Remembering Jesse Helms through Marlette’s work

Rob Tornoe reviews the life of Jesse Helms through the eyes of one his arch nemesis, the late editorial cartoonist Doug Marlette.

As a cartoonist, when I think of Helms, it may be fitting that I think of an old foe of his who also lost his life a short while ago, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Doug Marlette of the Charlotte Observer, who died last year in an automobile accident in Marshall County, Miss.

Marlette railed against Helms and his racial vision, “separate but equal,” which is how Marlett drew Helms in his horn-rimmed glasses with a single dot way off to the right side of one lens and the other one straining in the opposite direction.

He was a harsh critic of the North Carolina senator, who was very negative in his tone when speaking of blacks, gays and lesbians, blaming them for “the proliferation of AIDS.”

In 1983, he opposed the creation of a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King and referred to the University of North Carolina as the “University of Negroes and Communists.”

One thought on “Remembering Jesse Helms through Marlette’s work

  1. I LOVED Marlette’s caricature. It was impossible to over-exagerate the physical ugliness of the man. The venal nature of the unreconstructed racist could not be adequately captured by even the most talented of editorial cartoonists. Perhaps Goya or Bosch.
    It was fun to see “Kudzu” and guess which blowhard poohbah was getting the business from DM.

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