9781555835729 / 1555835724

Keep Singing: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and Their Fight Against Jesse Helms


2.50 avg rating4 ratings by GoodReads

Publisher:Alyson Books, 2000



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About the book:

"Keep Singing is about as moving a document as I have ever read, a real testament to the human spirit. Full of suspense and pathos, the book reads like an engaging novel. I found myself in tears one minute, then furious five minutes later."-Lee Smith, author of Saving Grace and Fair and Tender Ladies

On June 5, 1994, Patsy Clarke sat down and wrote a long letter to her friend Jesse Helms. In it she recounted the last night of her son Mark's life. She had hoped to touch the heart of the notoriously homophobic senator, to ask him to soften his antigay stance, and to end his opposition to AIDS research funding. She failed. His callous and self-serving reply, in which he said, "I wish Mark had not played Russian roulette in his sexual activity," first broke Patsy's heart-and then it made her furious. Together with her friend Eloise Clark who had also lost a son-also named Mark-to AIDS, they formed Mothers Against Jesse in Congress (MAJIC) to drive him from office. Keep Singing is the inspiring true story of two women, driven by the desire that even in death their children would be given the simple human respect that is due everyone, and who gave a new face to the fight against bigotry and hatred.

Patsy Clarke is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a degree in Drama and Literature. She remains active in theater in her home of Raleigh, NC.

Eloise Vaughn graduated from the University of North Carolina, and was a junior high-school teacher for 15 years. She now lives in Blowing Rock, N.C., and remains active in AIDS causes.

An Excerpt: How I Learned to Love Liberals

Harry Clarke had our kitchen table custom-made so that it would be large enough to accommodate our whole family on a regular and comfortable basis. He wanted it to be the place where he and I, our four children, and my mother and father could gather to be nurtured both physically and intellectually, a place where we feasted on Boston cream pie and the news of the day with equal relish.

This round oak table became the hub of our lives, around which so many of our family's notable events occurred. Thomas "Speedy" Rice asked for Judy's

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