Saturday, December 31, 2011

Picture of the Day

January 14, 1954: Baseball immortal Joe DiMaggio and Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe are all smiles after their San Francisco City Hall wedding ceremony.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Prez and The Boss

"I'm the President, but he's the boss." ~President Barack Obama, as he presents Bruce Springsteen the 2009 Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award.

Catching The Boss and The E Street Band on tour in concert is toward the top of my bucket list. Springsteen, a 62-year old New Jersey native, has earned 20 Grammys, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award. He is a classic and an entertainment icon of our time.

Named by 'Rolling Stone' as the 23rd Greatest Artist of All-Time, a career highlight of his for me was his appearance at the 2008 Presidential Inauguration, performing Woody Guthries's "This Land is Your Land" with Pete Seeger.

Quote of the Day

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Picture of the Day

Beautiful winter image featuring the cardinal, a very prevalent bird in North Carolina. New digital camera technology gives us such wonderful images today. Thanks to friend John Pierce for this serene, stunning image.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Powerful Civil War Image

Beautiful Civil War image of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jeb Stuart, as they pray before the Battle of Fredricksburg. This is a print done by John Paul Strain, and shared by friend Winston Blair.

Picture of the Day

Washington, DC, Friday, January 20, 1961: John F. Kennedy and Jacquelyn Bouvier Kennedy proceed from their Georgetown home for inaugural ceremonies and a full day of inaugural activities. This was such a positive, optimistic time for America.

My older brother, Bill, was in attendance at the main inaugural ball, having been selected to serve as an Honor Guard, representing the United States Coast Guard. He was on active duty at Cape May, New Jersey at the time. My Mother was very proud.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

God, Incarnate, reveals Himself to us. The Peace of the Season to all.............all year around.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

ThePoint's Choice as 2011 Picture of the Year

This is the widely viewed photo of the Barack Obama national security team watching the progress of the Navy Seal team's mission against Osama Bin Laden. The mission resulted in the death of Bin Laden.

ThePoint is pleased to select, by a wide margin, this image as it's choice for 2011 Photograph of the Year, due to the critical nature of the setting and the mission, which is no doubt captured in the image. This picture is the essence of superior photojournalism.

Picture of the Day

The Red Room in the White House decorated the Christmas 2011.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One of a Kind

I first heard about this guy in 1976. He was age 29. I was active in the North Carolina Young Democrats and he was the newly elected State Attorney General in Arkansas. They said he was a certain "can't miss". He was talked of him as a young sports sensation who was destined for greatness and the Hall of Fame. He was described as one with ability, looks, skills, charm, instincts, none before him. I'll never forget it.

Bill Clinton has had quite a career......just as they predicted, like no other. Twice a Governor, twice a President, a prolific author, leader and founder of the Clinton Global Initiative and Foundation, and age 65, a continued, respected world leader and significant influence on history's course. Recently, I was honored to meet him, visit with him, and have a picture taken with him. I told him I was seeing Jim Hunt at a function the next night. He said, "tell old Jim I did nothing to embarrass him while here in Carolina", and then he just laughed out loud!

He's been on in the mat, they've had him on the ropes, but he's resilient. He is uniquely one of a kind. I like the following quote from his new book,"Back to Work". He says, "There is simply no evidence that we can succeed in the twenty-first century with an anti-government strategy, based on and grounded in a philosophy of, 'you're on your own', rather than, 'we're all in this together." He believes that conflict between government and the private sector has proved to be good politics but has produced bad policies and a weak economy.

Far from perfect (like all of us), Clinton is one of the good guys..........for both our country and the world.

Christmas Blessings

Christmas is about giving and receiving, and certainly about worshiping. But for me, Christmas has grown to become a time to be grateful for God's gifts, beyond the gift of himself through Christ.

I like Erma's little quote above. She's always witty. But I'm certain I do not use everything He gave me. Each day my prayer is, among others, for forgiveness for not being that person God would have me be or intended me to be.

But being grateful, I can be, and I am. Christmas is a wonderful time to be cognizant of, and focused on, that which has blessed us.

2011 marked the marriage of Elizabeth to Brandon. What a wonderful celebration and weekend that was. The service at First Baptist Church, and the grand reception following, was a life's memory and blessing.

My course time at Elon University this fall was just amazing. I was honored to be introduced to Retired Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Dr. John Sullivan. What courses he lead in humanity.

Our visits to The Carter Center and The Carter Presidential Library and Museum this summer were wonderful. Our short time in Columbia with Rob and Jamie.......our time in Chattanooga with Brandon and Elizabeth, another grand summer with Bunny at baseball games. Other involvements such as volunteer time at the Hall of Champions, the Wyndam, the church.......all blessings. The knowledge that Rob, with Governor Nikki, and Elizabeth, at Blue Cross, are productive citizens and making a contribution........ all are such blessings.

My suggestion is to list them, to count them, to take none of them for granted, to savor them. It's Christmas.

"Hay House" - Macon, Georgia

Completed in 1859, and called "the Palace of the South", the "Hay House" in Macon, decorated for Christmas, makes for a stunning and elegant image.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Picture of the Day

Above is picture of great license tag I enjoyed viewing during a visit to, and tour of, the James Cox For President collection of political memorabilia at the Cox Communications Headquarters in Atlanta this summer. The collection contained the largest number of Cox items in one collection. Cox, the Democratic nominee for President in 1920, ran on the ticket with a young Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On the same trip, I was also fortunate to enjoy an inside, behind the scenes tour of the Carter Center and Carter Presidential Museum and Library.........making it a great trip for a collector of political memorabilia, and, yes, a political and current events junkie.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The End of a War

After divisive war, lasting nearly 9 long years, President Barack Hussein Obama welcomes back home U. S. Army personnel from Iraq, December 14, 2011. God bless the troops, their families, and their sacrifice.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Picture of the Day

Old-time, dirt, stock car race track at the Greensboro NC Fairgrounds. This property is now the site of the Greensboro Coliseum complex.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Picture of the Day

Christmas shoppers crowd into Manhattan's 34th Street on Monday, December 9, 1929.

Season's Greetings

Rejoice in the miracle of the Christmas Season.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Era of Segregation

It is always interesting to come upon photographs from the era of segregation in the South. This photo was taken in 1940 in Durham, NC at the bus depot. The bus is owned by Carolina Coach Company. A waiting room for African Americans is clearly marked.

So it was in the South prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Segregated waiting rooms, water fountains, bathrooms, eating facilities, movie theaters, schools, etc. were the order of the day. Thank goodness for progress and a much greater sense fairness for African Americans over the past decades, resulting a greater sense of dignity and quality of life for all Americans.

Much of the change and progress began at the downtown Woolworth's lunch counter in my hometown of Greensboro, NC, February 1, 1960. You will find related blogs in 'ThePoint' by putting "Woolworth's" in the blog search bar.

Picture of the Day

Women campaign by train in 1916 for GOP presidential candidate Charles Evans Hughes. Hughes would go on the lose, in a close race, to Woodrow Wilson. Hughes' long life of public serice included his being the 36th Governor of New York, a Law Professor at Cornell, a Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and U. S. Secretary of State under President Harding. It was said of Hughes that his "remarkable intellect and social gift".....made him a superb leader and administrator.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pictures of the Day

Comiskey Park, Chicago, Wednesday, September 9, 1931, as Cubs Hall of Fame catcher Gabby Hartnett signs autograph for a beaming proud Papa "Scarface" Al Capone's son Albert "Sonny" Capone. Hartnett draw ire from Commissioner "Mountain" Landis, who was in attendance at the game, for his association with Capone. The Cubs and White Sox were playing a charity game at the southside ballpark.

Wigley Field, Chicago, April 21, 1926, as new Cubs Manager John McGraw comes over to talk with team owner William Wigley prior to the team's home opener against Cincinnati. Wigley and 33,000 cubs fans went home happy as Cubs defeated the Reds 4-3.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Picture of the Day

Very cool 1915 photograph of none other than Casey Stengel, patrolling the outfield for the Brooklyn Dodgers (wearing new fangled sunglasses no less!). Charles Dillon Stengel's nickname, by the way, came from the initials of his hometown, Kansas City, and has nothing to do with the poem, "Casey At The Bat."

Casey went on, of course, to manage the great New York Yankees during the Golden Era of baseball and became known as "the old professor." He guided the Yankees to 7 World Series Championships, including 4 in a row from 1950 through 1953.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The White House - December 1938

A beautiful, snowy day outside of the White House in 1938. President Roosevelt, in not the best of health, legs confined by braces, was likely inside contemplating the growing war in Europe.

Just ahead was a year to be filled with significant events such as the growing menace of Adolph Hitler in Europe, and on the home front the opening of the 1939 New York World's Fair, the premiers of both "Gone With The Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz", Al Capone's release from Alcatraz, Lou Gehrig's retirement from baseball due to his ALS, and the great thoroughbred racehorse Seabiscuit making the front page, above the fold, almost weekly.

As America continued to struggle through the Great Depression and confront major events, big change was around the corner for both the President and for all Americans.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Army/Navy - November 29, 1919

One of my favorite vintage photographs. The Army-Navy game at The Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NY, November 29, 1919.

Dignitaries shown here left to right: General Peyton C. March, Secretary of War Newton C. Baker, General John J. Pershing, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Admiral Archibald S. Scales, Superintendent of the U. S. Naval Academy.

Daniels was Publisher and owner of the Raleigh News and Observer, and was one of President Wilson's primary liaisons and links to the segregated south.

December 7, 2011 Reflection

It is a rainy December 7, 2011, a good day to reflect. 70 years ago today, World War II began for America, "a date which will live in infamy", said President Roosevelt. It was ironically this event that necessitated America finally getting involved in the war, precepitating the alliance between Churchill and Roosevelt, an alliance and relationship which likely saved Western Civilization.

Today is my in-law's 66th wedding anniversary. Andy returned from the South Pacific at the end of the war in 1945 and married Jean a couple of months later. They are 'hanging in there', still in their home of nearly 50 years. Bunny delivered breakfast to them this morning.

I reflect on, and pray hard for, my dear daughter Elizabeth, who is now pregnant with her first child, after a beautiful 2011 wedding to Brandon. I reflect on my man Rob, as he helps Nikki run the great state of South Carolina. I have so much to be grateful for and much to be concerned it should be.

I continue to reflect on my semester long series of classes at Elon this much wisdom imparted. I especially recall, and like, the following two quotes shared by Dr. John Sullivan, Retired Professor of Philosophy, who coordinated the semester. The first one helped open the semester, the second one helped close the semester.

"We stand in the middle of 7 generations, three behind us, the parents, the grandparents, and the great grandparents, and three before us, the children, the grandchildren, and the great grandchildren. Everything we do and everything we say should be measured against, 'does it honor the ancestors and does it teach the children.'" ~Navajo Proverb

"We must look after the children, for they have a long way to go. We must look after the elders, for they have been a long way. We must look after those in the middle, for they must do the work." ~Nelson Mandala

Peace and Blessings of the Season

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Powerful and Moving Photojournalism From 2011

A loyal military dog stays by his soldier. Click the link below to see 44 other emotionally powerful images from 2011.

Picture of the Day

Great, old vintage photograph of Knute Rockne and Christy Walsh between Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who are flanked by three unidentified gentlemen. Walsh was a pioneer in the sports agent business. He coined the term "ghost writer". My guess is that the photo was taken in a hotel banquet room in the late '20s and was related to the publicizing of the Notre Dame / Southern California football game.

The Low Quality of 2011 GOP Presidential Candidates

I am concerned about the low quality of candidates which have emerged as standard bearers for the Grand Old Party. For the most part, they seem to have neither the intellectual capacity, judgement, values, nor experience we would hope for in candidates for President of the United States and leaders of the free world.

My theory as to why this is relates to the general very low regard that Republicans have for the concept government. This attitude began, in the modern era, as Ronald Reagan was advised by conservative "think tanks", to espouse "government is the problem, not the solution." As a result of this low regard for the public sector, the best and brightest of those with ideological views consistent with this attitude, modern day Republicans, want nothing to do with government. They do not believe in the power of government to help make people's lives better. They see government as an impediment. They generally do not believe in the concept of "community." Therefore, they remain out of government and in the private sector.

They generally believe that if Jim Bob, who has a machine shop around the corner, is just left alone by government, that the world will be just fine, regardless of who is occupying seats of power in Washington. They believe that the marketplace left alone, and a people free from the constraints of government (except for those programs dear to THEM), is all that matters.

Well, that is very far from reality. The next President of the United States, as with past Presidents, will determine the direction in which the world proceeds for years into the future. He will determine matters related to war and peace, to the position of America related to new, emerging economic powers, and he will represent America and her values on the world stage. He will set a vision and strategy regarding domestic issues such as health care reform, abortion, immigration policy, taxation, climate change, job creation, and more.

Republicans need to awaken to the fact the we live in an interdependent nation and world. They need to awaken to the fact that those who lead, who have vision and develop strategy, are very critical to our future and to our direction. They need to get serious about leadership. They need to develop a respect and a regard for the organizational structure of America, called government, which our founding father's established and which has resulted in the wealthiest nation, the most compassionate nation, and a nation with the highest standard of living, for the most people, in the history of the world.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Al Smith for President

The New York Yankees go to bat for Al Smith for President in 1928. Smith was Governor of New York state. Babe Ruth, second from front, and Lou Gehrig, third from the back, are most obvious. The bat boy, in front, looks less than happy with the activity.

FDR at Wigley Field - 1932

Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt attends game three of the World Series at Wrigley field , October 1, 1932, while campaigning for President in the Windy City. Cubs Manager Charlie Grimms and Yankee Manager Joe McCarthy pose with the Governor (wife Eleanor behind him) prior to the game. It was this game, won by the Yanks 7-5, that Babe Ruth was said to have "called his shot" before hitting at home run over the center field fence at Wrigley.

The Roosevelts - 1932

New York Governor and Presidential Candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt, at Hyde Park, NY, January 30, 1932, on the occasion of the governors 50th birthday. Flanking the governor are his mother, Sara, and wife, Eleanor. In the back row , from the left, Mr. and Mrs. Elliott Roosevelt, Mr. and Mrs. James Roosevelt, Anna Roosevelt Dell and her husband Curtis Dell.

Scopes "Monkey Trial" - 1925

Powerful image of opposing counsels Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes "Monkey Trial" in 1925. Even then, in this highly charged trial about the teaching of evolution, these fierce adversaries seem cordial and respectful of one another, a trait seldom seem today.

Picture of the Day

Army's 1968-69 team captain and point guard Mike Krzezewski and coach Bobby Knight. Coach and player are now #1 and #2 in total wins as college basketball coaches with over 1800 wins between them. Coach K recently passed his mentor with 903 wins.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Adding Life to Our Years"

My experience in the Life@Elon adult enrichment courses this semester has been outstanding. The course variety and the quality of instructor have exceeded all expectations. The following are my notes from an excellent course entitled "Adding Life to Our Years."

"The hallmark of aging is the reduced ability to respond adaptively to environmental change. Adaptation is the key. Both the positive and the negative are important, and it is the pull/tension between the two that causes growth, if properly managed (as in Erickson's Psychological Stages). It is the adapting and the responding that matters. Neither wisdom nor sound health come automatically with age. We stay the same (young and healthy) by being in a constant state of flux. It is the adapting and the interplay that both strengthens us physically and that makes us wiser.

The concept of Homeostasis, the state of balance in the body and mind, is important. This balance is maintained by a series of negative feedback mechanisms (like challenges), such as when the thermostat in the home rises when the temperature in the house gets cool in order to regain the proper temperature........ in order to maintain proper balance. We must change......challenge that we are required to adapt in that effort to maintain and stay the same.

We must constantly challenge ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually, such as in "circuit training", that is, not engaging in the same activity repeatedly. We must incorporate variety and change into everyday activities. Value the struggle and the not value ease and comfort.

"I am not my body", is a critical concept. We are, in essence, a soul and a spirit......soul, in this context, meaning mind, will, and emotions. There is more to life than functioning well. Go deep, be deep, be reflective.

Social connections are closely related to longevity. Have many of them. It's not the events of life that stress us, it's what we think of the events, what we tell ourselves about the events, which stresses us. Be in the moment. Do not multi-task, when avoidable. Don't act like, look like, sound like, or be like any of the "senior" stereotypes (to the extent possible). Don't use the term "senior moment".

"Life consists of what a person is thinking about all day." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson. That is the most important concept. LOVE.....honor others, forgive, express gratitude and hope, be passionate, and be attentive to the present and to the moment. Attention is sacred. Stay engaged in life and in the community. Continue "to become." Be a part of something larger. Aging can be a great, transformative process.

To Add Life to Our Years: 1) Be present, 2) Feed the body, soul, and spirit, 3) Challenge the body, soul, and spirit, and 3) Do what you were made to do."

Instructor - Charity Johannson, PT, PhD, GCS - Associate Professor, Elon University
Student, Note Taker - Bob Godfrey, M.Ed., (Elon College, 1971 - UNC-G, 1972)

(The two guys pictured above are at a baseball game....... attempting to "add life to our years"....... friend, and Elon graduate, Jack McKeon, 81-year old manager of the 2011 Florida Marlins, as well as manager of the 2003 World Champion Marlins, and yours truly).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

Yes, This Is What HE Meant

That Most Important Underlying 'Social Contract'

GOP Debate Audience Behavior Magnifies Divide

The divide in America is deepening. A continued sluggish economy, high unemployment, a divisive media, more access to information, a black President, a growing sense of bitterness in those on the far extremes, are just some of the reasons and indications. The audience behavior at the Republicans debates is both indicative of the growing divide and should be a source of great concern to all of us.

In last night's debate, the audience booed a video of a gay soldier serving in Iraq who has 'come out' after repeal of DADT. In the California debate at the Reagan Library, the audience applauded mention of the high number of executions in Texas and Rick Perry's support of the death penalty. In the Tampa, CNN-Tea Party Express debate, the audience cheered to idea of letting a 30-year old uninsured man die without care. Videos of all of those are available on Youtube.

I do not think we can solve the economic problems of America until we are better able to sit down around the table of humanity and respect our differences. I am strongly on the opposite side of those Republican audiences on the three issues mentioned above (and I feel repulsed by the audience response). Even so, it is value of mine to try and respect the attitude, values, opinions, and beliefs of others. But as extreme and vehement as these Republicans positions are, it would make it difficult for me to negotiate in good faith around economic issues with these people. I know that is likely the case in Congress.

The answer evades me. I hate to sound 'old', but I have never seen it like this. I suggest both sides do intense self-examination, but that Republicans, in particular, look to their inner being, to their core, to "the better angels of their nature", to higher level instincts. I suggest they not build their arguments, priorities, and passions around the issue of money and economics. Those material and financial solutions will follow a deeper commitment to higher level human and spiritual principles.

There's a great Navajo proverb which says: "We're living in the middle of 7 generations, three behind us (parents, grandparents, great grandparents), and three ahead of us (children, grandchildren, great grandchildren). Everything we do should be measured against ,'will it honor the ancestors', and, 'will it serve the children'." Please, let's wake up as a human family.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

An Ideological War Continues

The debt crisis, jobs, and economic policy are tools and weapons in the war. America continues to be stuck in an ideological / cultural war for control.......control in order to develop the agenda, to set the priorities, direct the discussion, appoint the Supreme Court vacancies, etc.

In times past, small, fringe groups of Americans made noise, but large majorities agreed on goals, objectives, and direction for America. Now very large percentages of Americans are polarized, unyielding, and divided by ideological differences.

President Obama was elected on the "Change and Hope" mantra. His theme of "Yes We Can" is appearing virtually impossible to realize in the face of fierce, uncompromising, ideological opposition from the Tea Party, which, in my view, would take America back to a time of social injustice, unfairness, and extreme inequity among groups of Americans. They would abandon values which have made America unique and great.

Thank God, I honestly do not see this happening. I see a continued struggle, but one which, at some point, will begin to tact back in the direction of a mainstream America, whose principles, founded on strong Judeo Christian roots*, will once again be characterized by a sense of goodness, fairness, compassion, and the common good.

*The basic concept of our Judeo-Christian roots implies that the laws, love, and compassion of God forms the basis for good human law.

John Adams, February 22, 1756:

"Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their law book, and every member would regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obligated in conscious to temperance, frugality and industry; to justice , kindness, and charity toward his fellow man; and to piety, love and reverence toward Almighty God.... What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Grandpa Elliot & Oscar Castro - "Only You" New Orleans Street Music

Such good New Orleans street music. New Orleans is city filled with such rich history and culture. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Royal Wedding

The Royal Wedding was impressive. The British are to be commended for continuing the tradition of the monarchy, a meaningful link to the past. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to one day become the King and Queen of England, are delightful and impressive.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Picture of the Day - Only In America

Only in The United States of America could this cute, bi-racial little boy, raised by this young, lovely, single mother shown, become President.

(Barack Obama and his Mother).

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Great Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe may very well have been the greatest athlete of the 20th Century. Thorpe won medals in the 1912 Olympics for the pentatheon and the decathlon, played collegiate and professional football, and professional baseball and basketball. He lost his Olympic medals and titles due to his participation in semi-pro baseball for two summers in Rocky Mount NC, thus violating amateurism rules.

It was said that college players back then regularly played professionally in the summer, but most used alias, unlike Thorpe. Although he was of Native American and European ancestry, he was raised as an American Indian. It has been often suggested that he was lost his medals due to his ethnicity. At the time Thorpe own his medals, not all Native Americans were considered American citizens.

During his time at Carlisle School, an industrial school in Pennsylvania for Native Americans, student ethnicity was heavily marketed. Sporting events were described as Indians against Whites, and headlines often contained such comments as "Indians scalp Army 27-6", "Thorpe on Rampage", and "Redskin Will Strive for Spot in Olympics". Supporters of Thorpe over the years attempted to have his medals reinstated.

In October of 1982, the IOC approved Thorpe's reinstatement. In a ceremony on January 13, 1983, the IOC presented Thorpe's children with commemorative medals. The Jim Thorpe Foundation was established and gained support of the U. S. Congress. In 1999, the Associated Press placed Thorpe third on a list of the top athletes of the 20th Century, behind Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan.

Above is a photo of Thorpe coming to bat at The Polo Grounds playing for the New York Giants in 1925.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day 2011

What a great photo on Opening Day 2011, capturing the essence of that which is most important in the great game of baseball. Have a great season!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Maris, Mantle, and Truman

A very nice image capturing two of my most enjoyable interests, Yankee baseball and Democratic politics. Not certain, but I would date photo during '61 when Maris and Mantle were chasing Ruth's 60 HR record.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Negro League Baseball

Nice collage of the old Negro League to commemorate the start of the baseball season. I spot Josh, Satchel, "Cool Papa" Bell, and Buck O'Neill. Negro League baseball in America can be traced back to 1885 when the first Cuban American teams were formed. Integration of major League baseball in the 1950s brought an end to the Negro League. It has a rich history is American sports culture.

Friday, March 18, 2011

USS Arizona - 1916

This is the USS Arizona in 1916 with the skyline of Manhatten in the background. Today, of course, the Arizona lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Historic 1950 and 1984 North Carolina U. S. Senate Races

The following is a brief account, which I wrote 20 years ago, of the historic 1950 and 1984 North Carolina U. S. Senate races.

"It was during the 1950 North Carolina senatorial campaign involving liberal UNC President Dr. Frank Porter Graham and conservative Raleigh attorney Willis Smith that a young news director at WRAL named Jesse Helms came to prominence as a media figure. Helms covered the first Democratic primary struggle that year between Graham and Smith which Dr. Graham won. It featured flamboyant charges by Helms of communist taint and intellectual socialism against the distinguished former university President. Helms took a leading role in the run-off election.

'I went on the radio telling folks that supporters ought to get to Smith's home and encourage him to call for a run-off,' Helms said. WRAL ran announcements throughout the day about the rally. Several hundred people turned out. Smith, a former speaker of the NC State House, a prominent lawyer and chairman of the Duke University Board of Trustees, leaned toward bowing out after the crowd arrived. He announced he would make up his mind the following morning. During the period following the first primary, three Supreme Court rulings involving desegregation had come down. Those influenced Smith's decision to run.

The run-off campaign focused on blatant and exaggerated racial charges against Graham. Smith supporters circulated leaflets warning 'White People Wake Up'. Leaflets asked such questions such as, 'Do you want Negros riding beside your wife and daughters in buses, cabs, and trains? Negros going to white schools and white children going to Negro schools? Negros to occupy the same hospital rooms with you and your wife and daughter?' Some of the printed material, distributed to mill villages and industrial plants, featured photographs of black soldiers dancing and drinking with white women. One pictured a black man dancing with a woman who had the superimposed face of Mrs. Graham.

Smith defeated Graham is the bitterly fought run-off campaign, replacing Graham in the US Senate, who had been appointed to the Senate by Governor Scott in 1949 at the death of Melville Broughton.

Helms denied that either he or Senator Smith knew about or sanctioned the scurrilous campaign material. Others, however, have different memories. Judge James Bailey worked in the Smith campaign. He told one reporter that 'Helms contributed to practically every ad that was run.' Senator Helms is indignant today when critics link him with racist material circulated for Smith. He insists that Smith was the 'victim of a horrendously improper campaign that branded him a racist.'

The emotional backlash of the Smith-Graham campaign polarized liberals and conservatives in North Carolina for the first time. Whatever Helms' role may have been, the campaign advanced his career. One year later, he went to Washington as a staff assistant to Smith. Thirty-four years later, in 1984, Helms himself would take on another prominent NC liberal, Jim Hunt, in what may have overtaken the Smith-Graham campaign as the state's harshest and dirtiest campaign in history. On the coattails of Ronald Reagan, and again using racial innuendo, Helms beat Hunt with a narrow 51.7% of the vote. Some things seem to never change in North Carolina."

By Bob Godfrey

June, 1991 (Source: "The North Carolina Senate Race, 1984", by William D. Snider)

(Above are campaign pins from both the 1950 and the 1984 campaigns).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Historical and Fun Andy Thomas Art

Sir Winston Churchill and "Republican Presidents Playing Pool." ~ Andy Thomas

Blog Archive