L.F. Eason: Helms’ legacy

November 30, 2012 

Helms’ legacy

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers wants to name Century Post Office the Jesse Helms Federal Building. Trouble is, that building has heat and air conditioning, two things Helms denied tenants living in his rental properties.

What does Ellmers want to celebrate in the Helms legacy?

Helms’ accomplishments included whistling Dixie to Sen. Carol Mosley Braun in an elevator to make her cry. He called the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in the Congress.” He called Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a communist and the civil rights movement leadership “moral degenerates.” (He had much worse names for LGBT people.) He led the opposition to the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

But, unlike George Wallace and Strom Thurmond, he never admitted, much less apologized for being on the wrong side; the evil side of history. That is Jesse Helms’ North Carolina legacy.

I am a native North Carolinian and love everything good about my home. This infatuation with Helms, years after his passing, is not one of those good things.

L.F. Eason


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