The Taut String

In too many U.S. communities this week, whites and blacks tiptoed stiff-legged around one another, watching, waiting and a little afraid. The ugliest strand of the U.S. fabric had tightened under wartime pressure.

In New York City's Harlem, Negro capital of the U.S., a white policeman arrested a Negro woman for disorderly conduct. A Negro soldier, on leave, tried to stop him. Both went to the hospital, the policeman with a battered head, the soldier with a pistol wound in the shoulder. The story, much garbled, spread quickly through Harlem.

Bands of Negroes broke windows, looted shops, burned an automobile, beat up...

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