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“This right winger depends on Perry Young to get his blood boiling ever Saturday morning.” -- A reader in Hillsborough.

    In this space, I will offer the occasional opinion column, and invite my readers—old and new—to respond. Please address all responses to me at

JUNE 25, 1963:
A DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY: 50 years ago today, I took my seat on the floor of the NC House as a 22-year-old reporter for UPI. IT was the end of the session so I was the only reporter there. Suddenly, as pre-arranged, Reps. Ned Delamar and Phil Gates stood up and asked for a suspension of the rules so they could introduce what became known as the Speaker Ban. Rep. Paul Story of McDowell rose in outrage: "Gentlemen this is unconstitutional on its face." The bill passed on voice vote. I was so outraged, I left my seat and ran with Delamar [a genuine hero of WWII, who I really liked] onto the floor of the Senate where a waiting Senate President suspended the rules and passed the measure on voice vote...with Sen. Luther Hamilton screaming his own outrage: "this is not worthy of the senate of North Carolina." I then rushed to my wwII vintage UPI teletype and pounded out a story: "Reactionaries in the NC General Assembly have ramrodded another censorship bill into law." WRAL was our biggest client and Ol' Jesse Helms just happened to be reading the wire. He called the president of UPI and demanded I be fired. UPI sent out a "mandatory kill" on the story [the only one I ever saw in many years with the company.] I went by the UPI bureau later that day and my chief, Bob McNeill was still on the phone with his bosses. "But they ARE reactionary," he said into the phone. He refused to fire me, he just said, "well,Young, you sure screwed up this time." And Jesse and I went on with our lives.

Perry's Joe Frazier article in Harper's Magaine, February, 1972

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