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TREES ALL LANTERNED AND MOSSED HOUSTON My black and white Plymouth with dual exhausts \(“Precisely at 70,” Obs. the Fleetwoods and the Jags, and the ragged sound of it was not quite meant for the setting : the shady drive lined with trees done up in moss, the undulating green lawn and the long, thin, ranch-style house that hugged close the ground behind. The swimming pool was not in view, but it was there somewhere, it had to be there somewhere. Alen in summer tuxes and women dressed in finery for such a Houston evening were out on the lawn. Some were still. moving forward through the reception line. Most were free of it now, extending empty glasses to Negro waiters with bottles of champagne. There were lights, not really lights but a succession of brightened shadows from Japanese lanterns hung in the fir trees. These the sounds of elegant and experienced celebration : the tinkling of glasses in toast, the subdued hum of two hundred separate conversations, soft female laughter, music, and the irony of dual exhausts singing out to automotive brotherhood as the Plymouth waited now in the driveway near a pea-green Olds 88. We had been to the wedding ‘just a moment before : the church decorated with flowers of the season, and then ten or twelve bridesmaids in floorlength white, the audience over flowing, the bride beautiful, the groom handsome. I had driven over from Austin that afternoon, and my fiancee had taken me, and now she was bringing me also to the big lawn with the big house, because she had gone to high school with and liked the bride, and she had a few people for me to see, and I like champagne. A policeman directed us to the parking attendants, and one of them gave me a stub and took the car, away. We walked under the trees. A friend of ours was serving the non-alcoholic punch and we said hello and talked a while. I spotted some Aqua Queen I think, who was Aqua Queen when we were at the University. She wore a low green dress and she sparkled, just like the champagne the Negro poured me, just like the young men tan and crew-cutted who jested with her. Here was the crowd, standing about in gay conversational clusters, little groups which dispersed every few moments and became other clusters, there being many people people wanted to see, giving to the evening that touch of polite musical chairs played gracefully, just to the right tune. Four clusters to the southeast I saw an old fraternity brother of mine, and I walked over, and not till we were shaking hands, warmly, exuberantly, in the fashion of the lettered Greeks, did I not remember his name. That was quite fine, since he didn’t remember mine either, so we stood around for three or four minutes talking about old friends I didn’t remember so well, then got away from each other as quickly as possible. The man with the accordion was playing “September Song,” and nearby a greying man in a tux with a plaid tie and cummerbund shouted “Emily” with a touch of tenderness on the last syllable, and Emily rushed over and exchanged the embrace. I could hear them talking and was pleased to learn that Emily has a son at school in the East. My girl brought over two friends who were leaving for Europe, and the Negro brought over some more champagne. He was in great demand, and others with empty or half empty glasses motioned to him or caught his eye, and he responded with a faint smile, wiping the sweat from his forehead, uncorking the other bottle that had been under his arm. I looked beyond the two friends, beyond the reception line, and saw the cars still coming up the drive, a couple of Cadillacs and a Lincoln punctuated by one sad Chevrolet and a shabby two-yearold Chrysler. It was 8 p.m. and the evening had from that moment on a deepening intensity, a wine intensity that surely comes only with the proper mood and the best company. So we went into the house and saw the presents, and the whole room glittered and shone, the tables and tables of silver and the minor do-dads sur-, rounded and generally admired by a score or so of middle-aged ladies. Over in a corner several men were discussing the recession. The mother of the bride, charming and soft like all mothers of brides, walked in and was immediately beseiged from all sides. In the backyard, out near the swimming pool, they’d set up a table and were serving champagne, and people stood waiting in two lines. There were about ten cardboard boxes full of empty bottles, and on another table other bottles waiting to be opened. Again on the front lawn, and in the dying light there was a moon, almost full, high above the firs in the east, the sky that contained it purple-blue before the coming of the final dark. In the crowd I could see an occasional face I once knew, back when the face had a name, but now only a ghost of something, a vague evocation of a time, a place, brushed with a sad unreality. Given a bay, this could so easily have been an East Egg. Once upon a decade there might have been a Gatsby, elegant, handsome and haunted, moving quietly in the purpleblue. But this was Texas-America, these were the ‘fifties : in the air, everywhere, was the nimbus of wealth, plenty, comfort, facility. The young men were handsome, well-scrubbed; their young women were beautiful, well-formed. Their elders were aging gracefully. Everyone had good teeth, good clothes, and, one would presume, good futures, the finest, most secure futures classless society could bestow. The night, the music, the people, everything they said and did, were wrapped in frosted cellophane, like the flowers in the refrigerator at a florist’s. My girl suggested one departing toast. We drank it standing under a tree where we could stand and see everythinga tiny pocket of opulence rimmed on all sides, miles and miles, by the Grand Promise. Then we turned and walked away, down the drive with its trees all lanterned and mossed. WILLIE MORRIS SMU’s Perkins Theologists Discuss Race AUSTIN The Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University has made a considerable contribution to the study of the racial dilemma in the American South. In the spring number of the Perkins Journal the segregation problem is examined in the light of Christian ethical principles ; it is directed primarily to the community pastor. “This issue of the journal had to be,” the editors say in the introduction. “The consideration of this vexed topic really is not completely optional with usit is to a considerable extent imperative.” Of the eight articles which follow, six are written by active members of the Perkins faculty, one by a retired member, one by an SMU law professor. Seven are Southern-horn, all eight were raised in the South. John Deschner, in a piece called “Segregation and the Minister’s Faith,’ seeks to debunk the segregationist case that racial separateness is ordained in the scriptures. Further, he writes, “the race issue is best approached as a question about the nature of the Church. If the Church is simply an association of individuals who have accepted an individual Gospel, then a segregated Church is possible … But that is not the Church.” The Church, he says, is part of the Gospel, and the Gospel has spoken. “A minister can do no greater and more responsible service to his people, and indeed to their unity and mutual love. than to let the Gospel be free to speak in his pulpit … The race question challenges the Church not to enter a moral crusade, but to be the Church, not to do something extra, but to do the one thing essential.” Joseph L. Allen, writing on “Judgment and Redemption in Race Relations,” deplores the Southern proclivity to transfer the blame elsewhere, to attribute Southern woes to an unjust fate : others brought the Negro to these shores, the Negro’s role was made necessary by the region’s rural economy, the South was approaching racial harmony when the. Court decision in ’54 shattered everything. “Middle and upper class Southerners may blame racial tensions on the prejudices of lower class whites. White workers … may feel that wealthier Southern citizens have deserted them in the face of increasing pressures.” Allen attacks the claims that whites know better than the Negro what he wants and needs, calling this self-deception. “Neither the ruler nor the ruled can be normal in a segregated society,” he says. He believes the cru cial question for the South is whether and how moderates can regain their pisition of leadership from the uncompromising extremists who now lead the way. He quotes Harry Ashmore : “When responsible men default, irresponsible men take power.” He cites the social ills which strict segregation encourages : the costs of maintaining a dual school system, which he describes as a “luxury of prejudice,” the total exclusion of public attention to other crucial political problems, such as the region’s low wage scale, its low expenditures on. mental hospitals and unemployment .compensations, and the rest. “The’ high value which white Southerners place on segregation takes its toll in other human values.” It is true, Allen says, that “in some communities desegregated schools may temporarily mean poorer education for those who possess the greater advantages under segregation.” But, he emphasizes, “Christian sacrifice involves a willingness to accept costs of this kind … the failure to respond to the race problem today may mean that we do not inquire about our views tomorrow.” Douglas Jackson, writing at length on the “Scientific Understanding of Race,” examines anthropological considerations now being tossed about by segregationists. He summarizes and brings to date findings of the social sciences, pointing out that racial differences in physical characteristics which do prevail may be “sharply diminished or completely eliminated by long-term changes in geographical distribution.” Racial differences, he underlines, are not to be explained by innate variations. “Rather,” he says, “these differences are to be explained as cultural differences.” Arthur L. Harding, treating “The Role of the Supreme Court” in the current crisis, does a study into the historical position of the Court on matters pertaining to race. Defending judicial review “as the cement which has held the Union together over the years,” without which the foundation would have toppled a century ago on the heels of Calhoun’s nullification doctrine, he describes and criticizes the principal arguments directed against the Court’s school segregation cases. These arguments are : “there is no constitutional authority in the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of State legislation; the segregation cases represent unwarranted invasion of the rights reserved to the States under the Tenth Amendment ; the matter is for action by the Congress and not by the Court the decision arbitrarily overturned earlier cases of the same court ; and the decision is based not on law but upon the writings of assorted sociologists and the like.” Harding’s rebuttal concerns each point. Merriman Cunninggini, writing on “The Southern Temper,” evaluates the Southern mind in the spirit of a Cash or an Ashmore or a Penn Warren. Among all the paradoxes of the Southern temperament, he believes, “the most significant of all is the strife that is taking place within the mind and heart, and very soul, of the individual white Southerner. All but the most insensitive and ignorant feel a sense of guilt about the segregated system they outwardly defend. “Parallel to the present enervation of moderates,” he writes, “is the growing irrelevance of facts. Some brave folks are still trying to discuss frightening host of Southerners do not want the facts and do not intend to be swayed by them … Here is a major explanation of the ineffectiveness of educators and clergymen … They find themselves helpless in a different kind of debate.” He believes that “the vulnerable spot in the Southern armor is the widespread sensitivity to the Christian faith … The greatest single weakness in the strategy of Southern churches is the failure to realize this opportunity. “For their own purposes \(segregastitution, the Bill of Rights, and even the Bible itself. But they have not succeeded in identifying their position with the mind of Christ …” Harry Ashmore is quoted: “Not even the most determined bigot can make a segregationist out of … Jesus Christ.” Cunninggim concludes optimistically that the “conscience of churchmen is stirring and beginning to move.” R. F. Curl, on “The Role of the American Churches,” writes that the heart of the matter is at the local level. “Racial righteousness,” he says, “cannot be segregated within church walls. Integrating processes must permeate the structures and customs of community life.” In the two concluding articles, Allen Lamar Cooper on “The Churches Speak,” brings together, without interpretation, statements made by church bodies: ecumenical, denominational, and state councils of churches ; and Alfred W. Wasson, writing on “Race and the World MissiOn of the Church,” offers an answer to the question, how does the domestic racial situation affect the opportunity of American Christians to take their religion abroad? RALPH AND J. FRANK AUSTIN Sen. Ralph Yarborough took his stand alongside J. Frank Dobie on conformity and “running with the majority” in the Congressional Record June 25. He singled out this paragraph written by Dobie: “To get to the marrow in the marrow bone, I have about reached the stage where T would feel ashamed of running very often with the majority. The writers I like best are not on the best selling list ; the pictures I like best are not the prize winners. … To quote the Devil in Kipling’s Tomlinson, ‘I’m all o’er-sib’ with damning a man because he belongs to a minority group or even a splinter group.” Yorborough says Texas history has many men who like Dobie “would not let their words be stifled or their ideas be suppressed for fear of treading on the toes of whichever majority happened to be in the saddle at the time.” Dobie’s column also said, “The ideal species for staying with the majority are gnats and sugar ants.” THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 3 , July 4, 1958