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May 22, 1951 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1951-05-22

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The Case of the Trenton Six

ONG LAST a group of democratic
ericans ha've undertaken the defense
cent men instead of allowing Com-
controlled organizations to exploit
yen for propaganda purposes.
Negroes-internationally known as
renton Six-are on trial for their
in New Jersey. The present trial,
is the third, has already been con-
for ten weeks and is expected to
ur another five.
nt group to defend the six has been
by the Princeton Committee for De-
the Trenton Six, and the Legal De-
lid Educational Fund of the Nation-
ciation for the Advancement of Col-
eople. Because this joint committee
lat "every man, whether Negro or
is entitled to a fair trial" they are
ag the defense for the six men and
to carry the case to the Supreme
f necessary.
e examining the facts it is interest-
encouraging to note the distinguish-
onel of the joint committee.
Edward' Samuel Corwin, co-chair-
s noted author, is at present a pro-
emeritus at Princeton University.
her co-chairman is Bishop Francis
Connel also an author and a mem-
the Methodist Episcopal Church.
rominent lawyers, Thurgood Mar-
nd Arthur Garfield Hays, are mem-
the counsel for the defendants.
committee to defend the Trenton Six
Kamined the facts of the case and
ly -agree with the New Jersey Std-
"ourt which called the previous trials
with error." Below are excerpts from
hlet published by the Joint Commit-
Secure a Fair Trial of The Trenton
e pamphlet is entitled, "The Facts
he Trenton Six."
:30 A.M., January 27, 1948, a 73 year
second-hand dealer, William Horner
acked in his store in Trenton, N.J.
. about five hours later from a blow,
s, with a blunt instrument.
e were no eye witnesses, but four
s furnished some information:
lizabeth McGurie, 59, the victim's
, told the police how three men en-
e store; that two of them went into
k room with IHorner to look at a
s; that she was showing a stove to
rd man, who knocked her uncon-t
She described them as "light com-
Negroes about 20 years old.
Is published in The Michigan Daily
ten by members of The Daily staff
resent the views of the writers only.

2) Frank Eldracher, a salesman, saw two
young "light skinned Negroes walk out of
the Horner store less than a minute before
he heard Miss McGuire's scream.
3) Mrs. Virginia Barclay, a housewife, saw
three men race down the street and drive off
in a Plymouth driven by a fourth man. She
did not get a good look at two of the men,
but said that the two others were "light-
skinned, 20 years older or younger."
4)Mrs. Argiros Kokenakes, proprietress of
a nearby soft-drink parlor, said that about
10 a.m. two Negroes purchased two bottles
of soda to take out, but was unable to des-
cribe them.
* * *
The Trenton Police Department has a
long record of brutal treatment of the city's
14,000 Negroes. The local branch of the NA-
ACP has a grim collection of affidavits do-
cumenting instances of police torture since
World War II.
On Jan. 30, police officials organized a
special squad armed with tommy guns.
Given orders to shoot-to-kill and to ar-
rest any "suspiciouslooking"' persons
found on the streets after dark, the squad
arrested scores of Negroes.
Trenton's Director of Public Safety de-
clared; "Well meaning people may accuse
us of acting like a Gestapo, but if we can
bring in the Horner killers or save one life,
I'ni willing to take all their criticisms.
* * *
Feb. 6, Collis English, 23 year old veteran,
was arrested in his home after a complaint
by his father to the police that the boy used
his car without permission. But at the po-
lice station; English was considered a sus-
pect in the Horner slaying. Questioned un-
interruptedly all night, English, fearful of
the police, told a cock-and-bull story and
mentioned eight names of persons he had
been with on Jan. 27, the day of the crime.
The next morning police arrested two of
the men who had been with English, Ralph
Cooper and Horace Wilson at a town ter
miles away.
The same morning English's brother-in-
law, McKinley Forrest, came to the police
station to see why English hadn't return-
ed home. His inquiry brought arrest.
James Thorpe, was arrested late the same
afternoon. Fight days before the murder
Thorpe had been discharged from the hos-
pital after having had his right arm ampu-
tated. Four and a half months later a po-
liceman explained that Thorpe resembled a
man whom English described only as car-
rying one shoulder higher than another.
John MacKenzie, Forrest's nephew was
arrested at dawn Feb. 11th, when police told
the woman who opened the door, "We want
all the men in this house." All six Negroes
were arrested without warrants.
Miss Elizabeth McGuire, the mistress of

the murdered man, was brought to the sta-
tion to confront the suspects. She failed to
identify any of them. None of the other
three witnesses were ever asked to attempt
an identification.
Although the witnesses had described the
suspects as "light skinned" Negroes, the de-
fendants are dark skinned except James
Thorpe, the man with one arm. There had
been no mention of a one-armed man at the
scene of the crime.
* * *
The State obtained "confessions" from
five of the six defendents. All repudiated
their confessions at the trial. Thorpe said
he signed because he was afraid of being
whipped. English said that after hours of
continuous questioning he had not even
known most of what went into his state-
ment, and he signed because he was afraid
of a beating. Forrest, Cooper and McKen-
zie testified they didn't remember signing
anything. Forrest said that he was given a
pill that caused him to lose consciousness.
* * *
THE TRIAL ran from June 15, 1948 to
August 6. It ended in the death sen-
tence for all six defendents.
Although 53 persons appeared as wit-
nesses for the State, the Judge declared
"the State's case generally rests upon the
confessions." Only one witness, Miss Mc-
Guire, gave testimony that linked any of
the defendants to the crime. Eight times
she changed her testimony. She insisted
that Forrest had signed a receipt for a
deposit left on a mattress, although it was
clearly established later that Forrest had
never learned to write.
The defendants offered testimony from
63 Negro and white witnesses. All alibies
were supported by more than two witnesses.
Two witnesses, Mrs. Barclay and Mr. El-
dracher, testified that the defendants did
not resemble the men they had seen.
* * *
On June 30, 1949, the New Jersey Supreme
Court unanimously reversed the conviction
of the first trial. .
The next trial was declared a mistrial
when the Prosecutor underwent an appen-
The third trial, the present one, began
March 5.
None of these men, nor their families have
a dollar left for legal expenses.
* * *
THESE ARE the facts-a fantastic jumble
of errors and injustices.
The Joint Committee To Secure A Fair
Trial of the Trenton Six does not want
elaborate rallies or eloquent oratory for
these six men. The plain simple fact is, it
needs money. As the pamphlet states the
defendants have none, and, though not stat-
ed, the Committee itself needs money to
carry on the expensive defense procedures of
the trials.
Contributions may be sent to the Joint
Committee To Secure A Fair Trial For
The Trenton Six, fifth floor, 20 West 40th
Street, New York, N.Y.
Those who bitterly object to Communit
tactics and to the inactivity of Ameridan
liberals, must, if democracy is to be pro-
tected by Americans, support-financially
in this case-such a committee.
-Alice Bogdonoff
SENATOR VANDENBERa declared that
America had developed a bipartisan
foreign policy which barred 'appeasement'
and called for a 'peace for keeps' based en
justice to all nations. The development was

the chief accomplishment of the Paris Coun-
cil of Foreign Ministers.
** *
COMMITTEES of the World Grain Con-
ference sought the best method of ab-
sorbing the international wheat surplus.
Two opposing plans were advanced. The one,
supported by the U.S., asked restricted acre-
age on wheat, while the other, proposed by
the Russians, advocated export quotas.
PRIME MINISTER Stanley Baldwin told
the world flatly that England would not
stand for interference in Egypt and would
take firm action against Anti-British senti-
ment in Palestine. The statement preceeded
an announcement that the British govern-
ment planned to subsidize the extension of
private automobile factories to quicken the
production of military planes on a large-
scale basis.
-From the Pages of The Daily
UNFORTUNATELY the world is likely to
rate us by the company we keep. U.S.
Senators who have chosen to represent
Franco's Spain or Chiang's Formosa as well
as Maine or Nevada feel compelled not only
to welcome strange military allies but to
endorse their political records. The Franco
lovers would not quite recommend to the

"The Cattle Are Giving All They've Got, Aren't They"
' S v~EMNSTy
pp c
WASHINGTON-The Senate's ruling that star witnesses in the Mac-
Arthur hearings will not have to testify regarding confidential
conversations presumably will hold for confidential conversations be-
twen Gen. Omar Bradley and the other members of the Joint Chiefs
However, some of their private reactions during the Mac-
Arthur discussions are significant. Inside fact is that the Joint
Chiefs were extremely nervous about the idea of ousting Mac-
Arthur and took care to avoid the word "recommend" in report-
ing to the White House that MacArthur be fired.
Instead, and after considerable private debate, they decided to
use the words "militarily advisable." Therefore, a report that it was
"militarily advisable" to relieve MacArthur was signed by all four of
the Joint Chiefs.
Despite this compromise-wording there was no question among
the Joint Chiefs that MacArthur should go. There were three general
reasons for this view, and it is interesting, that none of them really
agreed with Truman's reasons--namely, MacArthur's flouting of or-
ders by discussing foreign policy.
Reason No. 1-Was the fact that the Joint Chiefs considered
MacArthur too rash as a military commander and likely to let Ameri-
can forces in for more trouble.
HAT WAS WHY they actually tied his hands with the military
directive regarding the bombing of Chinese bases. They decided
that he could bomb Chinese bases If-and they were two very big ifs
--1.The Communists threw in enough air power to jeopardize our
ground troops; or 2. If the Chinese attacked any UN ships or installa-
tions outside Korea.
But MacArthur was given a further directive that before he could
do any bombing in either of the above categories he must first con-
sult the Joint Chiefs. In other words, what might provoke MacArthur
into bombing Manchuria might not be enough to provoke the Joint
Chiefs. They didn't trust his judgment, were afraid he would interpret
these conditions far more liberally than they.ee
Reason No. 2-Was the fact that MacArthur was not one to take
the suggestions or guidance from the Joint Chiefs. While it is J.C.S.
policy not to dictate to the commander in the field, they do reserve
the right to give general guidance and make suggestions..a
And they were quite provoked during MacArthur's November
advance into North Korea that he ignored. their warning that
there was no battle communication between General Walker's
8th Arny and General Almond's 10th Corps. When the Joint
Chiefs warned MacArthur about this, he replied, rather coldly,
that there was sufficient liaison.t
However, the Joint Chiefs, still not satisfied, asked MacArthur a
second time why General Almond and his 10th Corps were operating
independntly of the 8th Army, leaving a big gap between the two
forces. MacArthur replied, unconvincingly, that General Almond and
his 10th Corps were drawing Chinese pressure away from the 8th

Later, when the Chinese struck, they picked the hole that had
worried the Joint Chiefs, and smashed right into the vacuum be-
tween the 10th Corps and the 8th Army.
Reason No. 3-However, what finally got the Joint Chiefs really
sore at MacArthur was the way his statement about using Chiang Kai-
Shek's troops in Korea killed the Universal Military Training Bill.
For months the Joint Chiefs had set their hearts on passing
Universal Military Training for the first time in the history of the
nation. But two days after MacArthur's statement urging tha
we use Chiang's Formosan troops, the U.M.T. bill was dead. Mac-
Arthur had killed it. For Congress was under immediate fire from
the voters to use Chinese troops instead of expanding the draft.
After that the Joint Chiefs needed no urging from the White
House to state that it was "militarily advisable" to relieve MacArthur.
,. * * *
A LOT HAS BEEN published about the failure of our United Nations
friends to support us in Korea, but not much about certain un-
expected support.
Italy, for instance, is not a member of the UN, but has asked for
permission to send units to Korea. So far, nothing definite has been
worked out.
Peru, with a quite 'small army, is now sending a contingent
to Korea. Actually Peru had volunteered some time before, but
was told that a certain proportion of any Peruvian troops sent
to Korea would have to speak English.
This requiremnent, laid down by General MacArthur at first, was
a hard one for a Spanish-speaking country like Peru to fulfill. Now
that the language bar has been raised, Peru is sending its quota.
(Copyright, 1951, by the Bell Syndicate, Inc.)


The Daily welcomes communications from its readers on matters of
general interest, and will publish all letters which are signed by the writer
and in good taste. Letters exceeding 300 words in length, defamatory or
libelous letters, and letters which for any reason are not in good taste wil
be condensed, edited or withheld from publication at the discretion of the

' ,

Birth of a Nation ...
To the Editor:
I AM helping to show "The Birth
of a Nation" to emphasize the
principle that nothing ought to be
kept from the minds of students
and that items like this film are
suitable objects of study and.dis-
cussion. Last year, "Birth of a
Nation" was banned from the
campus. Students were then not
able to make an effective protest
such as that which culminated in
the Slosson-Phillips off-campus
debate. It is therefore necessary
to supply that protest.
It is said that this film is delib-
erately and viciously anti-Negro,
that it degrades the human spirit,
that it is full of deliberate histori-
cal distortions, that it has led to
orgies of race hatred, that it was
successfully used by the Ku Kluxl
Klan in its frightening expansion
after World War I.
All this I believe to be true. But
thereby, the film becomes all the
more valuable.
To preserve life, the doctor stud-
ies death and disease. To fully
comprehend racism's threat, to
deal more intelligently with its
impact, students must examine its
ugliest and most powerful appeals
in the best possible context.
I believe that.students are cap-
able of deriving great benefits
from seeing "The Birth of a Na-
tion" and hearing the accompany-
ing talks by people like Prof.I
Swanson and Mr. Hampton. We
must reject any attempt by any-j
one to lead us along the "path of
righteousness" by placing blinders
on our eyes and intellects.
In general, we cannot yield to
the special claims. which any
group, minority or majority, makes
upon the mass media, no matter'
how sympathetic we may be with
the legitimate aspirations of that
group. There is no clear line be-
tween banning "The Birth of a
Nation" (objected to by Negroes)
and censoring "The Miracle" (ob-
jected to by Catholics), "Oliver
Twist" (objected to by Jews) and
Communist Phillips (objected to
by a great variety of people).
If we yield to any of these pres-
sures, we risk a pallid and fearful
intellectual sterility. Rather, the

growth and through growth,
strength and sense of accomplish-
ment, which I feel they have al-
ready attained.
-George Qua
* * *
Expose . .
To the Editors:
ICELAND has been, as the papers
reported, "taken over." Air-
borne military forces landed there
a few days ago to take over Its
That means the end of the Ice-
land's independence. Of course, it
also means that one more country
has been set up as springboard
for aggression against the East
European states and the people of
Western Europe.
They are all over the world,
these aviation bases "for defense."
The other day, the French govern-
ment turned over Morocco (which
it stole from the Moroccan people)
for Pentagon air bases. There are
others all along the North African
coast. All openly aimed at the
Soviet Union's cities, farms, and
No one asks the peoples of these
regions if they want protection
any more than shake down racke-
teers ask their victims if they
want "protection". They take the
"protection" or else. You, see,
Washington is out to protect the
freedom of the enslaved African
and all the people in the world
from the "Soviet menace", and
Communist philosophy. Mean-
while these people will have to face
U. S. and British machine guns,
as for example in Iran, China, and
India, if they get the phoney no-
tion that they would like national
Thus, the "defense - against
Russia" racket, like all rackets,
leads to the seizure of one country
after another, like Hitler did prior
to the second world war, for war
bases. These countries are being
victimized and dragged toward a
war they don't want.
What would the public say if it
was the other way around-if the
Soviet Union 'grabbed Iceland to
"defend it," if the Soviet Union
trampled on the people of Africa
and set up air bases there, if it
decided, that Long Island (like
Taiwan) is needed for its security?
There is not an honest person who
can't see where the present war
pressure for war is coming from
and which way the wind blows.
--George Miller, Grad
* * *
To the Editor:
Phooey on H. M. Taggartl
I like Barnaby AND Pogo.
-L. 0. Case, Jr.





f .


must be

of free communication
extended as far as pos-
-Allan Silver,
Neptune Film Society
* * *


Greek Week

" "





LONDON--From this angle of vision, at
least, the United States appears to be
ntirely preoccupied with internal contso-
ersy. It is time for Americans to look
broad again, however, and not in the di-
action of the Far East, either. For the very
oundations of the Western alliance against
oviet aggression are trembling and crack-
ig here in London.
As any sane man must realize, that
foundation is the Anglo-American part-
nership, which is the hard core of West-
ern strength. A crisis in the partnership
has now been brought on by the reper-
cussions of the MacArthur controversy in
America, and by the effects of the Persian
oil squabble in Britain.
In effect, the Persian oil squabble is ra-
idly becoming a pistol pointed at the heads
f both partners, requiring them both to
efine, once and for all, their relationship
each other. This is so for a simple reason.
is becoming increasingly unlikely that
ie British can arrange any acceptable com-
romise of the oil dispute with the highly
rational Iranian administration of Dr. Mo-
ammed Mossadegh. If the issue cannot 1,'
egotiated, the-British must then choose
etween passively allowing their vital oil re-
urce to be expropriated, or sending troops
3 southern Iran to protect it.
But in this choice, the United States is'
nmediately and inextricably implicated, as
ecretary of State Dean G. Acheson has al-
ady been plainly told by Sir Oliver Franks.
ar the British cannot venture to send
oops to southern Iran, running all the
im risks of this action, unless they can be
re of American support. As a minimum
ey must have American support in the
nited Nations, where they will be charged
th aggression by the Iranians, and will
rely be convicted without our active aid.
LATER REPORT will explore the Per-
sian oil problem in detail. It is enough
say here, in the present report on the
aglo-American relationship, that losing
e oil' resource will be a fatal blow to Bri-
in's status as a world power. Furthermore,

status of Communist China and Formosa,
the same rule ought to hold true for us in
the Middle East.
But unfortunately, as is so often the case
in international affairs, both reason and
justice are irrelevant to the problem. The
vital, inescapable, practical fact is that if
we let down our ally in this unhappy crisis,
the Anglo-American partnership will rapid-;
ly dissolve in a tempest of recrimination.
Such is the gravity of the choice that now
confronts the Administration in Washing-
It Is tragic that this choice should be
forced upon the American government at a
time when all judgments are clouded by the
MacArthur controversy. Yet in a way, it is
also appropriate. What is now happening in
fact is like one of those turning points in a
marriage, which has for a long time been
going from bad to worse, until' both hus-
band and wife suddenly realize they must
behave differently towards one another if
the home is to be kept together. If we be-
have boldly and generously, all may yet be
* * *
APECIFICALLY, THE British have receiv-
ed a sharp lesson in Persia on the need
for a partnership to be a two way street.
The majority of them have also concluded
that, the idea of bribing the Chinese Com-
munists with a seat in the United Nations
and with Formosa was never, after all, a
very good one. The time is almost ripe for a
close coordination of the once divergent Am-
erican and British policies in the Far East.
If this can be achieved, and the Persian
hump can be got over, the troubles of the
past will belong to the past.
The source of those troubles, it should
be remembered, was the original Ameri-
can decision, taken by President Truman
immediately after the 1948 election, to
neglect the defenses of the West. Anyone
could foresee-and it was repeatedly pre-
dicted in this space-that neglect of the
West's defenses would lead to a mood of
appeasement among our more exposed
allies. And that is precisely what oc-
curred, producing all the strange mani-

To the Editor:
IN REGARD to a recent editorial
concerning Greek Week by
Crawford Young, it is the opinion
of this writer that several facts
were not brought out which were
directly related to the success of
the panels and kickoff rallies in
particular and to Greek Week in
general. Mr. Young states that
the bias clause discussion was the
"prime example of Greek Week's
sad plight." Does the Daily have
a special editor who attends cam-
pus functions for the sole purpose
of counting noses? Perhaps the
turnout for the Kickoff Rally was
small in comparison to the
amount of publicity given it, yet I
feel that if The Daily's representa-
tives would give more attention to
who was there and not how many,
it would have been noticed that
representatives from a majority of
the fraternities on this campus
were in attendance and of the
fourteen fraternities on this cam-
pus who still have selective clauses
in their' constitutions, ten and
probably more were in the audi-
ence by personal count. -
In regard to the Panel Discuss-
ing held Wednesday, May 9th, the
objective of this panel was, and I
quote, "to inform the newly elected
officers of the IFC about improve-
ments which can be made in the
organization and policies of the
IFC."sCertainly the newly elected
officers were there, as were the
various committee chairmen from
the. IFC committees and several
well informed people, directly in-
terested in the objective of the
panel. Mr. Young states also that
a quorum was lacking. Does one
ususally have or need a quorum
at a meeting of this type?
Perhaps these above mentioned
facts will help clear the issue in
Mr. Young's mind and in the minds
of others who place most of the
editorials in the Daily next to the
gospel in truth. In conclusion, I
ask Mr. Young to give the "various
embellishments to the Sing and
the Ball" a chance to obtain


Sixty-First Year
Edited and managed by students of,
the University of Michigan under the
authority of the Board in Control et
Student Publications.
Editorial Staff
Jim Brown ........Managing Editor
Paul Brentlinger ............City Editor
Roma Lipsky .........ditorial Director
Dave Thomas . ..........Feature Editor
Janet watts ...........Associate Editor
Nancy Bylan ..........Associate Editor
James Gregory . ..... ..Associate Editor
Bill Connolly .......... Sports Editor'
Bob Sandell ....Associate Sports Editor
Bill Brenton ....Associate Sports Editor
Barbara Jans.......Women's Editor
Pat Brownson Associate Women's Editor
Business Staff
Bob Daniels ........Business Manager
Waiter Shapero Assoc. Business Manager
Paul Schaible .....Advertising Manager
Sally Fish ........... Finance Manager
Bob Miller ........ Circulation Manager
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of all news dispatches credited to it or
otherwise credited to this newspaper.
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matters herein are also reserved.
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Subscription during regular school
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k ,





I Come on, Tennessee 0, ennessy! Get up and win
the fight. Like you always do on television- Well, let's go to my yard

:?M " :Mat " e


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