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Strom Thurmond
Official Senate picture, 1997
1st President pro tempore emeritus of the United States Senate

In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Position created
Succeeded by Robert Byrd
President pro tempore of the United States Senate

In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1987
Preceded by Warren G. Magnuson
Succeeded by John C. Stennis

In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by Robert Byrd
Succeeded by Robert Byrd

In office
January 20, 2001 – June 6, 2001
Preceded by Robert Byrd
Succeeded by Robert Byrd
United States Senator
from South Carolina

In office
November 7, 1956 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Thomas A. Wofford
Succeeded by Lindsey Graham

In office
December 24, 1954 – April 4, 1956
Preceded by Charles E. Daniel
Succeeded by Thomas A. Wofford
103rd Governor of South Carolina

In office
January 21, 1947 – January 16, 1951
Lieutenant George Bell Timmerman, Jr.
Preceded by Ransome Judson Williams
Succeeded by James F. Byrnes
Personal details
Born James Strom Thurmond
(1902-12-05)December 5, 1902
Edgefield, South Carolina
Died June 26, 2003(2003-06-26) (aged 100)
Edgefield, South Carolina
Resting place Willowbrook Cemetery in Edgefield, South Carolina
Political party Republican (1964–death)
States Rights Democratic (1948)
Democratic (1946–1948, 1948–1964)
Spouse(s) Jean Crouch (1947–1960)
Nancy Moore (1968–2003)
Children Essie Mae Washington-Williams
Nancy Moore Thurmond
James S. Thurmond, Jr.
Juliana Whitmer
Paul Reynolds Thurmond
Profession Teacher
Religion Southern Baptist
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
United States Army Reserves
Years of service 1924–1964[1]
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Battles/wars World War II
*Normandy Campaign
Awards Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star with valor
Purple Heart
World War II Victory Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Order of the Crown
Croix de Guerre

James Strom Thurmond (December 5, 1902 – June 26, 2003) was an American politician who served for 48 years as a United States Senator. He ran for president in 1948 as the States Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrat) candidate, receiving 2.4% of the popular vote and 39 electoral votes. Thurmond represented South Carolina in the United States Senate from 1954 until 2003, at first as a Democrat and, after 1964, as a Republican. He switched because of his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, disaffection with the liberalism of the national party, and his support for the conservatism and opposition to the Civil Rights bill of the Republican presidential candidate Senator Barry Goldwater.[2][3] He left office as the only senator to reach the age of 100 while still in office and as the oldest-serving and longest-serving senator in U.S. history (although he was later surpassed in length of service by Robert Byrd and Daniel Inouye).[4] Thurmond holds the record at 14 years as the longest-serving Dean of the United States Senate in U.S. history.

In opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957, he conducted the longest filibuster ever by a lone senator, at 24 hours and 18 minutes in length, nonstop. In the 1960s, he opposed the civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965 to end segregation and enforce the voting rights of African-American citizens. He always insisted he had never been a racist, but was opposed to excessive federal authority, and he attributed the movement for integration to Communist agitators.[5] In 1948, Thurmond stated:

all the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, into our schools, our churches and our places of recreation and amusement.[5]

Starting in the 1970s, he moderated his position on race, but continued to defend his early segregationist campaigns on the basis of states' rights in the context of Southern society at the time,[6] never fully renouncing his earlier viewpoints.[7][8]

Six months after Thurmond's death in 2003, it was revealed that at age 22, he had fathered a mixed-race daughter, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, with his family's maid, Carrie Butler, a 16-year-old black girl. Although Thurmond never publicly acknowledged Essie Mae, he paid for her education at a historically black college and passed other money to her for some time. She kept silent out of respect for her father[9] and denies that the two had agreed that she would not reveal her connection to Thurmond.[10] His children by his marriage eventually acknowledged her.[9]

Early life and education

James Strom Thurmond was born on December 5, 1902, in Edgefield, South Carolina, the son of Eleanor Gertrude (Strom) (July 18, 1870 – January 10, 1958) and John William Thurmond (May 1, 1862 – June 17, 1934), a lawyer. His ancestry included English and German.[11] He attended Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina (now Clemson University), where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Thurmond graduated in 1923 with a degree in horticulture.

After Thurmond's death in 2003, an attorney for his family confirmed that in 1925, when he was 22, Thurmond fathered a mixed-race daughter, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, with his family's housekeeper, Cassie Butler, then 16 years old. Thurmond paid for the girl's college education and provided other support.[12]

Early career

After college, Thurmond worked as a farmer, teacher and athletic coach until 1929, when at age 27 he was appointed as Edgefield County's superintendent of education, serving until 1933. Thurmond studied law with his father as a legal apprentice and was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1930.

He was appointed as the Edgefield Town and County attorney, serving from 1930 to 1938. In 1933 Thurmond was elected to the South Carolina Senate and represented Edgefield until he was elected to the Eleventh Circuit judgeship.

World War II

In 1942, after the U.S. formally entered World War II, Judge Thurmond resigned from the bench to serve in the U.S. Army, rising to Lieutenant Colonel. In the Battle of Normandy (June 6 – August 25, 1944), he landed in a glider attached to the 82nd Airborne Division. For his military service, he received 18 decorations, medals and awards, including the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star with Valor device, Purple Heart, World War II Victory Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Belgium's Order of the Crown and France's Croix de Guerre.

During 1954–55 he was president of the Reserve Officers Association. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserves with the rank of Major General.

Governor of South Carolina

Thurmond's political career began under Jim Crow laws, established by the start of the 20th century, together with a constitution that effectively disfranchised blacks from voting. White voters in South Carolina strongly resisted early efforts of civil rights activists to achieve integration. Running as a Democrat, Thurmond was elected Governor of South Carolina in 1946, largely on the promise of making state government more transparent and accountable by weakening the power of a group of politicians from Barnwell, which Thurmond dubbed the Barnwell Ring, led by House Speaker Solomon Blatt.

Many voters considered Thurmond a progressive for much of his term, in large part due to his influence in arresting all those responsible for the lynch mob murder of Willie Earle. Though none of the men were found guilty by the all-white jury (as blacks had been disfranchised under the South Carolina constitution, they could not serve on juries), Thurmond was congratulated by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for his efforts.[13]

Run for President

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman ordered the end of racial discrimination in the U.S. Army, proposed the creation of a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission, supported the elimination of state poll taxes (which effectively discriminated against poor blacks and whites), and supported drafting federal anti-lynching laws.

In response, Thurmond became a candidate for president on the third party ticket of the States' Rights Democratic Party (also known as the Dixiecrats). It split from the national Democrats over the threat of federal intervention in state affairs regarding segregation and Jim Crow. Thurmond's supporters took control of the Democratic Party in the Deep South, and Truman was not on the ballot. Thurmond carried four states and received 39 electoral votes, but Truman was reelected. One 1948 speech, met with cheers by supporters, included the following:About this sound listen 

I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there's not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the Nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.[6]

Early runs for Senate

As Thurmond was constitutionally barred from seeking a second term as governor in 1950, he mounted a Democratic primary challenge against first-term U.S. Senator Olin Johnston. Both candidates denounced President Truman during the campaign. Johnston defeated Thurmond 186,180 votes to 158,904 votes (54% to 46%). It was the only statewide election which Thurmond lost.

In 1952, Thurmond endorsed Republican Dwight Eisenhower for the Presidency, rather than the Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson. This led state Democratic Party leaders to block Thurmond from receiving the nomination to the Senate in 1954, and he ran as a write-in candidate.

Senate career


The incumbent U.S. Senator, Burnet R. Maybank, was unopposed for re-election in 1954, but he died in September of that year, two months before Election Day. Democratic leaders hurriedly appointed state Senator Edgar A. Brown, a member of the Barnwell Ring, as the party's nominee to replace Maybank. The Brown campaign was managed by future Governor John C. West. Opponents widely criticized the party's failure to elect a candidate by a primary vote, and Thurmond announced that he would mount a write-in campaign.

At the recommendation of Governor James Byrnes, Thurmond campaigned on the pledge that if he won, he would resign in 1956 to force a primary election which could be contested. (At the time, South Carolina was a one-party state: blacks had essentially been disfranchised since the start of the 20th century, and the Democratic Party's primary was the deciding election for offices, in which only whites voted.)

Thurmond won overwhelmingly, becoming the first person to be elected to the U.S. Senate as a write-in candidate against ballot-listed opponents.[14] In 1956, Thurmond resigned to run in the party primary, which he won. Afterward, he was repeatedly elected to the US Senate until his retirement 46 years later, despite his mid-career party switch.

Thurmond supported racial segregation throughout much of his career. He wrote the first version of the Southern Manifesto, announcing southern disagreement with and resistance to implementation of school desegregation following the US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.[15] In an unsuccessful attempt to derail passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, Thurmond made the longest filibuster ever conducted by a single senator, speaking for a total of 24 hours and 18 minutes. Cots were brought in from a nearby hotel for the legislators to sleep on while Thurmond discussed increasingly irrelevant and obscure topics, including his grandmother's biscuit recipe. Other Southern senators, who had agreed as part of a compromise not to filibuster this bill, were upset with Thurmond because they thought his defiance made them look incompetent to their constituents.[16]

According to the journalist Jeff Sharlet in his book of 2008, Thurmond was a member of the Family (also known as the Fellowship). It has been described by prominent evangelical Christians as one of the most politically well-connected conservative Christian organizations in the U.S.[17]


Strom Thurmond, c. 1961

Throughout the 1960s, Thurmond generally received relatively low marks from the press and his fellow senators in the performance of his Senate duties, as he often missed votes and rarely proposed or sponsored noteworthy legislation.

Thurmond was increasingly at odds with the national Democratic Party, some of whose leaders were supporting the civil rights movement led by African Americans in the South seeking enforcement of their right as citizens to vote and an end to racial segregation. On September 16, 1964, he switched his party affiliation to the Republican Party (GOP), which was seeking to revive its presence in the South by appealing to conservative voters.

He played an important role in South Carolina's support among white voters for the Republican presidential candidates Barry Goldwater in 1964 and Richard Nixon in 1968. South Carolina and other states of the Deep South had supported the Democrats in every national election from the end of Reconstruction, when white Democrats re-established political control in the South, to 1960. However, discontent with the Democrats' increasing support for civil rights resulted in John F. Kennedy's barely winning the state in 1960.

After the assassination of President Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson's strong support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 angered white segregationists even more. These ended segregation and committed the federal government to enforce voting rights of citizens by the supervision of elections in states in which the pattern of voting showed that blacks had been disfranchised. Goldwater won South Carolina by a large margin in 1964.

In 1968, Richard Nixon ran the first GOP "Southern strategy" campaign appealing to disaffected southern white voters. Although the segregationist George Wallace was on the ballot, Nixon ran slightly ahead of him and gained South Carolina's electoral votes. Due to the antagonism of white South Carolina voters toward the national Democratic Party, Hubert Humphrey received less than 30% of the total vote, carrying only majority-black districts. The black population of South Carolina had decreased markedly in the early decades of the twentieth century, as tens of thousands took part in the Great Migration to northern and midwestern cities for work.

In 1966, former governor Ernest "Fritz" Hollings won South Carolina's other Senate seat in a special election. He and Thurmond served together for just over 36 years, making them the longest-serving Senate duo in American history. Thurmond and Hollings had a very good relationship, despite their often stark philosophical differences. Their long tenure meant that their seniority in the Senate gave South Carolina a good measure of clout in national politics, despite its modest population.

At the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Thurmond played a key role in keeping Southern delegates committed to Nixon, despite the sudden last-minute entry of the California governor, Ronald Reagan, into the race. Thurmond also quieted conservative fears over rumors that Nixon planned to ask either Charles Percy or Mark Hatfield—liberal Republicans—to be his running mate. He informed Nixon that both men were unacceptable to the South for the vice-presidency. Nixon ultimately asked Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew—an acceptable choice to Thurmond—to join the ticket.

At this time, Thurmond led the effort to thwart Johnson's attempt to elevate Justice Abe Fortas to the post of Chief Justice of the United States. Thurmond's conservative position left him unhappy with the decisions of the Warren Court. He was glad to disappoint Johnson and enable the presidential successor Richard Nixon to make the appointment for Warren's vacancy.

Thurmond decried the Supreme Court opinion in Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education, which ordered the immediate desegregation of schools in the American South.[18] This had followed continued Southern resistance to desegregation following the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. Thurmond praised President Nixon and his "Southern Strategy" of delaying desegregation, saying Nixon "stood with the South in this case".[18]


Thanks to his close relationship with the Nixon administration, Thurmond found himself in a position to deliver a great deal of federal money, appointments and projects to his state. With a like-minded president in the White House, Thurmond became a very effective power broker in Washington. His staffers said that he aimed to become South Carolina's "indispensable man" in Washington, D.C.

In the 1970 gubernatorial election, Thurmond's preferred candidate, conservative U.S. Representative Albert W. Watson, was defeated by the more moderate opponent, Democrat John C. West, who had opposed Thurmond's initial write-in election to the Senate and the then outgoing lieutenant governor. Watson had defected to the GOP in 1965, the year after Thurmond's own bolt and had been politically close to the senator. Thereafter, Watson's defeat caused Thurmond slowly to moderate his own image in regard to changing race relations.

On February 4, 1972, Thurmond sent a secret memo to William Timmons (in his capacity as an aide to Richard Nixon) and United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell, with an attached file from the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee urging that British musician John Lennon (living in New York City at the time) be deported from the United States as an undesirable alien, due to Lennon's political views and activism. The document claimed that Lennon's influence on young people could affect Nixon's chances of re-election, and suggested that terminating Lennon's visa might be "a strategy counter-measure". Thurmond's memo and attachment, received by the White House on February 7, 1972, initiated the Nixon administration's persecution of John Lennon that threatened the former Beatle with deportation for nearly five years from 1972 to 1976. The documents were discovered in the FBI files after a Freedom of Information Act search by Professor Jon Wiener, published in Weiner's book Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files (2000),[19] and are discussed in the documentary film The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006).

It was claimed that during this period the NSA had been eavesdropping Thurmond's conversations, using the British part of the ECHELON project.[20]

In 1976, Thurmond appeared in a campaign commercial for incumbent U.S. President Gerald Ford in his race against Thurmond's fellow Southerner, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter. In the commercial, Thurmond declared that Ford (who was born in Nebraska and spent most of life in Michigan) "sound[ed] more like a Southerner than Jimmy Carter".[21]

Post-1970 views regarding race

In 1970, blacks still constituted some 30 percent of South Carolina's population; in 1900, they constituted 58.4 percent of the state's population.[22] Many blacks had left the state during the first half of the 20th century in the Great Migration for opportunities in the North and Midwest. After the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was implemented, African Americans were protected in exercising their constitutional rights as United States citizens to register to vote in South Carolina without harassment or discrimination. State politicians could no longer ignore this voting bloc, who were allied with increasing numbers of white residents who supported civil rights.

Thurmond appointed Thomas Moss, an African American, to his staff in 1971, described as the first such appointment by a member of the South Carolinian congressional delegation (it was incorrectly reported by many sources as the first senatorial appointment of an African American, but Mississippi Senator Pat Harrison had hired clerk-librarian Jesse Nichols in 1937). In 1983, he supported legislation to make the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. a federal holiday.[6] In South Carolina, the honor was diluted; until 2000 the state offered employees the option to celebrate this holiday or substitute one of three Confederate holidays instead. Thurmond never explicitly renounced his earlier views on racial segregation.[7][8][23][24]

Later career

Thurmond, right, campaigns for Ronald Reagan in South Carolina in 1980

Thurmond became President pro tempore of the US Senate in 1981, and held the largely ceremonial post for three terms, alternating with his longtime rival Robert Byrd depending on the party composition of the Senate. During this period, he maintained a close relationship with the Reagan White House.

Thurmond served as the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court in 1991 and worked closely with Joe Biden, then the chairman. He joined the minority of Republicans who voted for the Brady Bill for gun control in 1993.

On December 5, 1996, Thurmond became the oldest serving member of the U.S. Senate, and on May 25, 1997, the longest-serving member (41 years and 10 months), casting his 15,000th vote in September 1998. In the following month, when astronaut John Glenn was to embark on the Discovery at age 77, Thurmond, who was his senior by 19 years, reportedly sent him a message saying; "I want to go too."[25]

Thurmond with Reagan in the Oval Office

Toward the end of Thurmond's Senate career, critics suggested that his mental abilities had declined. His supporters argued that, while he lacked physical stamina due to his age, mentally he remained aware and attentive, and maintained a very active work schedule, showing up for every floor vote. He stepped down as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee at the beginning of 1999, as he had pledged to do in late 1997.

Thurmond and Margaret Thatcher at a state dinner in 1981

Declining to seek re-election in 2002, he was succeeded by fellow Republican Lindsey Graham.

Thurmond left the Senate in January 2003 as the United States' longest-serving senator (a record later surpassed by Senator Byrd). In his November farewell speech in the Senate, Thurmond told his colleagues "I love all of you, especially your wives," the latter being a reference to his flirtatious nature with younger women. At his 100th birthday and retirement celebration in December, Thurmond said, "I don't know how to thank you. You're wonderful people, I appreciate you, appreciate what you've done for me, and may God allow you to live a long time."[26]

Thurmond's 100th birthday celebration generated controversy because of remarks by Mississippi Senator Trent Lott that were considered as racially insensitive: "When Strom Thurmond ran for president, [Mississippi] voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either." Lott was ousted as Senate Majority Leader.[Clarification needed]

Eric Shinseki and Thurmond in 2002

Personal life

Marriages and children

Thurmond married his first wife, Jean Crouch (July 14, 1926 – January 6, 1960)[27] in South Carolina's Governor's mansion[28] on November 7, 1947.[29] In April 1947, when Crouch was a senior at Winthrop College, Thurmond was a judge in a beauty contest in which she was selected as Miss South Carolina. In June, upon her graduation, Thurmond hired her as his personal secretary. On September 13, 1947, Thurmond proposed marriage by calling Crouch to his office to take a dictated letter. The letter was to her, and contained his proposal of marriage.[30] Crouch died of a brain tumor 13 years later; there were no children.

He married his second wife, Nancy Janice Moore (born 1946), Miss South Carolina of 1965, on December 22, 1968. He was 66 years old and she was 22. She had been working in his Senate office off and on since 1967. They separated in 1991, but never divorced. The two remained close friends until his death.[citation needed]

At age 68 (with his wife Nancy then age 25), Thurmond fathered what was believed to be his first child. His four children with Nancy are: Nancy Moore Thurmond (1971–1993), a beauty pageant contestant who was killed when a drunk driver hit her in Columbia, South Carolina; James Strom Thurmond Jr. (born 1972), who became U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina and is the current South Carolina 2nd Judicial Circuit Solicitor;[31][32] Juliana Gertrude (Thurmond) Whitmer (born 1974), who works for the American Red Cross in Washington, DC;[33] and Paul Reynolds Thurmond (born 1976), South Carolina State Senator representing District 41.

African American daughter

Six months after Thurmond's death, Essie Mae Washington-Williams publicly revealed that she was his daughter. She identified as African American, was married and had a family; she was a retired Los Angeles Unified School District elementary school teacher with a master's degree. She was born on October 12, 1925, to Carrie "Tunch" Butler (1909–1948), who had worked for Thurmond's parents and was 16 years old when Thurmond, then 22, impregnated her. Though Thurmond never publicly acknowledged Washington-Williams while he was alive, he helped pay her way through a historically black college in South Carolina and continued to give her financial support well into her adult life.[10] Washington-Williams said that she did not reveal she was Thurmond's daughter during his lifetime because it "wasn't to the advantage of either one of us".[10] She kept silent out of respect for her father[9] and denies that the two had agreed that she would not reveal her connection to Thurmond.[10]

After Washington-Williams came forward, the Thurmond family publicly acknowledged her parentage. Her name has been added to that of his other children on a monument to Thurmond installed at the statehouse grounds.[34] Many close friends, staff members, and South Carolina residents had long suspected that Washington-Williams was Thurmond's daughter,[35] as they had noted his interest in her. The young woman had been granted a degree of access to Thurmond more appropriate to a family member than to a member of the public.[36]

Washington-Williams joined the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, as she was eligible through her Thurmond ancestry. Thurmond was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a similar group for men.[37] She encouraged other African Americans to learn their ancestry and join the lineage associations, to encourage a wider sense of American history.

Washington-Williams died February 4, 2013, in Columbia, South Carolina, at age 87.[38]


Thurmond died in his sleep on June 26, 2003, at 9:45 p.m. of heart failure at a hospital in Edgefield, South Carolina. He was 100 years old. After lying in state in the rotunda of the State House in Columbia, his body was carried by a caisson to the First Baptist Church for services, where then-Senator Joe Biden delivered a eulogy, and later to the family burial plot in Willowbrook Cemetery in Edgefield, where he was interred.[39][40]

Political timeline

  • Governor of South Carolina (1947–1951)
  • States' Rights Democratic presidential candidate (1948)
  • Eight-term senator from South Carolina (December 1954 – April 1956 and November 1956 – January 2003)
    • Democrat (1954 – April 1956 and November 1956 – September 1964)
    • Republican (September 1964 – January 2003)
    • President pro tempore (1981–1987; 1995 – January 3, 2001; January 20, 2001 – June 6, 2001)
    • Set record for the longest one-man Congressional filibuster (1957)
    • Set record for oldest serving member at 94 years (1997)
    • Set the then-record for longest cumulative tenure in the Senate at 43 years (1997), increasing to 47 years, 6 months at his retirement in January 2003, surpassed by Robert Byrd in July 2006
    • Became the only senator ever to serve at the age of 100

Electoral history


  • The Strom Thurmond Foundation, Inc. provides financial aid support to deserving South Carolina residents who demonstrate financial need. The Foundation was established in 1974 by Thurmond with honoraria received from speeches, donations from friends and family, and from other acts of generosity. It serves as a permanent testimony to his memory, and to his concern for the education of able students who have demonstrated financial need.
  • A reservoir on the Georgia–South Carolina border is named after him: Lake Strom Thurmond.
  • The University of South Carolina is home to the Strom Thurmond Fitness Center, one of the largest fitness complexes on a college campus. The new complex has largely replaced the Blatt Fitness center, named for Solomon Blatt, a political rival of Thurmond.

Thurmond receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George H.W. Bush, 1993

  • Charleston Southern University has a Strom Thurmond Building, which houses the school's business offices, bookstore, and post office.
  • Thurmond Building at Winthrop University is named for him. He served on Winthrop's Board of Trustees from 1936 to 1938 and again from 1947 to 1951 when he was governor of South Carolina.
  • A statue of Strom Thurmond is located on the grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol as a memorial to his service to the state.
  • Strom Thurmond High School is located in his hometown of Edgefield, South Carolina.
  • Al Sharpton was reported on February 24, 2007, to be a descendant of slaves owned by the Thurmond family. Sharpton has not asked for a DNA test.[41][42][43]
  • The U.S. Air Force has a C-17 Globemaster named The Spirit of Strom Thurmond.
  • In 1989 he was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Ronald Reagan.
  • In 1993 he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush.[44]
  • The Strom Thurmond Institute is located on the campus of Clemson University.
  • Appears in the 2008 award-winning documentary on Lee Atwater, Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story.


  1.[dead link]
  2. "Thurmond to Bolt Democrats Today; South Carolinian Will Join G.O.P. and Aid Goldwater". September 16, 1964. p. 12. Retrieved December 27, 2010. "Both senators have opposed the Administration on such matters as civil rights..." 
  3. Benen, Steve (May 21, 2010). "The Party of Civil Rights". Washington Monthly. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  4. "Robert Byrd to Become Longest-Serving Senator in History". Fox News. June 11, 2006.,2933,199010,00.html. Retrieved December 24, 2006. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Clymer, Adam (June 27, 2003). "Strom Thurmond, Foe of Integration, Dies at 100". The New York Times. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Noah, Timothy. "The Legend of Strom's Remorse: a Washington Lie is Laid to Rest". Slate. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Stroud, Joseph (July 12, 1998). "Dixiecrat Legacy: An end, a beginning". The Charlotte Observer. p. 1Y. Retrieved September 17, 2007. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "What About Byrd?". Slate. December 18, 2002. Retrieved September 17, 2007. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Thurmond's Family 'Acknowledges' Black Woman's Claim as Daughter". Fox News. December 17, 2003.,2933,105820,00.html. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Washington-Williams, Essie Mae (February 11, 2009) (Transcript). Essie Mae On Strom Thurmond. Interview with Dan Rather. 60 Minutes. CBS. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  12. Mattingly, David (December 16, 2003). "Strom Thurmond's family confirms paternity claim". CNN. Retrieved January 12, 2010. 
  13. "The legend of Willie Earle". June 23, 2007. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  14. In 1946, recently appointed Sen. William F. Knowland of California won election for the remainder of his term on a blank ballot in which all candidates were write-ins. In 2010, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was denied renomination by her party but became the second write-in candidate to defeat ballot-listed opponents in a general election.
  15. Joseph Crespino, "The Scarred Stone: The Strom Thurmond Monument", Southern Spaces, 29 April 2010, accessed 10 July 2012
  16. Caro, Robert (2002). Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-394-52836-0
  17. Sharlet, Jeff (2008). The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. HarperCollins. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-06-055979-3. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Woodward, Bob; Scott Armstrong (September 1979). The Brethren, Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-24110-9. Page 56.
  19. Wiener, Jon (2000). Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files. University of California. ISBN 978-0-520-22246-5. 
  20. Total Surveillance, page 176
  21. Ford campaign ad
  22. Gibson, Campbell; Jung, Kay (September 2002). "Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For The United States, Regions, Divisions, and States". U.S. Bureau of the Census – Population Division.
  23. "Strom Thurmond's Evolution.". The Ledger. Lakeland, FL. November 23, 1977. p. 6A.,6847917. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  24. "Jesse R. Nichols". Retrieved April 22, 2010. 
  25. National Geographic, June 1999 edition, p.80
  26. "Thurmond marks 100th birthday". CNN. December 5, 2002. 
  27. Jack Bass; Marilyn W. Thompson (2003). Ol' Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond. Univ of South Carolina Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-1-57003-514-2. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  28. Nadine Cohodas (1994). Strom Thurmond and the politics of southern change. Mercer University Press. p. 288. ISBN 978-0-86554-446-8. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  29. Robert J. Duke Short (2006). The centennial senator: true stories of Strom Thurmond from the people who knew him best. Univ of South Carolina Press. p. 169. ISBN 978-0-9778870-0-2. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  30. "Governor wins secretary's hand". Time Inc.. 1947. pp. 44–46. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  33. See A. Juliana was the mother of Strom Thurmond's first grandchild B. See also C and D
  34. "Daughter of late Sen. Strom Thurmond to join Confederacy group", Jet, July 19, 2004, retrieved March 26, 2009
  35. Janofsky, Michael (December 16, 2003). "Thurmond Kin Acknowledge Black Daughter". The New York Times. 
  36. "Essie Mae Washington-Williams"
  37. Dewan, Shaila K.; Hart, Ariel (July 2, 2004). "Thurmond's Biracial Daughter Seeks to Join Confederacy Group". The New York Times. "Evidently she is eligible: Senator Thurmond, once a fierce segregationist, was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a similar group for men." 
  38. Santaella, Tony (February 4, 2013). "Strom Thurmond's Daughter, Essie Mae Washington Williams, Dies". WLTX-TV. Retrieved February 5, 2013. 
  41. Interview with Al Sharpton, David Shankbone, Wikinews, December 3, 2007.
  42. Fenner, Austin (February 25, 2007). "Slavery links families". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on February 27, 2007. 
  43. Santos, Fernanda (February 26, 2007). "Sharpton Learns His Forebears Were Thurmonds' Slaves".,%20Strom&pagewanted=all. Retrieved November 26, 2007. 
  44. Reed, John Shelton (June 1, 1993). "Strom Thurmond and the Politics of Southern Change". Reason. Retrieved October 31, 2009. 

Further reading

  • Crespino. Joseph. Strom Thurmond's America (Hill & Wang; 2012) 404 pages; $30). A biography focused on role as pioneer sunbelt conservative.
  • Finley, Keith M. Delaying the Dream: Southern Senators and the Fight Against Civil Rights, 1938–1965 (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2008).
  • The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932–1968 by Kari Frederickson: University of North Carolina Press (March 26, 2001). ISBN 0-8078-4910-3.
  • Ol' Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond by Jack Bass, Marilyn Walser Thompson: University of South Carolina Press (January 1, 2003). ISBN 1-57003-514-8.
  • Strom: The Complicated Personal and Political Life of Strom Thurmond by Jack Bass and Marilyn Walser Thompson: Public Affairs 2005. ISBN 1-58648-297-1.
  • Strom Thurmond & the Politics of Southern Change by Nadine Cohodas: Mercer University Press (December 1, 1994). ISBN 0-86554-446-8.
  • Pietrusza, David 1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Changed America, Union Square Press, 2011.

Primary sources

  • "The Faith We Have Not Kept", by Strom Thurmond: Viewpoint Books, 1968.
  • Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond by Essie Mae Washington-Williams, William Stadiem: Regan Books (February 1, 2005). ISBN 0-06-076095-8.

External links



Political offices
Preceded by
Ransome Judson Williams
Governor of South Carolina
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James F. Byrnes
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Ted Kennedy
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
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Joe Biden
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Warren Magnuson
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January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1987
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John Warner
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Robert Byrd
West Virginia
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January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
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Robert Byrd
West Virginia
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January 20, 2001 – June 6, 2001
United States Senate
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Charles E. Daniel
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from South Carolina
December 24, 1954 – April 4, 1956
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Thomas A. Wofford
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Thomas A. Wofford
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from South Carolina
November 7, 1956 – January 3, 2003
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Lindsey Graham
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Robert Byrd
West Virginia
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Jimmie Davis
Oldest living U.S. governor
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Luis A. Ferré
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Earliest serving US governor
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