Segregationist Senator Thurmond's Biracial Daughter Dies

Tuesday, 05 Feb 2013 01:17 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Essie Mae Washington-Williams, who in 2003 revealed she was the biracial daughter of segregationist U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, died on Monday at age 87, her attorney said.

Washington-Williams, who had been in declining health in recent years, died of natural causes at a care home in Columbia, South Carolina, said lawyer Frank Wheaton.

Washington-Williams was born in 1925 to a black teenage girl who worked as a maid in Thurmond's parents' home when Thurmond was 22. She announced she was Thurmond's daughter in 2003 after his death at age 100 that year, and the late senator's family confirmed her claim.

Washington-Williams was a teacher in Los Angeles for three decades and was the mother of four. She moved to South Carolina about five years ago to be closer to a daughter who lived there, Wheaton said.

Her 2006 memoir, "Dear Senator," detailed her decades-long relationship with her father, the letters they wrote each other and the kindness he showed her personally, which she struggled to reconcile with his opposition to civil rights and his defense of racial segregation.

"She was very low-key and never wanted to rock the boat, I think that's why she kept her secret until he died," said William Stadiem, who co-wrote "Dear Senator."

Stadiem said Thurmond had great affection for Washington-Williams' mother, Carrie Butler.

"The fact he stayed close to Essie for all those years, it would be so easy for him to say 'get out of my life, you don't exist,' and he didn't do that," Stadiem said. "I think she reminded him of her mother."

Washington-Williams as a young child went to live with her mother's sister and her husband in Pennsylvania, and it was from him that she took the surname Washington. She adopted the name Williams from her marriage to attorney Julius Williams.

Thurmond began his career as a Democrat but switched to the Republican Party in 1964. In his lifetime, Thurmond said he was not racist but opposed what he saw as excessive federal intervention.

He staged the longest filibuster in U.S. history when he spoke for more than 24 hours against a 1957 civil rights bill that sought to fight the disenfranchisement of blacks in the South by giving new powers to federal prosecutors.

In 2004 a statue of Thurmond outside the South Carolina State House was altered to engrave the name Essie Mae with those of his other four children on the foundation stone.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

US Special Forces Tried to Save Journalist Before Beheading

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 19:30 PM

U.S. Special Forces attempted to free James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State (ISIS), earlier . . .

Judge Orders Holder to Cough Up Fast, Furious Documents

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 23:03 PM

A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to provide Congress with a list of documents that are at the center o . . .

Dick Cheney: Deal With ISIS or Face Attack Far Worse Than 9/11

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 22:51 PM

Former Vice President Dick Cheney warns that if the United States doesn't deal with the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist g . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved