“Pearl Jam played a liberal benefit concert in Charlotte, North Carolina last weekend, a show billed hopefully as a ‘farewell’ party for conservative North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, who’s running for his fifth term. Also on hand was singer Eddie Vedder’s new political guru — Ms. magazine founder and inner-child advocate Gloria Steinem, back from the ’70s.
“Vedder: ‘We get a lot of letters, requests to play bar mitzvahs, Sweet 16 birthday parties and things like that, so when we heard there was a retirement party we didn’t think we could do it. When we heard it was for Jesse Helms we said, ‘Sign us up.’ ”
— From “Pearl Jam lends a hand” by MTV News Staff (Oct. 4, 1996)
Despite the efforts of Pearl Jam and Steinem, Helms for the second time turned back challenger Harvey Gantt. This is a signed mini version of the artist Emek’s widely praised gig poster.
On this day in 1963: Jesse Helms, editorialist for Raleigh’s WRAL-TV, reacts to Harvey Gantt’s entrance into Clemson University:
“He has stoutly resisted the pose of a conquering hero for the forces of integration. He simply wants, he says, to be an architect — and Clemson is the only college in South Carolina that can teach him how to be one.
“He has rejected the fanfare and trappings of the NAACP. He has turned away from the liberal press and television networks which would glorify him. He has refused to make pompous speeches and statements.
“If ever a man put his best foot forward, Harvey Gantt has done so. His conduct will not cause South Carolinians to relish court orders relating to integration. But he has done a great deal, probably more than he himself realizes, to establish respectful communications across sensitive barriers in human relations.”
Helms goes on to cast Gantt and James Meredith, who desegregated the University of Mississippi in 1962, as “a study in contrasts. Meredith as a man handpicked as the showpiece of forced integration, Meredith as a man who never quite persuaded anybody that he was really interested in an education, Meredith as a man constantly and piously parading before the microphone and television cameras . ”
By 1990, when Gantt runs for Helms’ U.S. Senate seat, Meredith’s idiosyncratic career path will have led him to a job in Helms’ Washington office.