Jesse Helms

Jesse Helms

Jesse Alexander Helms, Jr., October 18, 1921 – July 4, 2008.  Sportswriter and reporter, Raleigh, NC News & Observer;  U.S. Navy recruiter; assistant city editor and city editor, the Raleigh (NC) Times; Administrative Assistant to Senator Willis Smith (D-NC); executive director of the North Carolina Bankers Association; executive vice-president, vice chairman of the board, and assistant chief executive officer of Capitol Broadcasting Company; commentator, WBCT-Radio in Roanoke Rapids and WRAL radio and WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC; U.S. Senator from North Carolina, Republican (News & Observer timeline).

Jesse Helms 

In his Own Words:

I’m so old-fashioned I believe in horse whipping.” — The News & Observer, during a debate in 1991 on an AIDS-related amendment.

“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?” —  Ad Helms created for the 1950 Senate campaign of North Carolina Democratic candidate Willis Smith.

“The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that’s thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men’s rights.”  WRAL commentary, 1963.

“The nation has been hypnotized by the swaying and gesturing of the watusi and the frug.” —WRAL Viewpoint, 1966

Jesse Helms

“Jesse Helms was a kind, decent and humble man and a passionate defender of what he called ‘the Miracle of America.’ So it is fitting that this great patriot left us on the Fourth of July.” — George W. Bush, President of the United States of America.


Image by Mike Licht (in fond remembrance of the late Ossie Davis and “Purlie Victorious*). Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

* Page 83, Property List: “Upright coffin with Confederate flag and bullwhip attached.”

12 Responses to “Jesse Helms”

  1. Jazmyn Says:

    Why do people have to be so racist?

  2. tsfiles Says:


    One Senator (Helms) uttered a racist opinions and he is now condemned.

    Another Senator (Byrd) was a former member of the Ku Klutz Klan, and no one cares.

  3. Mike Licht Says:


    Byrd cares. Why did he join the KKK? I guess the Elks, Masons, and Knights of Columbus weren’t very big in Matoaka, WV in the 1940s. Former Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops Byrd has said:

    I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times… and I don’t mind apologizing over and over again. I can’t erase what happened.

    Helms, on the other hand, made a career fulminating about race on radio and TV in the 1960s.

    Byrd thinks the only positive result of his KKK experience was that it revealed his leadership talents, but IMHO he would never have been elected if he hadn’t been a pretty good country fiddler.

    Mr. Byrd has ensured that the vital seacoast of West Virginia is protected by Coast Guard installations, and half the pork-barrel projects in the state are named after him — highways, bridges, parks, etc. That said, I am impressed he attended American University Law School while serving in Congress and even more impressed at the sight of his pocket Constitution — not new and shiny like the copy Mr. Kucinich flashes, but well-thumbed and dog-eared like a student’s Good Book at the end of Summer Bible School.

    Helms treated the people and Constitution of the United States with complete and utter distain, and no graveside sermonizing can change that.

  4. knottyboy Says:

    May he rest in moldering pieces.

  5. Top Posts « Says:

    […] Jesse Helms [image] Jesse Alexander Helms, Jr., October 18, 1921 – July 4, 2008.  Sportswriter and reporter, Raleigh, NC News & […] […]

  6. Best Correction Ever « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] Note: See Jesse Helms […]

  7. Raymond Says:

    Jesse Helms is a racist in his death just like he lived. When people try to gloss over his divisive remarks and overlook how he hated black people in general it makes me continue to say America has not changed enough for my liking. This man was not a hero or patriot he was a bigot and the difference in him a Sen. Byrd is we confirmed Byrds membership. You can bet Jesse was a card carrying, cross burning, coward klansman too.

  8. blueollie Says:

    People make mistakes and learn from them. Byrd apologized and tried to reform his ways.

    This isn’t about Democrat versus Republican: if GHW Bush died, I’d treat him with respect, though I disagree with him on public policy.

    Helms stayed a rabid bigot until the very end. He was nothing more than an Imperial Wizard in a suit.

  9. wally Says:

    even Jesses’ death was a lie.. Imagine how they put the 4th of july on his certificate after he died late on the 3rd! just another day charge at the nursing home and make ole Jesse look patriotic!

  10. Holding the Phone for Helms « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] vote on the telecom surveillance bill until tomorrow so senators may attend this afternoon’s funeral for the late Jesse Helms. Mr. Helms himself has not replied to telephone calls from the […]

  11. savoy Says:

    “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?” – Ad Helms created for the 1950 Senate campaign of North Carolina Republican candidate Willis Smith.

    Correction: Willis Smith was a Democrat, not Republican.

  12. Mike Licht Says:

    Willis Smith was a Democrat, not Republican . Whoops, my bad. I’ll correct that.

    I forgot that Mr. Helms was an apostate.

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