The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 29, 1941


Site Ed. Note: The first and last of the four editorials of this last official day of Cash's employment at The News were probably not by him. In any event, we strongly disagree with the first editorial: no matter how bad the crime wave, there is no justification for abuse of the civil rights of those who may or may not be involved in any criminal conduct, simply by dint of where they happen to be found, or how suspiciously they might subjectively be perceived to appear by an officer of the law; and in the long run, such abuses only lead to more crime and general disrespect for the law, even if in the short run it might prove a better crime statistic for the nonce.

Whether Cash left behind some additional editorials to finish out the week and the month, we don't know and have not read ahead to find out. Regardless, we shall finish out the remaining two days of the month for you, and we shall see...

Additionally, to afford some contrast from how the editorial column read after Cash left to that while he was aboard, we intend to provide during the next seven weeks of 2008, only in .pdf format, all of the editorial pages through July 21, 1941--which of course embraces also the Nazi invasion of Russia on June 22, the most important penultimate event leading to American involvement in the war, and the crucial initial month of that campaign which, because the lightning strike was unable to vanquish its prey with Blitzkrieg stealth and speed as in Poland, Scandinavia, the Low Countries and France, probably in the end pre-determined the defeat in the war for the Nazi.

There is an additional reason for extending to July 21 with the editorial page: Out of the Night, the 1941 best-selling autobiography of former Nazi-Soviet double-agent Jan Valtin, appeared in The News in serialized form for 43 installments spread over 50 days, starting June 2. We shall include it therefore, as it was a book on which, along with its author's peculiarly intrepid trail of intrigue, Cash had made comment three times in the column during the previous four months. (See "Free Air", February 8, 1941, "Radio Room", March 20, 1941, and "Arrested Man", March 31, 1941.)

So now, with this day passing, Cash and Mary would see their last sunset together in Charlotte before departure by the streamliner at 4:27 a.m. Friday for New Orleans, to begin what amounted to their five-month delayed honeymoon--even if the trip in late February, early March to Atlanta by way of Old Screamer Mountain in Clayton, Georgia to meet with Paula Snelling, Lillian Smith, and Karl Menninger, and, in Atlanta, Peggy Marsh and her husband, had proved, amid the obligatory book talk and signings at Rich's Department Store, a mini-honeymoon of sorts.

On the upcoming weekend, they would spend all of Saturday roaming the French Quarter, take the morning train to Austin, by way of Dallas, and there be the guest on Sunday night of Homer Rainey, the president of the University of Texas who had extended the invitation to Cash to deliver the commencement address on the warm evening of Monday, June 2 to the graduating class of 1,200 students. From Austin on Tuesday morning, it would be the train ride through San Antonio, by the Alamo, then into the endless plain terrain and rural montañas of northern Mexico, where scarcely a lone hombre could be seen save one perhaps maybe tending his goats or sheep or cattle along the wayside, finally to reach the capital, Mexico, D.F., forty-five hours out of Austin, sometime Thursday, June 5.

The day was passing.

Somewhere in the world this day, a young man--a recent visitor to Charlotte seeking a ghost writer for his father's memoirs on his time as Ambassador to Great Britain, and who had recently been rejected as a volunteer to the Army because of his bad back, but who, after several months of intensive physical training, passed the Navy's physical in August and then entered Naval Reserve service as an ensign, quickly being assigned in the fall to a desk at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington--would celebrate his 24th birthday, his last birthday probably which would not bear upon him with an ominous responsibility of one sort or another for the year to come.

Somewhere in the world this day also, there were sinister forces afoot plotting the everlasting destruction of democracy and freedom, for a thousand years to come, to enslave the world to its will. Soon, some of those forces, thought for long in amity, would clash.

Each of these opposing forces, the will to democracy and service in furtherance of that effort, and the will to enslave and destroy and brainwash and coerce others to join that effort, seem ever present with us. It is perhaps representative of the dichotomy within each individual human being among us, the effective guidance from without on the resulting war within, from a young age, being the ultimate determining factor as to which side in the end shall triumph and result in adult behavior which either engenders in others benefit or chaotic plucking at superstition and prejudice, integrity of understanding or detriment.

The day was passing. The train whistle was blowing. The time was at hand--for everyone.

Perhaps, not a little prophetically, with that insensate, intangible thing called intuition blowing its headstrong ways, even if occasionally resembling senility, nevertheless possessing the ghostly breeze which comes from it both to warn and enlighten to the necessity of insuring not just the salvation of the living but also the preservation of the spirit, the closing paragraphs of Raymond Clapper's column of the day tells us of what was coursing through the wind as the earth spun round.

In any event, should it have been senility which instructed as to how to approach this wind with steadfast resolve to head it and withstand its current, Herr Doktor, we always need more of that senile transient.

We reiterate again that the answer, in all probability, lay, and lies, in Jonah--yet with Daniel never but perhaps, say, 1,335 days behind.

The length of Cash's tenure at The News as associate editor was some 1,306 days, counting from November 1, 1937 through and including this final day.

Cash's mother, the previous Sunday, after Mary and Wilbur had departed from their last visit to Shelby, had confided sadly to Cash's sister that she had a premonition: she would never again see her eldest son alive.

Hey, ho, the wind and the rain.

Hey, nonny, nonny, hey non nonny.


The Police, At Least, Show Results In Fewer Murders

Seven murders so far this year, as against seventeen for the same period last year, is a record that the Police Department is entitled to point to with pride. Chief Joyner accounts in part for the remarkable improvement by citing the number of arrests of persons (mostly Negroes) for carrying concealed weapons: 44 in the first four months of this year contrasted to only nine in the same four months of 1940.

Closer patrolling of the Negro districts, the Chief says, has had its good effect. From time to time the police drop in on cafes, pool rooms and the like, search for weapons, pick up drunks and suspicious characters. That method of patrolling is probably illegal, and in any case ought to be conducted with the greatest respect for private rights. But the results justify it, and the purpose of it, being crime-prevention, is one that all law-abiding citizens, white and Negro, must approve.

For the remarkable drop in murders, Chief Joyner and his men are due great credit. There remains, however, as much need for diligence as before, for in the past there has been little consistency or predictability about the number of murders in any one period.

A murderless month has been followed by a month of five murders, or a murderless part month has all of a sudden been climaxed by a series of killings. Besides, a tendency which has been so marked for so long a time as has been the readiness of Charlotte Negroes to kill one another cannot be overcome in a few months by the action of the police alone.

There has been commendable improvement, but we fear that the murder problem yet remains to be approached comprehensively. Until it is, murder will break out again.

Closing Ranks

President's Speech Meets With General Approval

If the newspapers is any sort of index, the President's speech Tuesday evening met with the nation's approval and it was apparently closing ranks behind him yesterday.

Even the rabidly Republican Cincinnati Times Star, while protesting that it is not our business to police the world, went on to say:

"Mr. Roosevelt's basic argument, we take it, is that America should go along with England in holding control of the seas. With that argument, this newspaper is in general agreement."

And in Kansas City and Des Moines, the heart of the appeasement and Republican country newspapers said roundly that they approved the speech and called upon the people to support the policy loyally and whole-heartedly.

There has been much disunity in the country, and the threat of even graver disunity. But the American people who are like a gang of Kilkenny cats in ordinary times, have always closed their ranks, save for a handful of congenital objectors and traitors, when war was at hand.

The President announced a quite definite policy, one which in effect puts us in the war as a participant to the bitter end. The people seem to have been sobered by it, and the dissension appears to be dying down.

Old Habit

Mr. Roosevelt Returns to Vagueness, Half-Measures

While the nation rallied behind the bold speech of Tuesday, Mr. Roosevelt himself yesterday was apparently busily engaged in returning to confusion and vagueness.

He had promised in that speech that everything necessary to insure that our war materials reach Great Britain would be done, even if it involved shooting. The nation assumed that this probably meant convoy, and had approved in principle at least. It had also assumed that it meant the repeal of the so-called Neutrality Act.

But, no. Mr. Roosevelt yesterday assured his press conference that convoy is an old, out-of-date method and the vague thing called "patrol" was better. Maybe so. It is not for laymen to say. But to the layman's eyes it did look as though what we were probably doing was resorting in effect to convoy without calling it that. And such lack of candor was not calculated to aid American morale.

In any case, what was to be said about his denial that the Administration forces would move for the repeal of the Neutrality Act, after two Cabinet officers had proposed it? The law was manifestly in direct opposition to the purposes of the Lend-Lease Bill. And it inevitably helped to cripple the all-out aid to Britain which had been promised.

Wheeler, Nye & Co. were threatening, of course, to try to wreck the national policy, and with it the nation, if the law were challenged. But these obstructionists had to be dealt with sooner or later, and it did the President no credit even to appear to be afraid to challenge them.

A Caution*

Friends Come in Handier Than Enemies in Emergencies

With the popular backing that the Citizens Group Administration enjoys and the unity with which its seven Councilmen are proceeding to transact business, it is highly unlikely that any friendly criticism is going to have much effect. Matter of fact, the record so far suggests no great criticism.

It has made admirable choices of its City Attorney, City Recorder and Parks & Recreation Commissioners. It has acted deliberately and with due restraint.

But if there is nothing to complain of in its business transacted, the method may be open to the charge of tactlessness. See if it is not so.

Councilman Albea not only was asked to let his name be used on the Citizen Group ticket: he led the ticket. Nor was there any doubt about why he had been taken into the fold. It was with an eye to the labor vote.

Since that time Mr. Albea has been excluded from the get-togethers of the Citizens Group Councilmen. He was quite within his rights yesterday in complaining that he, labor's representative on the Council and labor's man on the Citizens Group ticket, was entitled to suggest and have considered the name of some other labor men for place on the pre-selected Parks & Recreation Commission.

The Citizens Group is under no like obligation to the three holdover Councilmen, whose defeat was openly sought. But the wiser course would be to cultivate Messrs. Hovis, Little and Ward, not to cold-shoulder them. They too are elected representatives of the people, of at least enough of the people to have carved a place on the Council, and they have shown a disposition to go along with the majority factions as agreeably as may be.

They also have been excluded, and perhaps that is all right and will have no injurious consequences.

Even so, these three with Mr. Albea make up a minority of four. Inconsiderate treatment will unify that minority. There is no common bond between the other seven Councilmen except their backing and their desire to govern wisely. Any truly controversial issue could split this faction of seven, in which case the offended faction of four might easily join with the disaffected Citizens Group Councilmen gleefully to override the will of the remainder.

That is a distinct possibility. If it should come about, it would detract from the immense potentialities of this new administration and of the organization behind it, which promises so much that is wholesome for Mecklenburg County politics and elections.

At any rate, it is a possibility worth thinking about and guarding against.

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