EDITORIAL/It’s time to be calm and cool-headed (1964)
Wednesday, April 28, 2004 1:00 PM
Like so many other cities and towns in the state, Philadelphia has had its first experience with the so-called “civil rights’ groups, when the three persons who came here last Sunday supposedly to investigate the burning of a Negro church in this county. It is, indeed, unfortunate that they are missing and haven’t been heard from by officials at this writing. It is the hope of all law-abiding citizens in this area that no physical harm has come to them and they will eventually show up.
This is the first of many incidents, we have been told, that we will face this summer by outside agitators and demonstrators who say they are interested in voter registrations in Mississippi. But regardless of how many incidents they stir up, it is imperative that we all keep our balance and don’t let them throw us off track. It is important that we restrain ourselves and give them no reason for creating situations that we will all be sorry of in the future. It is important that we be calm in whatever deliberations we may have with them.
We are getting and will continue to get much publicity nationally (some favorable, but mostly unfavorable) and the way we react to the situations will mean a lot to our national image. Too much stress cannot be put on all concerned to remain calm. We realize the agitators and the “civil righters” are not concerned with the trouble they cause. In fact, it is their purpose to stir up the populace as much as possible to get their points over. To them, theirs is the only point, but we must show them we have ours, too, without losing our heads.
We think we have duly elected officials capable of handling the situation; who want to cooperate with federal officials in keeping the peace. But we don’t want to knuckle under to the whims and pressures of outsiders who have taken it upon themselves to tell us how we should live, operate our local government and investigate crimes which might be committed here. Most of them need to clean up their own backyards before trying to tell others how to keep their premises.
Nothing but strife and turmoil can result from the actions so far, and it will be to everybody’s advantage to act as Americans should, and be considerate of their fellowman, both verbally as well as physically.
We think the Federal Bureau of Investigation will do whatever it can to solve the mysteries, and we believe local officials will give them every cooperation. But we must not perform acts that will incite others to commit actions which will lead to violence. We must be on our guard not to lose our tempers and play into the agitator’s hands.
This will probably be the longest and hardest summer any of us has ever spent, and there’s no use to make it any worse by popping off when restraint will get the job done better.