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During all the recent difficulty in furthering the aims of desegregation in the South, there have been reminders that some areas of the South have recognized their problems and done something about them quietly. In a front page story yesterday, the New York Times wrote of Winston-Salem's (N.C.) R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., which recently elevated a Negro woman to a chief inspector's post; she oversees eleven machines manned by both white and Negro workers.
The tobacco company's move is not simply one-shot effort at token desegregation in Winston-Salem. The company maintains one of the South's most extensive industrial desegregation programs; it desegregated its production lines in April, 1961.
It ought to be pointed out that Reynolds Tobacco Co. is the only non-unionized cigarette manufacturer in the country. No doubt much of the reason for its integration policy is that it can continue to keep away the unions by undercutting the advantages they might offer.
Whatever its motives, in fact, the company has shown that there remain areas where people continue to hold the old and good belief that integration is the South's problem and that the South should settle it. A few weeks ago Governor Barnett--like the "Reverse Freedom Ride" supporters before him--abandoned that belief by leaving the responsibility for integration to the government. Happily, Reynolds, and Winston-Salem are still willing to live with it.
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