Saturday, March 10, 2007

Times-Herald 1959

Sula Class of '68: Walter Ferguson sent the blog some old newspapers I am going through for us. This one I've summarized below, for Halloween 1959, especially caught my attention. My family lived in LR at the time & I recall the race relation issues that dominated the front page of this issue. More significantly for me, this issue came out just a month before my family would move to FC and bury my father and grandfather Ollie Warren, Jr. (father of Ollie III who was a senior at FCHS). On Thanksgiving weekend, they died in a private plane accident in Kentucky, taking off for LR. My great-grandparents moved to FC in the early 1900's, my grandfather was born in FC and lived his whole life there. My mother was born and raised in FC. She married my father who was from West Memphis, just 35 miles away, so my 3 siblings and I were in FC frequently from an early age. When we moved from LR to FC after the tragedy, the towns people were protective, warm, generous and loving to us in our grief--not just during the awful double funeral but for a very long time afterwards. Going through the newspaper today gave me an adult perspective of the little world that became a 9 year old girl's safe harbor. Even with its imperfections, it was a very good place to heal and grow...which I realize more as forgotten memories return, revived by the snapshots we are sharing on the blog with each other. So a big thank you to Walter and everyone reading, forwarding and contributing to keep the blog alive. So what was going on in your Forrest City childhood in October 1959? Maybe this journey back in time will inspire you too...

Forrest City Daily Times-Herald
"Every Afternoon Except Saturday and Sunday"
88th Year of Publication ........5c a copy....... Eight Pages........ Number 251
Fred N. McCollum Sr......Publisher
Trent Bonner McCollum......Managing Editor
Mrs. Roger Bottoms......City Editor

Thursday, October 29, 1959

FRONT PAGE (Highlights):
1. State Politics: Sen. Stuart Symington D-Mo, presidential hopeful for the 1960 election, cancelled his appearance at a $10 a plate "Democratic Harmony Dinner" for about 4,000 party members in Little Rock when he learned that "Negro delegates would be seated at segregated tables." Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn D-Tex will attend anyway. About 500 persons from SE Missouri cancelled reservations since their senator would not be attending. The person in charge of ticket sales in Missouri said that "many who purchased tickets earlier told him they would not sit with Negroes." The AP article stated, "A Negro leader said Democrats of his race may boycott the dinner if segregated facilities are enforced." Asked to comment, the Ark regional rep for the DNC would only state: "I regret that Sen. Symington will not be present to witness this great show of party harmony and strength."

Gov Orval E. Faubus said he was re-evaluating whether to support Symington's presidential bid because of his decision. Faubus said he disagreed with his opinion but didn't disagree with his right to make it. "The freedom of choice is one of the freedoms I have been fighting for here in Arkansas," he added. The AP reporter asked Faubus to speculate on whether Symington would attend if Ark Democrats agreed to integrate the meeting. Faubus responded that many people felt the meeting is in fact integrated if "Negroes are allowed to attend" -- even if seated at separate tables. Faubus said Symington had hurt himself and not the governor of Ark and added that Symington would have had far fewer people to speak to if "Negroes and whites" sat together. When asked whether he thought Symington was trying to discredit him by cancelling his appearance, Faubus said: "Let's let time and events determine the reason for his action."

The 2nd of 5 accused bombers in Little Rock's integration-related Labor Day bombings was convicted yesterday. Perry and the state's key witness against him, Sims, said they volunteered for a "confidential squad" organized to attack the city for accepting public high school integration. Sims bombed the school board and the fire chief's station wagon. Sims got 5 years on a guilty plea. Both said that E. A. Lauderdale, Sr., a prominent segregationist, headed the squad.

Admin note: At the time of this article, all Little Rock public high schools had just reopened after being closed for 2 years by the School Board which (with the support of Faubus and the legislature) closed the schools in defiance of federally ordered desegregation in 1957. Click here to Read full story of the Little Rock 9. Symington, the first Secretary of the Air Force, was well known as one of the most outspoken critics of Sen. McCarthy. Historians say that his steadfast refusal to speak to segregated audiences probably cost him the Democratic presidential nomination, which Kennedy won-- and that he was actually Kennedy's first choice for V.P and not Johnson.


2. Local Politics: Next week all city officials will be elected without any opposition (Mayor Rodgers Deaderick, Treasurer C.N. "Charlie" Haven, Aldermen Ted Parker, Ed McDonald and Raleigh Rich). Voters should show up to vote anyway because it's important to ratify the annexation program to increase the city size from 2,66.3 acres to 5,705.1 acres. The plan extends areas evenly around the present boundaries and will include a new housing development on the south side of the city and the new Electric Company building. If approved, the present pop of 9,000 would rise to 11,000-12,000 in the 1960 federal census next year.



3. Sports: Lincoln Jr. Tigers went to Helena and tied 13-13 in a "ferocious fight." "The highway was jammed with Tiger rooters last night." Tomorrow night the Mustangs host Stuttgart for the 2AA leadership. AP reporter said that F.C. probably "could beat most 2AA teams even without quarterback Donnie Kessinger. For Stuttgart, they'll need Donnie and a little extra hustle. When you come right down to it, the Mustangs haven't played a searing schedule. But Forrest City is the only unbeaten, untied team in the state above Class A. The Mustangs have scored 222 points to 12 for the opposition. We go with Kessinger and Co. 20-7."




4. Community: Rev. Wilford, pastor of Methodist church is the Evangelist for a special week of services in NLR; similar services are held throughout the W. Dist of N. Ark Conference. The paster from NLR will come to FC the week of Nov 15-20 for this area's period of Evangelism.

Residents not home during the community-wide Trick or Treat for UNICEF can still assist in the campaign in behalf of "all the worlds' children" said Mrs. Fred Seaton. Call Mrs. Fred Seaton ME 3-3290 or Mrs Joe Carmichal ME 3-3265 to have your donation picked up.
Admin note: Since 1950 when a group of children in Philadelphia donated $17 they got on Halloween to help post-WWII victims, the Trick-or-Treat UNICEF box has become a tradition in North America during the haunting season. These small orange boxes are handed to children at schools and at various locations. As of 2006, the box has collected over $132 million in the USA.


SOCIAL PAGE (a full page..."Katherine Leftwich, Society Editor")

"Halloween weekend will hold a variety of "safe and sane" entertainment for members of the local teen crowds. On Friday evening the "big event" will be the Mustang-Stuttgart football game, predicted to be one of the most interesting pigskin contests of this season. The game will be preceded by a downtown parade, bonfire and pep rally at the depot. It will be followed by an open dance sponsored by members of Delta Sigma Fraternity. Music for the party, an informal affair, will be furnished by Sonny Burgess and his "Pacers." On Saturday, All Hallows Eve, teenagers will be privileged to again get-together with their friends when "The Stall" is open from 7:30 to 11 pm for a union Auxiliary sponsored teen affair. Teenagers are encouraged to bring their dates and "come-as-you-are" (costumes optional) for an informal evening of fun. The juke box will furnish tunes for dancing and host Walter Gene Prewett will be on hand to chaperon. Snacks will be served. "

Miss Elizabeth Devereux Morgan announces marriage plans. The ceremony music at the Methodist church will be provided by Mrs. Herman Young, organist. Members of the wedding party include Mrs. John Tucker Hasler of 4233 Union Avenue, Memphis, the former Miss Linda Caroll, and Mrs. John Vance Wiese of 3583 Oakley, Memphis, the former Miss Sandra McLaren, Miss Sara Lou Morris, Miss Patsy Lou Armstrong (bride's cousin), Arthur Louie Devereux (bride's uncle), and Regional [sic] Bond Twist.


A record setting 142 women attended an all day, annual Fall Achievement Day held by the St. Francis Co. Home Demonstration Council at the Methodist Church. Officers were named and Mrs. William Wilkie presented Rice Homemaker Contest awards to Mrs. Jacob Bieber for using 150 pounds of rice in family meals during the past 5 months and to Mrs. Abe Burns for using rice in the greatest number of ways. A "delectable covered dish" luncheon was held at noon. "The program opened with a rousing song fest led by Mrs. David Gates with Mrs. Garland Greene at the piano." The F.C. HD club will have their annual Halloween party this weekend at the home of Mrs. J.W. Beazley Sr.

The 2nd annual Band Carnival Show will be next Monday as Sam Smith Jr High Gymnitorium. After the FCHS Band performs "an informative overature," the curtain will rise "on one of the finest variety shows ever presented in Eastern Arkansas." Helena's Bob Evans ("contagious enthusiasm and wit"... "a talented drawing card in his own right") will sing and then present Memphis TV & radio star Wayne Oldham, one of the South's outsanding jazz pianists. "The Mustang Singers --bigger and better than ever this season-- will appear under the baton of Director A.F. Thomas Jr. in a varied choral group. These singers will be making their local premiere for this school year." After that, the Patricia Williams dancers and the Mid-South Fair talent winners will perform. Tickets are $1 and entitle the holder to 100 votes for a candidate in the race for Junior and Senior High Band King and Queen. All funds will be used by the Band Parents Club "to build a better band in this city." So the townspeople can see the plans for this year, the president Lyn Wrothen urges that the budget be kept in mind, which is: $800 for band trips, $600 for music, $1,100 for repairs, $2,787 new equipment, $180 music stands.

Mustang cheerleaders encourage everyone to attend a gala party with an exciting parade through town to the railroad depot, with a bonfire & pep rally. "Sponsoring members of the FCHS official pep cops [sic] are Misses Mimi Butler, Claudette Lindsey, Betty Jo Buford, Pam Daniel, Betty Bridgforth, Mary Catherine Walker, Ann Runyan, and Sandra Wood."

"The ever-present need among the less-fortunate pupils in the local school system is always more ominous as cld weather approaches...Of prime importance is the need for a pair of little boy's shoes - size 4 wide- for a youngster whose feet are almost "on the ground." Contact Mrs. Gene Flanagin, PTA Clothes Chest chairman or Mrs. Carroll McCown, the visiting teacher.

TB Who's Who for 1959: Lee & Fannie Satterfield of the Good Hope Community are saluted for their work on the Christmas seal sale. This year the seals will try to strike a blow at the 7,759 known cases of tuberculosis in Arkansas, an increase of 45 cases from 1958. Ark's death rate ranks 3rd highest in the nation and is nearly twice the national rate. Lee & Fannie stay busy with church, HD clubs, fishing, selling eggs, family, neighbors, friends & grandchildren. They say "give cheerfully and give promptly."

Next Monday, the Palette and Brush Club ("FC"s impresive art guild") will complete plans for a "manifold celebration of National Art Week" by giving an art exhibit and tea in the Clubroom at the Civic Center. Mrs. Louis Haven Jr., president, will preside at tea for art lovers while they browse. Miss Fredene Moseley chaired the art week celebration, assisted by Mrs. James Oursler, Mrs. Frank Woods and Mrs. Wendell Weed. Local artists have been invited to show at the Mid-South Exhibit at the Hotel Peabody in Memphis during National Art Week.

Girl Scouts Troop 145 met at the Girl Scout Room yesterday. Vicki Forrester served popcorn balls and "Cokes." After games, the group was dismissed.


Jaycees & Jaycettes will have a Halloween annual party tonight at the civic center. Madison School PTA will have sideshows and a variety show tonight at their annual Halloween Carnival where the Carnival King & Queen will be crowned.

Contributions to the Mary Smith Fund may be sent to the hospital, Stockton's grocery or Dr. McPhail. "The kind remembrances of friends are a great help to the family of the local teenager who is a patient at Forrest Memorial Hospital and has been ill for months."

Migrant farm laborers temporarily at home in this area will be greeted Saturday at the "Centro Mexicano" from 3-9 pm by the Presbyterians.

Ads of interest: Vandiver's Market Specials: Beef US Choice Sirloin Steak cut from select heavy beef, 89 cents/ pound, Bacon 49 cents/ pound. Playing at the Imperial: Richard Widmark & Donna Reed in "BACKLASH" In Technicolor! and Science Fiction "LOST MISSILE."

On Front Page:














Paul Class of '68: These clips are fascinating. In 1959 I was 9 years old and mainly into riding horses, shooting my BB gun, and watching "The Swamp Fox" on the Wonderful Wide World of Disney - so I didn't have any awareness of the brave stand that Symington took on this issue. I wasn't into girls yet (three sisters was enough at that age)...well, except that I gave Gigi Gilbreath a Half-Heart necklace - while she was apparently collecting them from several other "admirers" too!


When I read the clip, I wondered if Symington's Presidential Campaign was hurt by his refusal to speak (and raise funds) from segregated groups. Well...it WAS. Check it out: Wikipedia: Stuart Symington. How many of today's politicians (of ANY party) have the integrity to take such stands today?

By the way, if you google "The Swamp Fox" you will learn that the actor who had the role of Francis Marion was...drum roll please...Leslie Neilson!! LOL And if you remember some of his loyal men, you may have recognized Slim Pickens (later of Dr. Strangelove and Rancho Deluxe fame)!! If you never saw The Swamp Fox, check out this link. Wikipedia: The Swamp Fox TV Series.


I very much appreciate Walter's contribution with these clippings. I have hazy memories of the Donnie Kessinger-led Mustangs and the excitement of the game vs Stuttgart (I think I remember going to that game). And it was a trip reading Raoul Carlisle's sports column - what a unique style! And as I read it, his writing seemed more familiar with each sentence. I'm sure somewhere in the dusty recesses of my memory there is a recognition of other columns he wrote over the years.

These clippings provide a window into my childhood, but with an adult perspective. There were a lot of social, economic, and cultural changes going on in the Mid-South of the 1950s-60's - and small towns like Forrest City were not immune to the dynamics of the times. If you want to read an interesting and extremely well-written account of the kinds of cultural shifts that were going on, pick up Peter Guralnick's "Last Train to Memphis: the rise of Elvis Presley". If you didn't like Elvis before, you will after reading this. But more than a superb biography (part 1 of two parts), this book provides extraordinary observations of the social changes that were occuring all around us in the 1950s-60s in Forrest City and the Mid-South. And the book shows how Elvis's rise to fame was itself an example of the shifts that were occuring. Walter's clippings provide the same perspective to me. Thanks!


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