Fiery “America First” Dakotan takes on Tar Heels

The controversy between isolationists and interventionists became an unusually rugged affair with no holds barred on either side. . . . The name-calling, mud-slinging, and smearing on both sides made the foreign policy debate a poor place for the sensitive or fainthearted.  Each side welcomed almost any chance to discredit the opposition.

—Wayne S. Cole in Gerald P. Nye and American Foreign Relations

It was Armistice Day—Tuesday, 11 November 1941— and United States Senator Gerald P. Nye’s speech at the University of North Carolina, announced to the student body that day—was still a week away.  Despite the frivolity of Sadie Hawkins Day events during the weekend, peace was not on the horizon.  In the opening sentence of his front-page article of The Daily Tar Heel, writer Paul Komisaruk predicted the nature of the upcoming event:

National politics and policies erupt from the Memorial hall rostrum next Tuesday night as North Dakota’s Old Guard isolationist, Senator Gerald P. Nye, attacks New Deal measures before a Chapel Hill audience under the auspices of the CPU [Carolina Political Union].

On that same November 11th evening, Vichy France‘s ambassador to the United States, Gaston Henry-Haye, was the International Relations Club (IRC) speaker at Memorial Hall.  Appointed by Chief of State Philippe Pétain in 1940, it was to be Henry-Haye’s “first public proclamation” since his appointment.  The tone on campus had been and continued to be antagonistic.  The DTH editorial column, titled “Carolina’s Free Speech Continues,” asked that

. . . students who are antagonistic to the ambassador and what he stands for, refrain from showing him anything but the strictest courtesy throughout his address and the open forum.  Carolina’s tradition of freedom of expression is too old now to be violated by one night’s rudeness.

Gaston Henry-Haye

Gaston Henry-Haye, Vichy France’s ambassador to the United States (left) during his appearance at UNC Chapel Hill’s Memorial Hall on Armistice Day, 11 November, 1941. This scene is a severely cropped detail from a previously unidentified negative made by Hugh Morton. The student yearbook, The Yackety Yack, published this photograph cropped even tighter in its 1942 edition. The student at the podium may be Roger Mann, president of the International Relations Club; seated on right may be Kedar Bryan, treasurer.

Two thousand people attended the speech. There were signs of apprehension during the day, but Henry-Haye’s primary talking point was publicizing the need for aid for the French people, a topic he discussed the previous day with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull.  When asked a confrontational question by a “loquacious” student—”everyone knows the glory of France, but how do you explain Pétain’s alliance with Hitler?”—during an open forum in Graham Memorial after his speech, the audience was “immediately aroused to loud comments and mixed approval and disapproval.” To end the “disorder,” the ambassador took to the microphone and declared, “The answer is too easy.  Your comments are not true.”

The United Press account of Henry-Haye’s speech noted his call for a release of French funds frozen by the United States in order to purchase food and clothing for the French living in regions occupied by Germany who were “threatened to perish from starvation,” and for 1.5 million French prisoners.  Roosevelt, for his part on that Armistice Day, spoke at Arlington Cemetery, alluding to the current war in Europe while reminding his audience of the reasons America entered into the European War in 1917.  Roosevelt quoted the highly decorated World War I soldier Alvin “Sergeant” York: “The thing [people questioning America’s involvement in Word War I] forget is that liberty and freedom and democracy are so very precious that you do not fight to win them once and stop. Liberty and freedom and democracy are prizes awarded only to those peoples who fight to win them and then keep fighting eternally to hold them.”

Gerald P. Nye speaking at Memorial Hall

United States Senator Gerald P. Nye speaking at Memorial Hall on 18 November 1941. This is another previously unidentified negative by Hugh Morton. The student on the far left appears to be Helen Miram, member of the Carolina Political Union; the woman to her left remains unidentified.

During the fall semester of 1941, the University of North Carolina’s student-run Carolina Political Union (CPU) had thrice tried to bring Nye to campus, each thwarted by his senatorial duties negating their plans.  Nye’s outspoken isolationist views aroused “constant bitter attacks by both opposing forces” in Washington D. C., leading “observers on the campus to doubt the wisdom of promoting additional ‘hatred spreading material.'”

On November 13, five days before Nye’s visit, a DTH headline noted that “Verbal Onslaughts” had been prepared for Nye by campus organizations, and that opposition to Nye was anticipated to “manifest itself vigorously.”  Several professors and students were unwilling to have the campus serve as a platform for “bigotry and hatred.”  Nye was seen as the “backbone of Congressional opposition to New Deal measures” and as unwilling to “disassociate himself with the ‘fascist elements of the America First committee.'”  On that same day, Congress passed legislation that amended the Neutrality Act, permitting U. S. merchant ships to enter war zones.

Nye had been to UNC once before on March 17, 1937, also as a guest of the CPU.  His talk was titled, “Preparedness for Peace.”  The Daily Tar Heel characterized Nye as a “progressive Republican.”  He was an advocate for American neutrality in the burgeoning European War, “to guide us and to make it less easy to be drawn into other people’s wars as has been the case in the past.”  Among his points, Nye referred to an amendment then under consideration that “says that when the question of participation in a foreign war arises in this country, the question shall be decided by the people in a duly qualified referendum.”  Nye was referring to an amendment to the Neutrality Act of 1935, which evolved during hearings of the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry” which he chaired and became known as the “Nye Committee.”  President Roosevelt led an effort to amend the act, passing The Neutrality Act of 1939 in November that repealed the previous law.  Roosevelt and others continued to chip away at the act for the next two years.

United States Senator Gerald P. Nye

Detail from another previously unidentified negative by Hugh Morton depicting United States Senator Gerald P. Nye speaking in Memorial Hall at UNC Chapel Hill.

Nye’s November 1941 trip to Chapel Hill was one of many he undertook throughout the country sponsored by the America First Committee, a movement to counter the efforts to repeal the Neutrality Act.  The America First Committee formed during September 1940, growing out of a student group formed at Yale University.  It formally announced its existence on September 4, comprised mostly of midwestern business and political leaders, with headquarters in Chicago.  Its financial support came mostly from the conservative wing of noninterventionists.  America First Committee’s tenets were:

  • keep America out of foreign wars;
  • preserve and extend democracy at home;
  • keep American naval convoys and merchant ships on the western side of the Atlantic Ocean;
  • build a defense for American shores; and
  • give humanitarian aid to people in occupied countries.

Nye’s involvement The America First Committee took the form of speeches, ramping up his activity during the summer and autumn of 1941.  Nye and the committee’s efforts, however, could not hold sway.  On October 9, Roosevelt once again urged Congress to repeal the Neutrality Act.  On October 29th, Nye delivered a major address on the Senate floor against the president’s call. Two days later the Germans torpedoed the American destroyer USS Reuben James.  It was the first loss of an American military ship.  As a result, on November 13 the United States House of Representatives narrowly approved, by a 212-194 vote, a revision to the Neutrality Act of 1939.  That same day, The Daily Tar Heel wrote again about Nye’s upcoming visit to campus.  An article in The Statesville Daily Record on November 14 also announced Nye’s appearance in Memorial Hall, in which the head of the Carolina Political Union, Ridley Whitaker, said the CPU invited Nye “because regardless of how we may feel about his views, we must recognize the fact that he definitely represents a viewpoint.”

American political milestones and European military events continued to unfold.  Roosevelt signed the repeal legislation on November 17, the day before Nye’s speech in Chapel Hill.  Nonetheless, as The Daily Tar Heel headline had predicted, Nye faced a jam-packed auditorium with an audience that listened to “the fiery Dakotan on tenterhooks.” After Nye concluded, attendees released “alternating waves of boos, cheers, and hisses.”  The following morning, The Daily Tar Heel headlines read, “Stormy Verbal Onslaught” and “Spontaneous Outbursts Threaten Real Disorder.”  During his speech, the senator “vigorously maintained that ‘propaganda of the most criminal order has been practiced and lack of frankness by American leaders and downright deception have brought the United States to the brink of war.”  After his uninterrupted speech, audience members “flung questions at the rostrum in quick, violent succession.”

Just three weeks later, all the contentious debate became moot.  The America First Committee held its last meeting in Pittsburgh on 7 December 1941—as Japan simultaneously bombed Pearl Harbor.

For more on Senator Gerald P. Nye, see Wayne S. Cole’s Senator Gerald P. Nye and American Foreign Relations, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 1962.

Robert F. Kennedy attends Terry Sanford’s gubernatorial inauguration

On June 6, 1968—fifty years ago today—Robert Francis Kennedy died nearly twenty-six hours after being fatally shot by Sirhan Sirhan in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California.  Seven years earlier—on January 5, 1961—Hugh Morton photographed Kennedy during a visit to Raleigh, North Carolina.

Robert F. Kennedy and wife Ethel

Robert F. Kennedy seated with his wife Ethel during the inauguration of North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford in Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium, 5 January 1961. (Note: this photograph links to the record for this image in the online Morton collection, where for many years it is has been incorrectly displayed, laterally reversed.)

On that day, Kennedy sat on the platform in Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium watching the inauguration of North Carolina’s sixty-fifth governor, Terry Sanford.  Fifteen days later, Kennedy’s brother John would be sworn in as the country’s thirty-fifth president.

Hugh Morton also attended Sanford’s swearing-in ceremony.  Morton had served as Publicity Director for the election campaign of outgoing governor Luther H. Hodges in 1956.  During Hodges’ administration, Morton served as the chair of the State Advertising Committee and as a member of the State Board of Conservation and Development.  His credentials provided Morton access to a likely restricted area for the event.

During the inauguration ceremony and Sanford’s ensuing address, Morton photographed with a 120 format roll film camera.  He worked predominately from a distance, positioned high up on stage left. He mostly photographed the audience and other officials taking their oaths of office, and Sanford from behind while centered amid the crowd.  There are ten negatives extent from the event.  In Morton’s negatives, you can see another photographer on the dais in front of the podium during their oaths.  Unbeknownst to Morton, his focus for those negatives was off badly.  On the very last frame of that roll of film (frame 12), he captured the above close up of Robert F. Kennedy with his wife Ethel.  They were seated on right side of the stage, suggesting Morton made the cross-stage trip specifically to make that photograph.

Outside, Morton switched to 35mm film.  There are forty-seven surviving 35mm negatives from that day.  Two depict Robert Kennedy, likely after the swearing-in ceremony but before Hodges and Sanford made their way into an awaiting convertible.  One of the two those two negatives is shown below.  Morton also made a 120 format color negative of the two governors seated inside the convertible (not scanned, but published in the book Making A Difference in North Carolina) that is also extant.

Robert F. Kennedy with Luther Hodges and Terry Sanford

Robert F. Kennedy (center) with Luther H. Hodges on his right and Terry Sanford on his left amid a crowd during Sanford’s inauguration.

Why was Robert Kennedy attending the inauguration of a North Carolina governor?  A four-part story in A View to Hugh from 2011 titled “A Spark of Greatness” recounts John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in North Carolina during the 1960 election, drawn mostly from John Drescher’s book Triumph of Good Will: How Terry Sanford Beat a Champion of Segregation and Reshaped the South.  A Spark of Greatness—Part 3 sets the stage for RFK’s return to NC for Sanford’s inauguration.  That account, however, is really only part of the story.  In terms of the presidential election, Robert Kennedy stated that “North Carolina was the most pleasant state to win for me.”  But he played a minor controversial role in Sanford’s election, too.

Sanford met with Robert Kennedy during his gubernatorial primary campaign—reluctantly, but he did so as a favor to Louis Harris, his pollster and a fellow UNC alumnus. (Sanford received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1941, Harris received his BA in 1942, and Hugh Morton was a member of the class of 1943.)  Sanford had begun building a relationship with the Kennedys during the election season, but had not yet decided if he would endorse John Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson.  Their meeting was to be private.  It took place during the first part of June in Raleigh at the College Inn.  Sanford was impressed with Robert Kennedy’s organizational skills.  Sanford left the meeting without making a commitment, but he was now convinced John Kennedy would defeat Johnson.

During a press conference on June 13, a UPI reporter asked Sanford if he had met with Kennedy.  Sanford said he had not.  Sanford thought the reporter asked about John Kennedy but realized he had meant to say Robert.  Within a week newspapers carried stories about the meeting between Sanford and Robert Kennedy.  Sanford later regretted that he did not give a more forthright answer, one that acknowledged that he had not met with JFK but had met with RFK.  The political news was soon filled with stories that questioned, among various other scenarios, if Sanford had something to hide—particularly a promise to endorse Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention.

In his book Terry Sanford: Politics, Progress, and Outrageous Ambitions, Howard Covington recounts how Sanford made his way into the White House prior to the funeral service for John F. Kennedy.  Sanford attempted to gain access to the White House, but police physically thwarted his attempt despite his being a governor.  He finally convinced the police to escort him inside as if he was under arrest.  Once inside, Sanford spoke briefly to Robert Kennedy, then left.

Three months before the JFK assassination, Robert Kennedy had written a letter to Sanford, according to Covington, “to commend him on his management of difficult times.”  Kennedy wrote, “You have always shown leadership in this effort, which could well be followed by many chief executives in the north as well as in your part of the nation.”  Kennedy had written a post script at the bottom of his letter: “I hope I am not causing you too much trouble down there.  Just deny you ever met me.  That is the only advice I can think to give you.  Bob.”  In a note back to Robert Kennedy, Terry Sanford wrote: “I haven’t denied you yet.”

Who am I? with a Cherry on the side

R. Gregg Cherry with unidentified group.

Seated on the sofa is North Carolina Governor R. Gregg Cherry, who was governor from 1945–1949. The date of this photograph is unknown.

I am working with some Hugh Morton negatives today, and I just came across one that seems to be misidentified or misfiled.  Morton filed this unidentified negative amidst those of other negatives he pulled together when compiling images for the book Making a Difference in North Carolina—a book we have referred to many times here at A View to Hugh.  One slight problem: Morton filed this negative among those for Governor J. Melville Broughton and he’s not depicted.  Instead we see a different North Carolina governor, R. Gregg Cherry, seated on a sofa surrounded by eleven other people.  Who are they . . . and where and why are they gathered?

Here are a couple guesses to get started:

  • The person seated in the middle of the scene looking down and away from the camera looks like John W. Harden.  In Making a Difference in North Carolina, his chapter is titled, “John W. Harden: PR Pioneer, Noted Communicator.” A caption under one of the photographs in the book notes that Harden served on the State Board of Conservation and Development—a board on which Hugh Morton also served.
  • The man on the far left looks like Bill Sharpe, one-time editor of The State.
  • Is that photographer John Hemmer in the righthand corner wearing a striped tie?

Please add a comment if you think you might recognize some of those faces.

A drive to Washington D.C. with Barrier: part 1

It’s often useful when researching Hugh Morton images to check his executive planners.  I’ve used examples of this practice before, and for today’s post this tactic provided some insight into one particular journey in March 1987.

Executive planner page, 5–7 March 1987

The page for March 5 through 8, 1987 in Hugh Morton’s executive planner.

Wednesday, March 4: Drive Wash DC with Barrier

One of Morton’s two entries for March 4th reads, “Drive Wash DC with Barrier.”  Henri Smith Barrier Jr. was a member of the UNC class of 1937—just six years ahead of Hugh Morton’s class of 1943—but he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 1940 when Morton was UNC student.  Barrier was sports editor of the Concord Tribune, his hometown newspaper, for two years before he joined the Greensboro Daily News in 1941.  Just six years before this road trip, in 1981, Barrier wrote and edited the book The ACC Basketball Tournament Classic that featured Morton’s photography.  Barrier passed away a little more than two years after this DC journey on 2 June 1989.

Thursday, March 5: “Jesse Helms”

That’s Morton’s plain and simple entry, but why did Morton schedule a photography session with Jesse Helms?  I suspect it was a self-assignment for his collaborative book with Ed Rankin titled Making a Difference in North Carolina. Rankin and Helms were roommates in 1941 when they were newsmen at The News and Observer and The Raleigh Times, respectively.  In 1987 Helms was serving his third term as North Carolina’s senior United States Senator.  The state’s junior senator was Terry Sanford, elected just a few months earlier in November 1986.

Terry Sanford and Jesse Helms

North Carolina’s United States Senators Terry Sanford (Democrat) and Jesse Helms (Republican) on March 5, 1987 in the hallway outside of Helms’ office. (Photograph cropped by the author.)

The Morton collection finding aid states there are seventy-six black-and-white 35mm negatives in Subseries 2.1, which is devoted to the negatives Morton pulled together during the making of Making a Difference in North Carolina. There are thirteen 35mm color slides of from this same date in Subseries 2.6. “People, Identified.” Currently there are twelve of these images related to Morton’s coverage Helms available in the online collection.

A caption in Making a Difference in North Carolina notes that one event Morton photographed that day was a confirmation hearing for Jack F. Matlock Jr. held by the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.  Matlock was a native of Greensboro and a Duke University alumnus.  From the extant negatives and slides, it appears Morton did not photograph Matlock.  On another note of interest, Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Senator Edward Zorinsky, Democrat from Nebraska, died the next day, March 6th, at the 1987 Omaha Press Club Ball.  In the photograph below, is that Senator Zorinsky on the right?  It may be hard to tell for certain because there is not a full resolution scan online to zoom in and look more closely, so below is a cropped detail.

Senator Jess Helms

Senator Jess Helms (left) during a meeting of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Possibly Edward Zorinsky

A cropped detail from the photograph above that might be Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky talking with Virginia Senator John Warner. If not, does anyone recognize who he and others may be?

Another similar photograph for a different angle . . .

Senator Jesse Helms

Senator Jesse Helms (left) during a meeting of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

One photograph from the day serves as an excellent example of why photographic archives desire to obtain negative collections, not just photographic prints.  Below is a photograph of Helms with Senator John Warner of Virginia as published in Making a Deference in North Carolina . . .

Jesse Helms and John Warner, from book Making a Difference in North Carolina

. . . and here’s a scan of the entire negative . . .

United States Senators John McCain, Jesse Helm, and John Warner.

For the book, Morton decided to crop out Arizona’s senator John McCain.

Here’s another photograph from the day that’s not in the online collection:

United States Senators

United States Senators

I recognize Helms (left) and Dan Quayle (center).  Want to try your hand on the others?

Tune in tomorrow for part two: Friday, March 6: “ACC Landover”

ADDITION made on 8 March 2018: negatives depicting West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd appears in some of the negatives made on this day, but I did not use one for this blog post.  I noticed afterward, however, that there is a separate listing for three 35mm negatives in the Morton collection finding aid for Robert C. Byrd made on March 5, 1987 (the date in finding aid is March 6th) in Envelope 2.1.48-5-1.

The birth of Gorges State Park

North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt signing the "Gorges Bill" on July 8, 1997. The second (fully visible) person from the left is R. Michael Leonard, recognized from another Morton image in the online collection and confirmed by a quote in the Asheville Times. At the time Leonard was an attorney with the firm Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge, and Rice. The others in the photograph are unidentified.

North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt signing the “Gorges Bill” on July 8, 1997. The second (fully visible) person from the left is R. Michael Leonard, recognized from another Morton image in the online collection and confirmed by a quote in the Asheville Citizen-Times. At the time Leonard was an attorney with the firm Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge, and Rice. The others in the photograph are unidentified.

This past Saturday, July 8th, marked the twentieth anniversary of North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt signing “An Act to Authorize the Addition to the State Parks System of Certain Lands Located in Transylvania County Adjacent to Jocassee Lake”—or, as Hugh Morton labeled his negatives, the “Gorges Bill.”  The act had been Senate Bill 537, then became Chapter 276 in Session Laws and Resolutions Passed by the 1997 General Assembly . . . [shortened title].  The legislators behind the bill were State Senator Tommy Jenkins, Democrat (possibly the person on the far right in the photograph above) and Representative William Ives, Republican from Transylvania County.

July 8, 1997 was a busy day for Governor Hunt.  Earlier in the day, he attended the memorial service for Charles Kuralt.  Morton’s negatives for both events are on the same roll of film.  Hunt wears the same tie in all of the photographs, and that was the tip off that both events occurred on the same day.  According to Session Laws and Resolutions it became law “upon approval of the Governor at 4:50 p.m. on the 8th day of July, 1997.”

Curiosity and thoroughness sent me back to the collection finding aid to see what else Hugh Morton may have photographed related to the Gorges.  I found another roll of film dated April 1997 with Gov. Hunt, Bill Grigg, and Gorges Park among the names written on the envelope.  Grigg was Chairman of Duke Power Company, which owned the land.  Inside the envelope are nineteen negatives and six prints including the two images below.

Chairman of Duke Power Company, Bill Grigg, and Governor Jim Hunt during a flyover to view the land that would become Gorges State Park, April 1997. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

Chairman of Duke Power Company, Bill Grigg, and Governor Jim Hunt during a flyover to view the land that would become Gorges State Park, April 1997. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

An Asheville Citizens-Times news article titled, “Hunt signs deal allowing Jocassee purchase” published on July 9, 1997 that reported the news story included a quote from Hunt saying, “I have flown over it.  This is wonderful property and the state ought to have it.”  The article mentioned that the bill contained no appropriation to acquire the land.  It simply permitted the state parks system to “pursue the purchase.”  The article also stated that “Hunt gave a pep talk to area lawmakers, including Sen. Robert Carpenter, R-Macon, state agency officials and environmentalists assembled for a photo op.”  Hunt “strongly suggested” that the state would “raise the money through a combination of publicly held grants, private sources and maybe a legislative appropriation.”  The article concluded with a statement that R. Michael Leonard of the law firm Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice (seen in the group portrait above) had received a commitment of $1.25 million from two anonymous private donors.  The state purchased the land and officially dedicated Gorges State Park in 1999.

Hugh Morton's bird's-eye-view of the many waterfalls on the Toxaway River.

Hugh Morton’s bird’s-eye-view of the many waterfalls on the Toxaway River.

 

He came to Chapel Hill to argue with someone

Leon Henderson (right), head of the Office of Price Administration established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States Government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. Henderson was the speaker for the Carolina Political Union's sixth anniversary on 15 April 1942 in Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This photograph appears in the May 1942 ALUMNI REVIEW with caption headline "Have a Cigar!" and caption, "Evidently Price-Administrator Leon Henderson is not having to worry about cigar rationing. Here he is conferring with student leaders Ridley Whitaker, chairman of the Carolina Political Union, who hails from Goldsboro; Hobart McKeever of Greensboro, who was one of the candidates for presidency of the University Student Body; and Lou Harris of New Haven Conn., vice-president of the CPU. Mr. Henderson was one of the series of speakers brought to campus this year by student organizations." A slightly different Morton photograph of this group appeared in the 10 May issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL.

Leon Henderson (right), head of the Office of Price Administration established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States Government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. Henderson was the speaker for the Carolina Political Union’s sixth anniversary on 15 April 1942 in Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This photograph appears in the May 1942 ALUMNI REVIEW with caption headline “Have a Cigar!” and caption, “Evidently Price-Administrator Leon Henderson is not having to worry about cigar rationing. Here he is conferring with student leaders Ridley Whitaker, chairman of the Carolina Political Union, who hails from Goldsboro; Hobart McKeever of Greensboro, who was one of the candidates for presidency of the University Student Body; and Lou Harris of New Haven Conn., vice-president of the CPU. Mr. Henderson was one of the series of speakers brought to campus this year by student organizations.” A slightly different Morton photograph of this group appeared in the 10 May issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL.

Yesteryear is filled with those whose names today mean nothing to most, but in their day were lightning rods.  Leon Henderson is one of those people.

Henderson became a member of Franklin Roosevelt’s inner circle, perhaps the result of his 1937 memorandum “Boom and Bust” written when he was Director of Research and Planning with the National Recovery Administration.  Roosevelt appointed him to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1939, and in 1941 to head the Office of Price Administration.  John Kenneth Galbraith, a historically important economist, public official, and diplomat, begins Chapter 8, “Washington, 1940,” of his autobiography A Life in Our Times: Memoirs (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981):

Leon Henderson was slightly under average height, of rather more than average width, and he seemed always to be adjusting his pants, pulling a little on his belt as though this would reduce his waistline.  Perhaps because they had to be so large at his stomach, his trousers were always very loose below.  They flopped when he walked or the wind blew.  The rest of Leon’s attire was somewhat more disorderly.  He shaved regularly but without precision.  His face altered between an expression of unconvincing belligerence and one of shocked, unbelieving innocence, and sometimes he affected both at the same time.  Mostly, however, he favored the belligerent expression, and this he sought to reinforce with a sharply jutting cigar that he rolled in his mouth but rarely smoked.  He was highly intelligent, with a strong retentive mind.  After a few minutes’ study of a paper on any subject, however complex, he not only had absorbed it for all needed use but could give convincingly the impression that he had written it himself.

It was during 1940 that Galbraith would become Henderson’s deputy when he served on Roosevelt’s National Defense Advisory Commission.  Among those serving on the commission with Henderson was Harriet Elliot, Dean of Women at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC Greensboro).

Galbraith devotes many pages of his first-hand accounts surrounding Henderson and his role in determining American economic policies during the critically important years from the mid 1930s into the first year of the United States’ direct involvement in the second World War.  Galbraith attributes Henderson as the person “who first voiced the thought that having a little inflation was like being a little pregnant” during “the almost paranoiac concern of 1940 and 1941 over inflation.”

Word that Leon Henderson would visit the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill first appeared in The Daily Tar Heel on April 5, 1942.  Ridley Whitaker, chair of the Carolina Political Union, a non-partisan and non-political student group formed in 1936, announced that three important men had been sign to speak during the week of April 23:

Whitaker noted that past invited speakers had been “reluctant to talk,” but that these men would. “We’re having those men down to talk.  They were signed with that purpose.  Henderson has already wired that he’s coming here because he wants someone to argue with him.”  Harriet Elliot would introduce Henderson.

The Daily Tar Heel reporter Paul Komisaruk, who covered the Henderson story during the next two weeks, describe Henderson as “More colorful than Davis” and “clearly one of ‘America’s New Bosses,’ who with his control of prices profoundly influences the cost of living in every home in America.”  Komisaruk was not exaggerating, and he attributes Henderson’s “Boom or Bust” [sic] memorandum to Henderson’s rise to Roosevelt’s “inner-brain trust.”

Within a week, Komisaruk reported that Henderson’s visit would be moved up to April 15, a date which also marked the sixth anniversary of the Carolina Political Union.  Henderson’s “pressing duties in Washington” necessitated the change.  Komisaruk wrote, “Holding down the most difficult and delicate job in Washington, the quick-tempered Henderson will explain to students and visiting dignitaries, the Congressional battles over price-fixing that rocked the halls of Congress, and still, to develop into the biggest domestic issue of the war.”  He also reported that Whitaker had developed the evening’s program to include a banquet and a reception, and that attendees would include Governor J. Melville Broughton and Josephus Daniels, who had been the United States Ambassador to Mexico from April 1933 until November 1941 and who was at that time the editor of his family-controlled newspaper The News and Observer in Raleigh.

On the day prior to Henderson’s visit, The Daily Tar Heel editorial staff column included a segment titled “A Man Who Knows . . .” in which the editors wrote, “This is the man who can tell you why Lenoir Hall prices are going up and when they will stop.  He doesn’t speak with an accent and he can’t sing the praises of the fighting soldiers, but he can tell you the effect of the war effort on the consumer.”

On the day of Henderson’s trip to Chapel Hill, Kamisaruk noted that Henderson was departing Washington “in the midst of a growing storm over issues pertaining to setting a ceiling on labor’s wages.”  He expected Henderson “to explain the stand he took last week before the War Labor Board, when he warned that a ceiling must be set or the country will be faced with ‘devastating inflation,’ that may cause the US to lose the war.”  Kamisaruk also noted that “political observers” say that “Henderson’s warnings about inflation and frozen wages are not to be taken lightly despite the violent recriminations they have brought from labor leaders throughout the country. They point to the depression of 1937 that Henderson anticipated and warned about, and was ridiculed for until the ‘Henderson depression’ came right along as he said it would.”  Kamisaruk concluded with an unattributed quotation: “his idealism springs out of the soil of harsh facts.  And the harshest of these facts are prices, prices, prices.”

An example of opposition to Henderson can be seen in Ray Tucker’s syndicated column “National Whirligig” for April 15.  In a section he titled “Sleuths” Tucker noted that since February 17, 1941 when the “first move to regulate the main factors underlying our artificial war economy,” Henderson had “issued one hundred and six permanent rulings and fifteen temporary decrees.” Tucker took exception to these, noting that “the rapidity with which prohibitions have had to be extended into the retail field is what reflects graphically the failure of the present philosophy.”  According to Tucker, between March 1941 to March 1942, wholesale costs had risen nineteen percent and living costs twelve percent.  Tucker feared the installation of a “more drastic regime will flood the country with a locustlike army of regulators and sleuths,” concluding “But this condition appears to be a necessary touch of totalitarianism.”

Komisaruk’s coverage of Henderson’s evening on campus noted that he delivered only “perfunctory remarks, and promptly announced that the floor was open to discussion.” Henderson had indeed come to Chapel Hill to argue. “Spectators fired a barrage of questions,” one of which concerned the forty-hour work week. The Associated Press picked up this nugget, as printed in The Burlington Times.  The AP noted that Henderson believed suspension of the 40-hour week would decrease production because, “I don’t believe human beings will respond a 10 per cent cut.”  He also said the nation might be forced to adopt a general sales tax, which he did not favor, unless wages were stabilized.

"Unaccustomed as I am . . . " is the quotation printed on the "Discussion Groups" opening section page in the 1942 YACKETY YACK. On the facing page is this Hugh Morton photograph, cropped here as it is in the yearbook. The photograph is not captioned. It depicts Leon Henderson (left) and Ridley Whitaker, Chairman of the student group Carolina Political Union. Whitaker was identified from other photographs in the collection and within the YACKETY YACK, but the identity of Henderson was unknown until researching this blog post.

“Unaccustomed as I am . . . ” is the quotation printed on the “Discussion Groups” opening section page in the 1942 YACKETY YACK. On the facing page is this Hugh Morton photograph, cropped here as it is in the yearbook. The photograph is not captioned. It depicts Leon Henderson (left) and Ridley Whitaker, Chairman of the student group Carolina Political Union. Whitaker was identified from other photographs in the collection and within the YACKETY YACK, but the identity of Henderson was unknown until researching this blog post.

Morton's negative without cropping.

Morton’s negative without cropping.

The Daily Tar Heel also reported that a Henderson answer to one questioner “drew roars of laughter” when asked for “a few words about that ‘great American patriot Martin Dies.'” (Martin Dies Jr. was a co-creator and chairman of the House Committee Investigating Un-American Activities.)  Henderson replied, “. . . it always happens once an evening—a question the speaker can not answer glibly.  I can only repeat what I have said on other occasions. ‘I will eat on the steps of the Treasury building at high noon any organizations I have belonged to that Martin Dies proves is subversive.” He added with a smile, “Of course there are some high school groups I belong to that his flat-feet haven’t gotten around to inspecting yet.”

Detail from the only other negative found thus far from Leon Henderson's speech in Memorial Hall. The woman in the background of each image is presumably Harriot Wiseman Elliot, Dean of Women at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

Detail from the only other negative found thus far from Leon Henderson’s speech in Memorial Hall. The woman in the background of each image is presumably Harriot Wiseman Elliot, Dean of Women at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

A few days after Henderson’s evening in Chapel Hill, The Daily Tar Heel opinion column noted that “Memorial hall overflowed . . . for the CPU’s first speech of the spring quarter.  There were many who expressed disappointment at Mr. Henderson’s speech and then there were those who felt it to be the first speech of the year during which you had to think to be able to understand what was being said.  Regardless of what opinions are being batted around campus, Leon Henderson’s address goes down as one of the meatiest of the year.”

Henderson’s story looms larger than A View to Hugh can tackle.  In short, the midterm elections of 1942 saw Democrats lose nine seats in the United States Senate and forty-three in the House of Representatives.  Democrats still maintained a significant majority, but it was the smallest since Roosevelt’s first election a decade earlier. In V was for Victory: Politics and American Culture During World War II, author John Morton Blum cites a survey taken of “Democratic Senatorial and Congressional candidates, whether they were victorious or not” by Edwin W. Pawley, then Secretary of the Democratic National Committee.  Blum describes the polling as “probably the shrewdest and most self-interested postelection [sic] analysis that Roosevelt received.”  Pawley reviewed the replies and compiled a list of five factors that contributed to the Democratic Party losses.  Number three on the list was “Resentment of O.P.A. Particularly of Mr. Henderson.  This was the most universal and serious complaint of all . . . It appears from the letters that the complaint is directed rather at Mr. Henderson and his attitude and methods than at the abstract question of . . . rationing and price control . . . .”  Pawley suggested the complaints against Henderson were “correctable” and Blum states that “Roosevelt got the message.”

In December 1942 Henderson called Galbraith and others to his office where they learned of Henderson’s intention to resign.  He stated that his health, and particularly his eyesight, would not permit him to continue.  Henderson didn’t expect anyone to believe that, so he kept repeating it “with increasing emphasis and indignation. In fact he was persuaded that there would be ever more severe attacks on our front and that he could blunt them by removing himself from the scene.”

Looking back, Galbraith believed Henderson was “never completely happy again” and that “the debt owed to Henderson for preparing the civilian economy for World War II has never been even partially recognized.  Had it not been for his bold, intelligent actions and those he authorized, civilians would have suffered.  And so assuredly would those who did the fighting.”

CORRECTION: This post was edited on 17 April 2017.  In the opening quote from Galbraith, the word tentative was changed to retentive.

The 1971 environmental conference at Greensboro Coliseum

John H. Glenn Jr., Greensboro Coliseum, 12 October 1971. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.)

John H. Glenn Jr., Greensboro Coliseum, 12 October 1971. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.

If we do not start treating our environment with more respect—giving it time to replenish itself—we are in for trouble in the future. —John H. Glenn Jr., October 12, 1971 at Douglas Municipal Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina

With John Glenn’s passing on December 8, I recalled the group portrait made by Hugh Morton at a campaign debt retirement party for Terry Sanford attended by Glenn and others.  To see what, if any, other photographs Morton may have made of Glenn, I turned to the collection finding aid and found the following listing for fourteen 35mm black-and-white negatives: “Environmental Concerns #44: ‘Environmental Conference, Greensboro Coliseum: John Glenn, Stewart Udall, etc.,’ 1970s-1980s?”

Ah that tantalizing question mark . . . another Morton Mystery!

For those who don’t know, many newspapers on microfilm held by the North Carolina Collection have been digitized by newspapers.com.  They can be viewed for free if you are on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, otherwise you need to have a paid subscription.  Searching the website quickly revealed that the conference occurred on October 12, 1971.  On that day, the North Carolina Jaycees and possibly the North Carolina Conservation Council (only one source mentioned that organization) sponsored rallies in four airports across the state, capped off with an environmental conference that evening at eight o’clock in the Greensboro Coliseum.  More time consuming, however, was piecing together various (sometimes conflicting) news reports to form a coherent picture of the day’s events.  I don’t believe what follows, however, is the whole story so I encourage you to leave comments to help complete it.  I sense that this post could lead to more on the topic of the environmental movement in North Carolina . . . and maybe even turn up more Morton Mysteries.

*****

Here are four points that provide some context for the story:

Conservationism into Environmentalism

The environmental conference and rallies occurred during the formative years of environmentalism in North Carolina, an era that began in 1967 according to Milton S. Heath Jr. and Alex L. Hess III in their essay “The Evolution of Modern North Carolina Environmental and Conservation Policy Legislation.”  Preceding the “Environmental Era” was the “Conservation Era” that began at the turn of the twentieth century.  Heath and Hess characterized the difference between these two periods in terms of state laws:

In North Carolina, the statutes that implemented . . . resource management programs at the state level contained policy statements that encouraged management and use of resources in contrast with the preambles of environmental-era statutes that stressed protection and preservation.

Hugh Morton’s life straddles that transition.  His career includes a decade of service as a member of the North Carolina Board of Conservation and Development under governors W. Kerr Scott, William B. Umstead, and Luther H. Hodges from 1951 to 1961.  It is during those years, too, that Morton begins to conserve and develop Grandfather Mountain.

Earth Day

The very first Earth Day was April 22, 1970.  Before the end of the year, on December 2, the United States Government established the Environmental Protection Agency.  The new agency was a consolidation of several entities within the federal government.  This accomplishment stemmed from the recommendation of President Richard M. Nixon as part of his “Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970,” which he proposed to the Senate and the House of Representatives on July 9th.  In that document Nixon noted, “Our national government today is not structured to make a coordinated attack on the pollutants which debase the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land that grows our food.  Indeed, the present governmental structure for dealing with environmental pollution often defies effective and concerted action.”

North Carolina Legislation

Nearly one year after the first Earth Day, on April 8, 1971, North Carolina Governor Robert Scott sent the General Assembly an environmental message accompanied by several related bills.  The year saw the enactment of the North Carolina Environmental Policy Act of 1971, also known by the acronym “SEPA” (State Environmental Policy Act), and the state’s Environmental Bill of Rights, introduced by State Senator Hargrove “Skipper” Bowles.  The latter was enacted on June 21, 1971.  According to Heath and Hess, “the bill as introduced was drafted at Senator Bowles’ request by University of North Carolina Law School Professor Thomas Schoenbaum.  The voters of the state approved the proposed constitutional amendment in the general election on November 7, 1972.”

Politics

The October 12, 1971 “Environmental Emphasis Day” (a phrase used by two of the newspapers consulted for this post, but only the Charlotte Observer used capital letters) took place during the very early phase of the campaign season for the upcoming 1972 North Carolina primary elections on May 6.  Hugh Morton announced his gubernatorial candidacy for the Democratic Party on December 1, 1971.

*****

On September 23, 1971 North Carolina Jaycees president T. Avery Nye Jr. announced that Colonel John H. Glenn Jr. would be a keynote speaker at an environmental rally at 8:00 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum,  Nye noted that other speakers would include Oregon’s Republican United States Senator Robert Packwood and former United States Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall.  The Jaycees described the upcoming event at the coliseum as the “first of its kind in the nation.”  The Greensboro Daily News reported that the day would start with Glenn and Udall, “accompanied by announced candidates for governor of North Carolina,” making a “whistle-stop tour” of the state “traveling by private, executive-type aircraft” to rallies at airports in Asheville, Wilmington, Charlotte, and Raleigh-Durham.  Packwood would unite with Udall and Glenn in Greensboro after the tour for the evening rally.  North Carolina’s United States Senator B. Everett Jordon “and most other members of the state’s delegation to Congress and members of the state’s General Assembly” were expected to attend.  Nye also encouraged the general public to attend, noting that no admission or parking fees would be charged.  The rally, Nye said, “is being staged to give North Carolinians an opportunity to show their support for good environmental legislation.”  Attendees were going to be asked to complete a questionnaire on state environmental problems, with the results to be distributed to legislators and members of Congress.

The choice of John Glenn, the celebrated astronaut who nearly a decade earlier had become the first American to orbit Earth, to be a keynote speaker for an environmental conference may seem puzzling to us today, but it was not so at the time.  Glenn had recently chaired Ohio’s Citizens Task Force on Environmental Protection, a bipartisan task force announced by that state’s Governor-elect John J. Gilligan on November  25, 1970.  The panel issued it’s final report in June 1971.  After its publication, Glenn toured around the country promoting Ohio’s study as a model for other states.

Three subsequent articles provided more details about the upcoming event: one in the Asheville Citizen on Monday, October 4, the second in a Daily Tar Heel article published on October 8, and the third in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Sunday, October 10.  The Asheville Citizen article’s headline read “Environment To Be Frequent Topic During October In North Carolina.”  The article described several activities scheduled for the month, including the “statewide environmental rally” in Greensboro that would be preceded on the same day by four airport rallies in Raleigh-Durham, Wilmington, Charlotte, and Asheville. (This order would be the actual order of the tour.)  In addition to listing the expected speakers and invited individuals for the evening rally, the article stated that a “30-minute brand new movie on North Carolina and its environment” would be shown that night.

According to the Daily Tar Heel article, the Jaycees’ event was now co-sponsored with the North Carolina Conservation Council—no other resource, however, mentions this.  The day was to begin in Washington D.C., where Governor Bob Scott, Bowles, Udall, and Glenn would fly to Raleigh-Durham Airport for the first of the four airport rallies.  Later in the day in Greensboro, all but one of the state’s congressmen would fly to Greensboro from Washington for the evening’s rally.  According to the October 12 issue of the News and Observer, however, Governor Scott met the Glenn-Udall party at Raleigh-Durham Airport and then traveled with them to the subsequent rallies.  Scott did not attend the Greensboro event; instead, he returned to Raleigh to celebrate his wife’s birthday.

The Citizen-Times article published just two days before the eventful day stated that the North Carolina Jaycees “put about a year of planning and hard work” into the event.  Thad Woodard, the Jaycees’ state environmental chairman, said,

The rally provides an opportunity for people of the state who have been expressing interest in environmental problems to show the strength of conservationists and environmentalists in North Carolina.  We believe these problems have to be approached both on a legislative and on an educational basis . . . and our legislators and educators need to know that people are genuinely interested in the environment.

The Citizen-TImes also informed readers that the airport visits were to be made in two six-passenger planes provided by First Union National Bank and Northwestern Bank.

*****

News coverage from the host cities’ newspapers shed light on some of the activities for the rallies held on October 12.  The News and Observer assistant city editor Daniel C. Hoover covered the day’s events, but he did not describe much about the Raleigh-Durham airport rally.  Hoover only wrote that Governor Scott “called on official in coastal counties to declare a moratorium on all permits to destroy dunes for development pending a study authorized by the general Assembly.”  Hoover then quoted Scott, who said he would “propose, in the near future, to call together all county and municipal officials of our coastal counties, along with appropriate state officials, to explore solutions to existing and potential coastal problems.”

At the next stop, Ronald G. Dunn, staff writer for the Wilmington Morning Star estimated their airport crowd to be seventy-five people.  John Glenn drew upon his experiences as an astronaut.  He told those gathered that Earth is “in effect a spaceship on which the warning lights are on, so therefore, as spacemen we should take action immediately to save our environment.”  He described the obviousness from space that Earth’s atmosphere is a very shallow layer and that America was likely among the world’s worst polluters.  He also urged involvement, saying “People interest in the United States gets action, so get interested.”  An accompanying UPI photograph with caption depicted Scott, Glenn, Udall and “gubernatorial aspirant Hargrove Bowles” at Raleigh-Durham rather than a scene from the Wilmington airport rally.  Bowles was able to join the group because, as of the environmental emphasis day, he was the only officially declared candidate for governor.

Only thirty people attended the rally in Charlotte according to Charlotte Observer staff writer Susan Jetton.  Perhaps as a result of the sparse attendance, Governor Scott said “efforts of decision-makers are not very successful without the active support of the people.”  Glenn again drew attention to the “warning signals” of pollution that were appearing “on this space ship earth.”  He added, “If we do not start treating our environment with more respect—giving it time to replenish itself—we are in for trouble in the future.”

The Asheville visit drew more than one hundred people, according to staff write Connie Blackwell.  Glenn used the “warning lights” metaphor here, too, but Blackwell added the Glenn did not see himself as “one of the doom and gloom boys.”  Bowles urged the approval of the Environmental Bill of Rights.  Udall and Scott each addressed proposed aspects of the Tennessee Valley Authority project in western North Carolina, the Mills River Dam and Reservoir.  Udall, noting his many visits to western North Carolina during the previous ten years, said he was there that day because “I don’t want to see North Carolina go down the same road” as California.  He noted that his “attitudes have made about a 180-degree turn in the past ten years.  It used to be if a dam was mentioned, I automatically thought it was a good idea.  Now, my reaction would be that it should not be built.”  He continued,

Industrialists came into these valleys years ago and said. “We’ll give you jobs, but we’ll ruin your mountain streams and stink up your pure air.”  They accepted because jobs were so badly needed.  Now we are beginning to realize that it didn’t have to be that way.

*****

Several newspapers and the Associated Press (AP) reported on the evening conference.  David S. Greene of the Greensboro Daily News, report that the first speaker was Udall, who wrote that Udall described “North Carolina as a leading state in maintaining ‘the standard of living,'” but also one that needed to prevent further “despoilment of the environment.”  Udall encouraged attendees to “Hold on to what you’ve got.”  Udall referred specifically Bald Head Island, which he had seen during a flyover earlier in the day.  The AP reported that private developers wanted to build a “plush resort” there and that environmentalists had asked the state to purchase it and maintain its natural state.  Greene noted that the audience applauded when Udall “urged American to listen to young environmentalists.”  Quoting Udall:  “If they have something to contribute let them contribute.  It’s their world.”

The News and Observer reported that Udall, as “the keynote speaker,” suggested that Bald Head Island be added to the existing Cape Lookout National Seashore.  He added during a press conference following the rally that there was “a hang-up” on how to pay for the acquisition.  Hoover wrote that Udall continued by offering a few options “as prospective gubernatorial candidate Hugh Morton hovered at his shoulder snapping pictures.”

Is this Stewart Udall speaking during a press conference at the Greensboro Coliseum after the environmental rally on October 12, 1971 or during a much earlier unknown event possibly related to the Blue Ridge Parkway? Photograph by Hugh Morton, scanned from original negative and cropped to match a print in the collection.

Is this Stewart Udall speaking during a press conference at the Greensboro Coliseum after the environmental rally on October 12, 1971 or during a much earlier unknown event possibly related to the Blue Ridge Parkway? Photograph by Hugh Morton, scanned from original negative and cropped to match a print in the collection.

Senator B. Everett Jordan then introduced John Glenn, first noting legislation to reduce automobile exhaust and the problem of “one hundred million automobile tires lying around our countryside” plus twenty-eight billion bottles, a like number of cans, and millions of tons of paper products.  Jordan then encouraged the audience to increase the recycling of products that have been seen as waste.

John H. Glenn Jr. addressing the audience at the Greensboro Coliseum, with other speakers waiting in the wings. Photographed using a off-angled perspective by Hugh Morton, cropped to a square format by the author.

John H. Glenn Jr. addressing the audience at the Greensboro Coliseum, with other speakers waiting in the wings. Photographed using a off-angled perspective by Hugh Morton, cropped to a square format by the author.

Recalling his orbital spaceflight John Glenn observed, “We do have closed loop systems that have to refurbish themselves, but we are, in fact, in danger of overtaxing our systems.”  He said nature was waving “red flags” of warning and that “people power” was causing industry and government to take notice.  That, in turn, he said “can generate the heat to get something done.  People power, you bet.”  He then dismissed the saying “the solution to pollution is dilution.”  Glenn said, “We see the red flags going up . . . we better do something about it.”

Roy Sowers, director of the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources introduced Republican Senator Robert Packwood of Oregon, the concluding speaker.  Packwood drew much attention and applause as he addressed measures that could advance population control.  “I am committed,” he said, “to stopping this population binge, and reducing it, turning it around.”

*****

Despite the presence of so many politicians, the North Carolina Jaycees tried its best to keep the event from being political, according to Nat Walker in his “Political Notebook” column for the The Greensboro Daily News with the headline “Environmental Rally Becomes Political Gathering—Naturally.”  Walker said, “The succeeded—sort of.”  Only three North Carolina politicians got to speak from the rostrum—Bowles, Sowers, and Jordon—leaving the remaining “real or potential” candidates to “rely on mingling with the crowd or finding some excuse to stand in front of the audience.”

Sporting a "Hugh WHO? Morton for Governor" pin back button, Hugh Morton (right) poses at the Greensboro Coliseum with two unidentified men. Recognize them? Please leave a comment!

Sporting a “Hugh WHO? Morton for Governor” pin back button, Hugh Morton (right) poses at the Greensboro Coliseum with two unidentified men. Recognize them? Please leave a comment!

Mid October was an interesting time in Hugh Morton’s life.  A month earlier, Morton attended the Governor’s Down-East Jamboree as a undeclared candidate for the 1972 Democratic Party primary.  He would officially declare his candidacy on December 1.  This meant that on October 12 Morton was still an “unofficial” candidate, and was not invited to participate in the flights to the airport rallies.  Two newspapers reported specifically about Morton on that day.  The Charlotte Observer characterized Morton as “unhappy.”  In Charlotte, Morton said that he had, “done more in an environmental way than anyone now running for governor.”  He acknowledged that being an unannounced candidate prevented him from participating.  The Greensboro Daily News painted Morton as being in different mood at the evening’s conference.  Bowles, as an “announced” candidate for governor, got to introduce Udall because C. C. Cameron, a member of the state Board of Natural and Economic Resources, did not attend.  Walker wrote that Morton “appeared miffed” and “pointedly noted that the Jaycees had extended him an invitation to attend the coliseum function.”  Walker then recounted a scene where a “woman reporter” asked Morton when he would announce for governor. “Morton snapped, “When I get ready.”  Walker concluded that the reporter “Apparently couldn’t think of a follow up question and left red-faced.”

Harry Truman and Hugh Morton’s Confederate flag negatives

In our previous post, Jack Hilliard recounted President Harry S. Truman’s participation in the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Winston-Salem campus of Wake Forest College.  We used the photograph below was to illustrate the story, and I mentioned in a parenthetical statement that we would look more closely at the subject in our next post.  On this day with a presidential visit to Chapel Hill, I hereby fulfill my campaign promise.

p0081_ntbs4_000906_02Seven weeks after President Harry S. Truman visited Winston-Salem for the groundbreaking ceremony for Wake Forest College on October 15, 1951, LIFE published a tightly cropped version (see below) of the Hugh Morton photograph shown above in its December 3, 1951 issue.  Morton’s photograph accompanied photographs by other photographers in an article titled, “Warmed Over Again: Politicians turn the Dixie flag into a Sour Gag.”  The brief article paired two other photographs depicting the Confederate flag used in the design of a necktie worn by Alabama Senator Harry Byrd, and as a conductor’s baton in the hand of Atlanta mayor William Hartford directing the city’s symphony playing Dixie.  LIFE published “Warmed Over Again” in a Sequel column as a follow-up to its 15 October article, The Flag, Suh!”

LIFE‘s caption for Morton’s photograph reads, “DUCKING HIS FLAG behind his back, bystander waves loyally at Harry Truman when the latter’s car passes him on its way to Winston-Salem, N.C.” The photograph illustrated a one-paragraph story which concluded with the sentence, “But in Winston-Salem, N.C. one flag waver felt suddenly silly enough to hide the rebel banner when his president passed by.”  On face value that is was appears to be happening.  Can Morton’s other negatives made during Truman’s visit provide some additional insight?  First, some background . . .

Hugh Morton's photograph cropped as it appears in LIFE, 3 December, 1951, page 107.

Hugh Morton’s photograph cropped as it appears in LIFE, 3 December, 1951, page 107.

LIFE‘s The Flag, Suh!”—a one-paragraph article with the subtitle “Confederacy’s banner reaches a new popularity”—stated that “the Confederate Flag last week was enjoying a renascence.”  As examples, the magazine published eight photographs depicting the Confederate flag, including

  • members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy pledging their allegiance;
  • Miss Dixie of 1951 wearing three flags combined to make a blouse;
  • a University of Maryland student’s car as wind-blown decorations as it drives along;
  • a southern division of the U. S. Army parading it along with other colors; and
  • as part of the design of a necktie, worn by southern United States senators’s employees.

The article surmised, “Some interpret all this as an anti-Truman gesture, others possibly more intellectual as a revival in states’ rights.  Most people, however, recognized a fad when they saw one.”

News reporters describing the president’s visit to Winston-Salem offered several nuggets of evidence that give credence to LIFE’s anti-Truman interpretation.  Under the headline, “Confederate Flags Furnish Off Note In Truman Visit,” W. C. Burton, staff writer for the Greensboro Daily Record, described the scene along the presidential route from the airport to Reynolda where the presidential luncheon was to be held:

Crowds lined both sides of the cavalcade’s route through Winston-Salem and the people were is such high spirits that some of them cheered the press busses.  Several of the spectators waved small ten-cent-store United States flags.  A small rebellious, but hardly subversive and probably waggish note, was observed in the Confederate flags which not a few of the onlookers waved.  It may or may not be significant that as the procession moved into the residential section of the better heeled the number of Dixie banners increased.  In any case the secret service men made no move and a hawker who was peddling the Confederate flags admitted that business was not exactly booming.

The Associated Press correspondent assigned to cover Truman, Ernest B. Vaccaro, wrote two articles covering Truman’s trip.  In one, Vaccaro observed that, “Many of the school children along the president’s route waved American flags, but here and there were some Confedete flags.”  Other reporters also took note.  Simmons Fentress of Raleigh’s News and Observer‘s wrote, “There were children by the scores and there were little Confederate flags, dozens of them.  One boy, in a high school band uniform, waved his flag vigorously and shouted, as the cars would pass: ‘The South will rise again.'”  Fentress also wrote, “At one point probably a hundred children were collected.  Perhaps 25 of them had little American flags.  Perhaps 35 of them had little Confederate flags.”

Marjorie Hunter of the Winston-Salem Journal, describing the crowd along the road to Reynolda wrote, “Hundreds of persons waved United States flags as the presidential car passed by.  A few jumped up and down with Confederate flags in their hands.”  Bob Barnard, also with the Winston-Salem Journal described many onlookers including “several little girls waving Confederate flags.”  United Press correspondent Merriman Smith mentioned that “Children and adults waved flags at [Truman’s] car—many of them Confederate banners.”

On a similar note, the Statesville Daily Record recounted the efforts of two young boys who wanted to meet Truman despite the “tight cordon about the President’s party, not allowing anyone to get too close.”  One lad, Charlie Wineberry, “dashed up to the president, proudly wearing his Confederate cap and got a nice handshake from the chief executive.  However, he turned down an offer by newsreel cameramen for a picture with Charlie and the Confederate cap.”

Not limited to the parade route, Confederate flags made their way to the dedication ceremony, too.  The Charlotte Observer noted that “Confederate flags as well as the Stars and Stripes were flying around the grandstand from which President Truman made his address.”  Only United States flags, however, can been seen in Morton’s negative depicting an overview scene of the platform (shown in the previous post).  Perhaps Durham Morning Herald reporter Russell Brantley’s picturing the scene explains it better:

The President, stocky and natty in a double-breasted blue suit, had nothing to say about past squabbles with Southern Democrats over civil rights.  And an estimated crowd of 20,000, many of them Baptists and a number of them sporting Confederate flags, responded with enthusiasm.

Additionally, certain versions of an Associated Press article include a sentence that begins, “The president told the crowd, dozens of whom carried Confederate flags, . . .” So perhaps it was in the grandstands were where the crowd sat, not where the president stood, where the Confederate flags flew.

Does Brantley’e description also shed light on why there were so many Confederate flags that day, namely a displeasure with Truman’s efforts to ensure civil rights for all citizens?  Among Truman’s initial undertakings to this end was the establishment, by Executive Order 9808, of the President’s Committee on Civil Rights in 1946.  The committee had a North Carolina touchstone: Frank Porter Graham, the first president of the consolidated University of North Carolina from 1930 until Truman appointed him to be a member of the committee.  In 1949 Governor W. Kerr Scott, a pro-Truman Democrat (pictured in the photograph above seated next to the president), appointed Graham to complete the term of United States Senator J. Melville Broughton after he died in office after serving only a few months.  In the 1950 race for the seat, Graham lost a primary runoff election to anti-Truman Democrat Willis Smith that was tinged with anti-segrationist sentiments from Smith’s supporters.

Returning to the Morton collection, what else did Hugh Morton photograph that day?  In the collection there are four negatives depicting a man holding a Confederate flag behind his back while waving or possibly saluting Truman.  Morton labeled two of these negatives; both include the name “J. D. Fitz” and “Confederate Flag.”  In addition to the motorcade negative shown above, Morton made three exposures at the airport, similarly posed, one of which is below.

A scan from one of Hugh Morton's 4x5 sheet film negatives labeled with the name J. D. Fitz and "Confederate Flag." Harry Truman is just visible, partially obscured by the left shoulder of the man holding the flag, presumably J. D. Fitz.

A scan from one of Hugh Morton’s 4×5 sheet film negatives labeled with the name J. D. Fitz and “Confederate Flag.” Harry Truman is just visible, partially obscured by the left shoulder of the man holding the flag, presumably J. D. Fitz.

Did Morton encounter this scene, too, with the same person at two different locations?  From the news articles we know this man wasn’t the only person carrying a Confederate flag that day.  Considering Morton’s labeling of the negatives, the “flag waver” mentioned in the LIFE caption is likely J. D. Fitz.  The existence of that many negatives suggests that Morton either preplanned these photographs, encountered Fitz during the event and then staged the similar scenes, or followed Fitz to two locations and then photographed Fitz and his antics.

And who is J. D. Fitz?  I have only a few clues thus far, based upon a United States Census search. In the 1940 census, there is a John D. Fitz, age 24, who lived in Shelby, North Carolina with wife Lina or Lena, who stated his occupation was “Sports Editor” for a “Daily Newspaper.”  The census also provides Fitz’s 1935 residence as Reidsville in Rockingham County.  The Shelby city directory for 1939-1940 lists a “Fitz Jos D (Lena T)” as sports editor for the Shelby Daily Star, but he is not listed in the previous or subsequent Shelby directories.  There is a “Fitz Jos D” listed as a clerk at Kroger Grocery & Baking Co. in 1932 Reidsville city directory, and again as a clerk at Piggly Wiggly in Reidsville’s 1935 city directory.  Given Morton’s love of sports and sports photography, did he know Fitz?

There are two other clues to consider.  In the above photograph, note the reporter-style notebook in the left pocket of the man on the right. Was he also a reporter?  And finally, notice the box at his feet. Could that have been Morton’s camera box?

Are there other possibilities?  What do you think?

Breaking new ground: a transition to Winston-Salem

Prolog
June 5, 1950 was a very special day on the old Wake Forest College campus in Wake Forest, North Carolina.  It was commencement day but it was also the day the College Board of Trustees met and selected Wake’s tenth President.  Near the end of commencement ceremonies, Dean of the College Dr. Daniel Bryan announced that the Board had selected Dr. Harold Wayland Tribble as the new President.  Wake’s college yearbook, Howler, closed its year-end summary for 1950 with these words:

Dr. Tribble enters his new service at the crucial time in both the world and local history. One of his chief jobs during the next few years will be to complete the proposed campus move to Winston-Salem; a move that could presage a new era of Wake Forest service to the South.

Introduction
October 15, 2016 marks the 65th anniversary of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Reynolda Campus at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.  The special guest and keynote speaker that day was President Harry S. Truman.  The special ceremony received national media coverage. Like so many important events in North Carolina’s history, Hugh Morton was there with camera in hand to document the proceedings.  On this special anniversary, Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back to that day in 1951.

President Harry S. Truman giving a speech at a podium at the groundbreaking of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

President Harry S. Truman giving a speech at a podium at the groundbreaking of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

North Carolina’s lead story on March 25, 1946, was that the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem’s  had offered $350,000 a year in perpetuity to Wake Forest College, if it would move from Wake Forest, North Carolina where it had been since its founding in 1834, to a new campus in Winston-Salem. Included as part of the deal was 300 acres of land in the Reynolda area from Charles H. Babcock, a Winston-Salem investment banker.  Also in the package was a $2 million challenge grant from William N. Neal and his niece Nancy Reynolds Babcock to cover building expenses.  The Reynolds Foundation offer and the Babcock land deal would increase substantially by October, 1951.

Although Wake Forest’s medical school had made the move to Winston-Salem in 1941, (now the Bowman Gray School of Medicine,) and set up on the Hawthorne Campus about four miles from the Reynolda site, there was still some opposition to the move.  Over its long history, Wake Forest College always seemed to have the right president in place when crucial events were at hand. That was never truer than on a spring day in 1950 when university leaders selected Dr. Harold W. Tribble to head the Baptist institution.  Dr. Tribble knew how to fuel the challenge-grant drive and quell the opposition.  He was able to do both with extensive travels to address alumni groups, preach sermons, and address gatherings such as Gordon Gray’s inauguration as University of North Carolina system president on October 10, 1950.

The university set a groundbreaking date for October 15, 1951.  Dr. Tribble knew the groundbreaking ceremony had to be special, something that would send a signal that the “move is on.”  He was able to utilize special contacts that Gordon Gray had made during his time as a White House assistant, along with the influence of alumnus Gerald Johnson, a columnist for the Baltimore Sun. Dr. Tribble sent a special invitation to President Harry S. Truman to join in the groundbreaking ceremony.  On the afternoon of October 2, 1951, he received word from Matthew Connelly, one of Truman’s White House aides, that the president had accepted the invitation.

Conservative Baptists weren’t exactly thrilled with the choice of Truman because of his rough language from time to time and his pro-civil rights inclinations.  But the importance of a Truman appearance would bring national media coverage and send that clear signal that Tribble wanted: this move is going to happen.

October 15, 1951 was declared a holiday for the 1,800 students on the old Wake Forest campus.  In the early morning hours, buses were lined up and ready to transport the students to Winston-Salem for the groundbreaking ceremony.  All four of Greensboro’s radio stations were in place to broadcast Truman’s speech, plus there was also a nationwide radio hookup.  And the market’s only TV station at the time, WFMY-TV in Greensboro planned to film the proceedings for later broadcast in their news programs.  By late morning, a threat of rain had disappeared leaving a perfect day for the presidential visit and some serious ceremonial spadework.

A crowd estimated at 4,000 was waiting for the president’s arrival at Smith Reynolds Airport.  The Mineral Springs High School Band entertained the crowd with the march “Our Director” and “The Washington and Lee Swing.”  At 10:13 North Carolina Governor W. Kerr Scott arrived from Raleigh, accompanied by Hugh Morton, member of the state board of Conservation and Development, and Joseph Crawford, former warden at Central Prison.

Two four-engine-planes preceded that of the president: the first carried North Carolina’s congressional delegation while the second carried the Washington press corp.  That second group brought the total number of press members to over 200, including the David Brinkley crew from NBC-TV.  Brinkley, a North Carolina native, had recently joined NBC News in the nation’s capital. Then, at 11:29 AM the president’s plane touched down. At that moment, President Harry S. Truman became the first United States president to visit Winston-Salem since George Washington’s visit during his Southern tour of 1791.  On this day, Truman was aboard a four-engine Air Force transport; his private plane, called the “Independence,” had experienced engine problems and had been left in Washington.

University of North Carolina President Gordon Gray (center) and North Carolina Governor W. Kerr Scott (left) welcoming President Harry Truman at the Winston-Salem airport, as he arrives to attend ground-breaking ceremonies at the new Winston-Salem, N.C. campus of Wake Forest University.

University of North Carolina President Gordon Gray (center) and North Carolina Governor W. Kerr Scott (left) welcoming President Harry Truman at the Winston-Salem airport, as he arrives to attend ground-breaking ceremonies at the new Winston-Salem, N.C. campus of Wake Forest University.

At the foot of the landing platform, Governor Scott, Tribble, Gray, and Winston-Salem Mayor Marshall C. Kurfees greeted Truman, who was accompanied by his aides from each of the military services.  Scott, Tribble, and Truman then made their way across the tarmac where special limousines were waiting.  Crowds lined both sides of the six-mile route to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Babcock, where the president was honored with a special luncheon.  Winston-Salem Police Chief James I. Waller led the motorcade followed by a car of secret service officers.  Along the route, several in the crowd waved small United States flags, and a few others waved the old Confederate flag. In its December 3, 1951 issue Life published a Hugh Morton photograph of a person holding a Confederate flag behind his back as Truman’s automobile passed by. (Our next post will look at that subject in more detail.)  About 240 North Carolina State Highway Patrolmen, assisted by Greensboro and Winston-Salem police officers patrolled the route. The presidential motorcade arrived at Reynolda at noon.

Hugh Morton's photograph cropped as it appears in LIFE, 3 December, 1951, page 107.

Hugh Morton’s photograph cropped as it appears in LIFE, 3 December, 1951, page 107.

At 1:55 PM, the motorcade reformed and headed to the future home of Wake Forest College where a crowd of about 20,000 was already in place. The ceremony began at 2 PM with an invocation by Dr. Ralph W. Herring, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Dr. Herring was followed by the formal presentation of the land on which the new college would be located, by Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Babcock.  Dr. Casper Warren, Chairman of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention’s fund-raising committee, then presented a one-million-dollar gift for construction of the first campus building, which was to be a chapel.  Accepting both gifts was Judge Hubert E. Olive, President of the Wake Forest College Board of Trustees.  Gordon Gray then delivered greetings from the educational institutions of North Carolina.

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Detail from the image below of Harry S. Truman speaking at the podium.

At approximately 2:30, Tribble introduced the nation’s chief executive.  Truman, a fellow Baptist, then delivered what had been billed as a major policy address.  The president  began with a tribute to the 117-year-history of Wake Forest College.

It is a privilege to join my fellow Baptists in rejoicing at the enlargement and rebuilding of one of our great institutions.  It is a privilege to join the people of North Carolina in celebrating their devotion to freedom of the mind and spirit. . . Wake Forest College has given 117 years of distinguished service to education and religion in this state.  Over the years, the college has sent thousands of graduates out through the land to positions of leadership and trust.

Truman then talked about the tense international situation, saying that many Americans oppose the present costly defense efforts, which he insisted were essential for peace.  He  made an offer to work out a plan of atomic weapons control with Russia adding, “I cannot guarantee that we will reach our goal. The result does not depend entirely on our own efforts. The rulers of the Kremlin can plunge the world into carnage if they desire to do so. . . . The only way they’ll respect and live up to any agreement is because they know someone is strong enough to carry it out.”  This statement brought many in the crowd to their feet.  Truman closed with this: “Armed with faith and hope that made this college and this country great, you may declare in the words of King David, ‘through God we shall do valiantly.'”

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Following the Presidential address, a dedicatory prayer was given by Dr. George D. Heaton, pastor of Myers Park Baptist Church of Charlotte.  Then it was groundbreaking time. The President was handed a decorated shovel and then yelled to the assembled photographers, “All y’all ready?” He then turned the first shovel full of dirt, followed by Judge Olive, then O. M. Mull, chairman of the college building committee.  President Tribble then turned that final shovel full, thus making it official: the construction of the Reynolda Campus of Wake Forest College in Winston-Salem was underway.

The President headed back to the airport for his return to the Nation’s Capital.  He would be home by 4:47 PM.  It would be almost five years before the completion of the first fourteen buildings, in time for the first students who arrived on the Winston-Salem campus in the fall of 1956.

Epilog:

Dr. Harold W. Tribble led Wake Forest College until his retirement on June 6, 1967.  In his seventeen-year term as president of the school, assets increased from about $10.5 million to more than $91 million and the number of students grew from 1,800 to 3.000.
When Dr. Tribble took office in May of 1950 he had two dreams for the school.  One of those dreams was fulfilled in the fall of 1956 when the first students arrived on the Winston-Salem campus. The second was to see Wake Forest College achieve University status, which it achieved on June 18, 1967—twelve days before Dr. Tribble retired.

Who am I? National Governors Conference Executive Committee Members meet with President Dwight D. Eisenhower

This Hugh Morton photograph was likely taken at the White House on March 19, 1958—the day President Dwight Eisenhower met with the National Governors Conference Executive Committee regarding the economy and unemployment.

This Hugh Morton photograph was likely taken at the White House on March 19, 1958—the day President Dwight Eisenhower met with the National Governors Conference Executive Committee regarding the economy and unemployment.

So your NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket has been shot to pieces by all the upsets and now you are looking for something educational to satisfy your brain’s curiosity?  Well it’s been awhile since we have had a “Who am I?” post, and the photograph above–made by Hugh Morton fifty-eight years ago today on 19 March 1958–presents a good opportunity for a revival.

The photograph above depicts the National Governors Conference Executive Committee meeting with President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the White House. For the occasion Morton shot 120 format roll film, which has twelve exposures per roll; only frame numbers 3, 4, and 7 through 12, however, are extant . . . or at least filed together by Morton as negatives used in the book Making a Difference in North Carolina, which he co-authored with Ed Rankin, Jr.  Clicking on the link in the first sentence of this paragraph will take you to the four images from the eight negatives selected for the online Morton collection.  From there you can click on each of the images and use the zoom tool to get closer looks at their gubernatorial and presidential faces.  In the descriptions for each of those images you will see the following phrase:

Caption in Morton’s book MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN NORTH CAROLINA indicates that the gathering was an 10/1/1957 emergency meeting of Eisenhower and select Southern governors regarding the Little Rock school integration crisis, however, Faubus and Muskie were not in attendance at that meeting.

Those descriptions had stated that the photographs were likely made on March 19, 1958, but did not identify the occasion.  Using newspapers.com, I was able to determine the nature of the meeting from three Associated Press articles—if the revised date is correct—and update the description.

Background to the photograph

The United States experienced a recession between August 1957 and April 1958, referred to by some sources as “The Eisenhower Recession.”  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for 1958 rose to 6.8%, up from 4.3% from the previous year.  It was the highest unemployment rate by far yet to be experienced after World War II.

On March 8th Eisenhower wrote a letter to the Republican minority leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives concerning measures to aid economic growth.  Eisenhower acknowledged the government needed to take steps to stimulate the economy, but he was “concerned over the sudden upsurge of pump-priming schemes” emerging from Congress.  The president’s letter detailed several actions that his administration had already taken, but it also included the following:

I deeply believe that we must move promptly to meet the needs of those wage earners who have exhausted their unemployment compensation benefits under state laws and have not yet found employment. I have requested the Secretary of Labor to present to me next week a proposal which, without intruding on present state obligations and prerogatives, would extend for a brief period the duration of benefits for these unemployed workers. This would enable eligible unemployed individuals to receive weekly benefits for a longer period than is now permitted under state laws and thus enable them to continue to seek jobs with a greater measure of security. I shall shortly place such a proposal before the Congress.

That letter eventually led to the meeting with the governors.  James Bell wrote one of the three Associated Press articles mentioned above, and it explained the context of the March 19th meeting: Congress was drawing up “job-creating measures while it awaited President Eisenhower’s unemployment compensation measures.”

The second AP article, written without a byline, mainly reported on the press conference held by the governors after the meeting where California Governor Goodwin Knight outlined the president’s proposal.  The article notes that the White House called the governors to the White House, and it contains the names of all the governors in attendance: Luther Hodges of North Carolina, Albert D. Rosellini of Washington, Edmund Muskie of Maine, Orval Faubus of Arkansas, William G. Stratton of Illinois, John E. Davis of North Dakota, and Joseph B Johnson of Vermont.

So the “Who Am I?” question is: who is who in Morton’s photographs?  Some of the people in the descriptions already have names with faces, but others do not.  If you recognize any or can figure them out from other images on the Internet, please leave a comment below.

The third article I uncovered, written by Associated Press News Analyst James Marlow, assessed the meeting.  Some newspapers published an AP photograph along with the article.  Each newspaper wrote its own headline for Marlow’s analysis; The Salinas Journal (Salinas, Kansas) headline, for example, asked, “Was The Conference A Farce?”  Marlow began his article, “In fifteen years in Washington this writer has never seen anything more fouled up than what happened at the White House after President Eisenhower conferred with eight state governors.  It was hard to tell whether a rabbit was being pulled out of the hat, or a rabbit was being put back into a hat.”  When Eisenhower first floated his idea he seemed to be thinking of a grant that didn’t need to be paid back to the federal government, which is how the governors understood it.  Then the administration began talking about it as a loan that states would need to pay back.

Marlow pointed out that all but about six states had adequate unemployment compensation funds to extend the period in which the jobless could could draw upon, and that most states had a maximum of twenty-six weeks, “but they have declined to do so.”  Marlow asked one governor, who chose to remain anonymous, “Since no more than six states might need federal help to extend the jobless pay periods and all the rest have enough money to do it, if they want to why should the government have to hand out money to those other 42?”  The governor responded, ” That is the best question of the day.  And the best answer to it is that the question answers itself.”

On March 21st The Daily Times-News of Burlington, N.C wrote an an editorial titled “Let’s Say a Little Politics Right or Wrong in this Case.”  It characterized Hodges’ impression of the meeting as “a waste of time for all concerned.”  While Hodges agreed that a number of states had unemployment benefit finance troubles, he stated that North Carolina had a reserve fund of $178 million at the time.  The editorial continued, “Governor Hodges is quoted as having said this: ‘I did not think and I do not think now the problem was serious enough to warrant calling the people together and making such a hullabaloo.  My own conviction is that they should have done a lot more checking with the states before making any announcements that the administration planned to offer a proposal to extend unemployment benefits.'”

On June 4th President Eisenhower signed the Unemployment Compensation Act of 1958, which treated federal funds for unemployment compensation, accepted by states that requested them, as loans.