Jesse Helms, Racist Culture Warrior, Is Dead At 86


ASSOCIATED PRESS: Former Sen. Jesse Helms, who served 30 years in Congress, died on the Fourth of July, the Jesse Helms research center says. He was 86. The center, based at Wingate University in North Carolina, said Friday that he died at 1:15 a.m. Jimmy Broughton, Helms’ former chief of staff, says the former senator died of natural causes in Raleigh. Helms built a career along the fault lines of racial politics and battled liberals, Communists and the occasional fellow Republican during his decades in Congress. MORE

jessehelms_2.jpgWIKIPEDIA: Helms was particularly vitriolic when speaking of gays and lesbians, blaming them for “the proliferation of AIDS,” and stating that he disliked using the word “gay” to refer to them since, “…there’s nothing gay about them.” Helms opposed the Martin Luther King Day bill in 1983 on grounds that King had two associates with communist ties, Stanley Levison and Jack O’Dell; as well, he voiced disapproval of King’s alleged philandering. Helms’ referred to the University of North Carolina (UNC) as the “University of Negroes and Communists.” (Charleston Gazette, 9/15/95) [2] At this time, his press secretary was Claude Allen, an African American. James Meredith, who earned fame as the first African American student admitted to the University of Mississippi, also served on Helms’ staff.[citation needed] While working on the 1950 campaign of Republican Willis Smith against Democrat Frank Porter Graham, Helms helped create an ad that read “White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races.” Another ad featured photographs Helms himself had doctored to illustrate the allegation that Graham’s wife had danced with a black man. (FAIR 9/1/01, The News and Observer 8/26/01) MORE

RELATED: During the 1992 presidential campaign, conservative Republicans led by Senator Jesse Helms targeted federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)helms_aids.jpg and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Pat Buchanan, another conservative who was challenging President George Bush for the Republican presidential nomination, chastised Bush for allowing the NEA to fund “pornographic art” and called the endowment “the upholstered playpen of the arts and crafts auxiliary of the Eastern liberal establishment.” The White House forced John Frohnmayer, chairman of the NEA, to resign on February 29. Republican members of Congress attempted to eliminate these programs from the federal budget in 1992. MORE

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