear market; the other a runaway bull market. If it is a sin for professionals to capitalize on one, and hang public interest! why, it is no less reprehensible to put the other to their own use. And to save us we cannot imagine an SEC commissioner's disclosing dramatically that professionals have been caught ganging up to make securities prices rise.

Greater regulation of stock markets may be desirable and may be necessary, but it is a funny thing how the threat is made always after stocks have been going down and never after they have been going up. What's good for Paul ought to be good enough for Silas too, not to mention the Hebrew children.

Speaking of Confidence*

One thing more about the "public distress" engendered by the downhill stock market of the last few weeks:

Mr. Douglas speaks of greater public confidence in exchanges and the prices fixed thereon. The obvious retort for Wall Street to make to this is, "What about public confidence in the administration?" Something has happened to bring operations in the steel industry in one year down from 74.3 per cent of capacity to 31 per cent, and a great finger is pointing at the New Deal's undistributed profits tax, which is especially harmful to durable goods industries. Steel does business principally with corporations which are taxed out of sight if they reinvest their earnings in plant expansions and new equipment.

And again as to confidence, current Treasury reports are not the most reassuring things in the world. Take that for November 20, which shows expenditures since July 1 to be 736 millions of dollars greater than receipts--and receipts have been 2.233 millions of dollars. Such profligate management of the people's own business can hardly be said to encourage confidence in business generally and the safety of investments.

Strange Bedfellows

One of the assumptions commonly taken for granted in international affairs is that of the solidarity of the so-called fascist bloc of nations--i.e., Italy, Germany and Japan. But as a matter of fact, it seems a somewhat dubious one.

Japan, to begin with, is not really fascist at all. It is simply a still more or less feudal nation, masquerading in the form of a parliamentary state, and actually dominated by a military clique. And Japan's efforts to hog the trade of the Orient is quite as unwelcome to Germany and Italy as to England and France and the United States.

Even when we turn to the Berlin-Rome axis itself, solidarity is far from certain. Hitler in Mein Kampf expressly lays down the doctrine that "Germany's destiny" lies in Central and Eastern Europein the seizure, that is, of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Russian Ukraine. And only Sunday he was repeating that all over again in Stuttgart. But Mussolini dreads the idea of a great German state on his northern border and himself has ambitions in Central Europe. Didn't he march out in battle array to stop the Nazi putsch in Austria? And at this moment his greatest fortifications are those being built on the Brenner Pass. His interests here, indeed, lie with Russia and not with Germany. And ironically enough, if Germany should begin actively to move toward the East and South, an Italian-Russian alliance might easily be the result. For the Duce exhibits none of the intense ideological hate toward the Soviet State that Hitler has. He willingly uses it as a Red herring, indeed. But what actually seems to move him in all cases is simply expediency.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i>--</i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.