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- To rob the Negro of his reputation of thinking through a problem in his own fashion is about the same as trying to pretend that he doesn't have a natural instinct for rhythm and for singing and dancing.
- (1956) on criticism that a fictional character in his newspaper column was offensive cited The New York Times (2001)
- Compromise, hell! That's what happened to us all down the line -- and that's the very cause of our woes. If freedom is right and tyranny is wrong, why should those who believe in freedom treat it as if it were a roll of bologna to be bartered a slice at a time?
- (1959), as quoted in The New York Times.
- White women in Washington who have been raped and mugged on the streets in broad daylight have experienced the most revolting sort of violation of their civil rights. The hundreds of others who had their purses snatched last year by Negro hoodlums may understandably insist that their right to walk the street unmolested was violated.
- 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-TV commentary, 1963 cited in Media Downplay Bigotry of Jesse Helms
- It is interesting to note that the Nobel Peace Prize won't be awarded this year. When one recalls that Martin Luther King got the prize last year, it may be just as well that the committee decided not to award one this year. Perhaps it was too difficult to choose between Stokely Carmichael and Ho Chi Minh.
- Television commentary (1966) quoted in The New York Times (1994)
- Look carefully into the faces of the people participating. What you will see, for the most part, are dirty, unshaven, often crude young men and stringy-haired awkward young women who cannot attract attention any other way.
- (1968) The New York Times (2008) in reference to Viet Nam war protestors.
- Crime rates and irresponsibility among Negroes are facts of life which must be faced.
- New York Times interview (1981)
- [Voters] "sent me to Washington to vote no against excessive Federal spending, against forced busing of little schoolchildren, and to vote no against the forces who have driven God out of the classroom.
- News & Observer, June 26, 1983 quoted in The New York Times (1994)
- I didn't come to Washington to be a 'yes man' for any president, Democrat or Republican. I didn't come to Washington to get along and win any popularity contests.
- In 1989, as quoted in The New York Times (2008)
- I’m going to make her cry. I’m going to sing ‘Dixie’ until she cries.” [in an elevator to Carol Moseley-Braun, the first African-American woman elected to the Senate]
- Chicago Sun-Times (1993)
- I reject that criticism because this is indeed another kind of holocaust, by another name. At last count, more than 40 million unborn children have been deliberately, intentionally destroyed. What word adequately defines the scope of such slaughter? [After 9/11] the American people responded with shock, sadness and a deep and righteous anger — and rightly so. Yet let us not forget that every passing day in our country, more than three thousand innocent Americans are killed [through abortion].
- As quoted in Here's Where I Stand (2005)
Quotes about Helms
- Why Won't Jesse Helms Just Hurry Up and Die?
- Ken Lawrence, "Why Won't Jesse Helms Just Hurry Up and Die"