Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jesse Helms and the 'University of Negroes and Communists'

Did Jesse Helms ever call UNC the "University of Negroes and Communists"?

That line has been attributed to the late longtime U.S. senator for many years by many sources. John Dodd, president of the Jesse Helms Center in Wingate, says it is "a fabrication."

I included the reference in a column last Sunday opposing the idea of naming a federal courthouse in Raleigh after Helms. Dodd called and emailed me to say the quote "has zero basis in reality." Dodd says he can find no evidence that Helms ever said or wrote it.

"It's one more in a long, false list of made-up 'quotes,' out of context half-truths and deliberate mischaracterizations that have entertained the Senator's enemies over the years," Dodd wrote.

Many sources that have cited the quote over the years attribute it to an editorial or editorials Helms delivered on WRAL-TV in Raleigh, where he opined on-air in the 1960s. WRAL included the reference in its obituary of Helms, which has been on its website for more than four years. Monday, the station removed the reference after Dodd complained.

The quote and its attribution to Helms has been around for decades. Among those who have included it in their reporting on Helms: CBS News, Newsweek, The Nation, syndicated columnist Richard Reeves, the Washington Monthly, the Washington Post, conservative commentator Michael Graham, the Observer (by many different reporters and columnists), Yahoo!, Mother Jones, the Florida Times-Union, the South Bend Tribune and countless blogs. Some citations say Helms "once called" UNC that. Others say Helms "repeatedly" or "frequently" used that moniker.

Some references cite Helms' on-air editorials. Others say the phrase emerged years earlier, in fliers circulated in the race-tinged 1950 U.S. Senate race between Willis Smith and Frank Porter Graham. Helms was Smith's publicity director.

For many long-time North Carolinians and Helms observers, the phrase, and Helms as its author, is something they've heard for as long as they can remember. But no one seems to be able to point to the original source material.

Did Helms say it? Or did someone make it up long ago and it took on a life of its own? At this point, we can't say, and more research is required. What is not in question: Helms repeatedly used race to divide his constituents and the country. His bigoted comments and actions inflamed racial tensions for decades, and he never apologized for that.

-- Taylor Batten


34 comments:

Skippy said...

Taylor, at one point are you going to be too emarrassed to put your name on your garbage? Didn't Kay Hagan's husband belong to an all white country club? Why yes she did and that didn't bother yellow journalists like yourself one bit. Nice work, such courage once again.

CommonCents said...

So no evidence that he ever said it but the result is that more research is needed. So who is the biggot?

bootska said...

Of course he didn't say it. He never called African Americans anything as nice as Negroes.

Teddy C said...

So, what's the point of this story? If he didn't say it, why are we reading this silly opinion.

Teddy C said...

So, what's the point to this story? Why does the Observer always publish these pointless stories?

White Powder Ma said...

"The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones," right Taylor, even if you have to make it up.

Europeanexpat said...

Even if he did, I don't see a problem. We named CMS' building after a pedophile

tarbucket said...

NOT disputable: "Helms repeatedly used race to divide his constituents and the country. His bigoted comments and actions inflamed racial tensions for decades, and he never apologized for that."

The virtual Jesse Helms was real! He could not have been made him up. You had to grow up with Jesse to understand how retrograde he was, believe me. Give up on turning a sow's ear into a silk purse.

People have such short and convenient memories, esp. those Chamber of Commerce businessmen, ministers, and lawyers who courted him.

Shamash said...

Talk about stirring some really old, dry, stinky stuff...

At first I thought this was a Fanny Flono piece.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Europeanexpat: Which CMS building are you talking about? I'm not aware of one named for a pedophile.

WashuOtaku said...

How much research would it be considered enough to confirm he did not say or wrote those words? If no actual evidence exist, it suggests that you simply do not believe the truth, that he didn't say it.

Be careful Taylor, your starting to sound like Flono.

drummerboi said...

This really is stirring up old manure about a man many were glad to see gone. And negro is not the term he preferred.

3df219d2-3fd4-11e2-a739-000bcdcb471e said...

To the extent, Sen. Helms in fact "used race to divide his constituents and the country" or taht his "bigoted comments and actions inflamed racial tensions for decades" -- that is a sad chapter of his biography.

I only wish Mr. Batten and the Observer would be equally quick to identify others who "use[ ] race to divide [their] constituents and the country" or who "inflame[ ] racial tensions." For that descriptor likely applies to a majority of today's Congressional Black Caucus.

faithplusnothing said...

This is par for the course with the Observer. Nobody I know respects anything written in it. I use the coupons and then use the rest for compost.

Europeanexpat said...

I believe it's Bob Walton Plaza.
In 1987 Democratic Mecklenburg county commissioner Bob Walton served a jail term after a jury convicted Walton of sexually assaulting a male high school student inside the church where Walton served as minister during an encounter initiated by Commissioner Walton.

Wiley Coyote said...

UNC...University of No Credibility

Wiley Coyote said...

Taylor,

When will you do a story on Lawanna Mayfield, Harold Cogdell, Vilma Leake and one other elected official for not condemning Louis Farrakhan's hate rhetoric?

They attended his rallys and Leake sat on stage behind Farrakhan.

His group is on the same hate group list as the KKK and Neo-Nazis....

From Qnotes (the Observer posted a brief article about this)....

Leake declines to condemn Farrakhan’s hate speech

Joins Mayfield and Cogdell in refusing to condemn anti-Semitic, anti-LGBT comments of hate group leader

Garth Vader said...

Batten needs to resign and let his wife take care of his sorry behind in their million-dollar gated-community home.

kantstanzya said...

This is so typical of what passes for journalism in the mind of a liberal. As I was reading I was going to compliment Mr. Batten on admitting he might have made a mistake and repeated something false other race baiters have said about Helms for years. But then at the end it was basically "well if he didn't say it he certainly could have so the criticism stands."

Calling someone a racist is something the left does because it is all about the seriousness of the accusation and not the facts. Like calling anyone who criticizes Barack Obama's policies or Susan Rice's performance a "racist".

Jesse Helms, like most whites of his generation in the south...men and women...Democrats and Republicans...grew up a segregationist. Despite the fact he has had many blacks (staffers, interns and clerks who worked for him) speak to how fairly he treated everyone. As society evolved he was never allowed the luxury to be declared "rehabilitated" and exonerated as Democrats like Robert Byrd were because Helms was a conservative and calling all conservatives "racists" is standard operating procedure for Democrats.

Robert Byrd, for example, was a violent racist who was so successful at recruiting members into the KKK he was made a Grand Kleagal. Yet at his funeral Bill Clinton insulted everyone's intelligence by claiming he only did those things because he needed to "pretend" to get the white votes.

Democrat Robert Byrd probably has more roads, bridges and buildings named after him than George Washington without a peep from the left. Democrat Thomas Jefferson refused to free his slaves even at his death. Democrat Woodrow Wilson RE-segregated the military. The list goes on. Yet Taylor Batten believes Jesse Helms who was never in the KKK does not deserve a single building named after him? The reason...he was a conservative Republican and Mr. Batten didn't like his politics. Hypocrisy.

Aubrey Moore said...

The Helms Center is about white washing Jesse's past. How else can they exist without being a big joke? I personally heard the words come from his lips on several occasions while he was with the radio station, and especially during the time of the passing of the Speaker Ban Law, which Jesse was very instrumental in getting passed. I have learned personally here in Union County just to what extent the center will lie about Jesse's past.

Aubrey Moore said...

As to the post by kantstanzya. You are attempting to whitewash Jesse and dishonor him in doing so. This is the man who turned his back on Nelson Mandella, late in his career, rather than shake hands with the leader. And another post is correct, he did not say Negro but used his slur. As to those who post about this person and that person to somehow justify Jesse, Jesse was a highly influential US Senator, the leader of an arm of his party, and it is altogether fitting that he should be judged based on his standing, not how he was so much like so many other people.

Jim said...

Jesse Helms was a man of great principle, not something that can be said of taylor batten.

J said...

"What is not in question: Helms repeatedly used race to divide his constituents and the country. His bigoted comments and actions inflamed racial tensions for decades, and he never apologized for that."

What is also not in question: Batten and the rest of the editorial board at the CO and all the 100 largest TV stations and newspapers love to scream at the top of their lungs when there might be a small hint that a white person says something that could be considered racist, and will say absolutely nothing at statements such as these:

-"No, not God bless America, God d**n America!" - Jeremiah Wright, black "preacher"
-"Yes, that's what I'm saying, we must vote for (Obama) because he is a black man." - Tom Joyner, nationally-syndicated radio show host
-"This is a problem only because Kofi Anin is black." - Nelson Mandela, on why he thought George W. Bush opposed the U.N.'s many anti-American initiatives
-"You want to label (Obama) a failure, because he's black." - Mike Lupica, NY Daily News columnist

There are many more examples. I could talk about the filthy names Condi Rice and Stacey Dash have been called for being black and being or voting for Republicans. I could remind you of the irrational hatred directed at Bill Cosby when he said blacks need to embrace education more and that "we can't keep on blaming white people." I could go on for days. The point is, whenever a liberal, regardless of color, says or does something racist, absolutely nothing is said. When a non-liberal discusses minority issues, whether or not the non-liberal actually says anything hateful, the screams of RACISM!!!!!!!!!! come flying from the liberals - and the same liberals will gleefully inform you that they are higher life forms than conservatives because they (liberals) are so much more tolerant.

Get over yourself.

Willy Loman said...

He didn't say "negroes" until after 1963. Before that it was full-fledged N-word....like every other southerner 'round here. Now they only say it to each other, and behind closed doors. Luckily the Northerners have been around long enough to keep the southerners in line.

par said...

Lets go Observer. No more of this type of press. This is th 21st century. You would not hear this trash press up north.

OGB Community said...

say "negroes",,
OGB Community

Dr. Horrible said...

Once upon a time, didn't citing "facts" that couldn't be verified lead to a retraction?

I mean, you have to have some standards, no?

dalejns said...

check out http://www.bettybowers.com/helms.html

BiBr said...

Wow Taylor - I thought you were against "hate speech." You sound pretty hateful and vindictive if you ask me (have you thought about seeing professional help for this)? Anyway, Mr. Helms was well-loved and admired by a lot of people as someone who stood firm on principle and the good for the community.

BiBr said...

By the way - what a way to slander a dead man. Nice Taylor, real nice.

Ghoul said...

Wow Taylor, I'm surprised you didn't know about the Pedophile Plaza, where child services are handled by the county.

Oh, and Garth, Taylor doesn't live in a million dollar house, that's a $1.1 million house.

Ghoul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Garth Vader said...

par writes:
"You would not hear this trash press up north. "

Never read the NYTimes or NYPost have you?

Michael said...

Senator Helms has been dead for going on 5 years now. He can't be brought back, he isn't coming back, and he can't fight back. We can choose to agree or disagree with his politics but one thing is for sure. You continually talking about him only makes you as bad as the monster you claim Jesse Helms is. Let's look foward to our future people, not relive our past