“When my Dad went broke mining coal in the early 1950s he moved his wife and two youngest sons from Gadsden, Ala., to Charlotte, where he had managed to hang on to his syrup plant.
“I worked there when I was a boy, starting when I was 13 or 14 years old, making Dixie Dew Syrup, an excellent honey flavored syrup….
“The plant where he manufactured syrup and, later, clothes hangers, was in the basement of a building on Graham Street in what is now part of the parking lot of the stadium where the Carolina Panthers football team plays…”
— From “The Sweat Shop” by Pat Stith at the Final Edition
Fifty years ago today — the day after Oswald killed Kennedy, the day before Ruby killed Oswald — a telephone call may have been attempted from the Dallas jail to a number in Raleigh. Regardless, no call went through.
This lengthy and evenhanded account of the episode appeared in the News & Observer in 1980, but what has become known to the conspiracy community as “the Raleigh Call” continues to defy convincing explanation.
“When I look back, I think my greatest mistake [was] my failure as editor of the News & Observer to make sure we had a top-notch investigative reporter on the Little Rascals [Day Care] case in Edenton…. That prosecutor had gone wild, eaten up by ambition, I suppose, to hang these people….
“All the kids talked about being borne through the air this way and that way and flying all over, and it was crazy stuff. As it turned out, [the Edenton Seven were eventually released], but it wrecked their lives forever. And I still feel sorry about that….
“I think had we sent someone like Pat Stith down there, that would have been it. But see, at that time, Edenton already was a pretty far reach for the News & Observer…. [Our] pulling out of eastern North Carolina [to cut expenses] might have affected my thinking [about] whether we were really responsible for doing something about that miscarriage of justice.”
— From Joseph Mosnier’s interview with Claude Sitton, editor of the News & Observer from 1968 to 1990 (Southern Oral History Program, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill, July 12, 2007)
My blog, littlerascalsdaycarecase.org, has Sitton’s complete comments on the case.