Posted on June 9, 2005

Helms Mea Culpa on AIDS, Not Integration

AP, June 9

RALEIGH, N.C. — In his upcoming memoir, former Sen. Jesse Helms acknowledges he was wrong about the AIDS epidemic but believes integration was forced before its time by “outside agitators who had their own agendas.”

“Here’s Where I Stand,” to be published in September by Random House, contains Helms’ first extended comments on national affairs since the Republican retired from the Senate in 2003 after five terms. Advance proofs were described in Thursday’s editions of The News & Observer of Raleigh.

Helms, 83, was one of the state’s leading voices of segregation as a TV commentator in Raleigh in the 1960s and opposed nearly every civil rights bill while in the Senate. He has never retracted his views on race or said segregation was wrong.

In the book, Helms suggests he believed voluntary racial integration would come about without pressure from the federal government or from civil rights protests that he said sharpened racial antagonisms.