Desegregation

The governor of Alabama in 1944, Chauncey Sparks, believed he could go over the heads of the War Department and appeal to President Roosevelt to prevent any sort of integration of stateside troops -- at least in his state, at Maxwell Field in Montgomery. Around this time (August 1944), the pressing need of white and black citizens to work literally together, both in defense industry and in training camps, made some white political leaders nervous. 

Aug. 25, 1944, in The Star: In the wake of a recent War Department order that segregation of the races must end at post exchanges and other public gathering places on military posts, an editorial notes, “The Anniston Star attempted to get confirmation of the order at Fort McClellan, but those who were approached were very vague and ‘didn’t know anything about it.’” Continuing in a somewhat pained tone, the writer reminds post leadership that this newspaper has been completely supportive of the fort in all its public programs and yet has also respected the need for secrecy regarding wartime activities, and should probably be treated better when it tries to report on a legitimate public issue. Consequently, the writer concludes, the Army would be better served by putting men of higher qualifications in public relations offices, men who will feel confident speaking to the local newspaper, rather than just clamming up at the first hint of controversy. Also this date: In a column of news briefs and personal observations known as “Around the Town,” the writer states it’s “truly inspiring to hear Mrs. Rudy Kempernich anticipating with such eagerness the day (within the next two weeks) when she and her husband will become full-fledged American citizens. Greta and Rudy have been in America for 8 years now and … they adore the land which gave them refuge from the Nazi terror.”

Aug. 25, 1994, in The Star: Southern Tool Inc. announced this morning it will expand its manufacturing plant in Oxford and hire 80 to 100 new employees during the next two to three years. Chairman and CEO H. M. Burt Jr. called it “the largest single expansion we’ve ever had.” The new facility, next door to the existing one on U.S. 78 West, will encompass 40,000 square feet and should be completed by next September. Also this date: Alabama’s minority groups are almost twice as likely to live near a hazardous waste site as white residents, a Washington study on “environmental racism” reported today. The author of the study said the situation is “unlikely due to a single cause. … Deliberate targeting of minorities is hard to prove.” Additionally: Ed Fowler, who for the past two years has been editor and general manager of The Daily Home in Talladega, has been promoted to be its publisher and general manager. Consolidated Publishing Company officers made the announcement yesterday. Fowler is a native of Rome, Ga.

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