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Storm Thurmond's secret daughter dies


Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the mixed-race daughter of one-time segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond who kept her parentage secret for more than 70 years to avoid damaging his political career, has died. She was 87.

Vann Dozier of Leevy’s Funeral Home in Columbia, S.C., said Washington-Williams died Sunday. A cause of death was not given.

Washington-Williams was the daughter of Thurmond and his family’s black maid. The identity of her famous father was rumored for decades in political circles and the black community.

But not until after the South Carolina Republican died in 2003 at age 100 did Washington-Williams come forward and say her father was the white man who ran for president on a segregationist platform and served in the U.S. Senate for more than 47 years.

“I am Essie Mae Washington-Williams, and at last I am completely free,” Washington-Williams said at a news conference in a South Carolina ballroom revealing her secret.

She wrote in a column in the Los Angeles Times in December 2003: “I am not doing this for money. I am not suing his estate. I just want to tell the truth.”

She was born in 1925 after Thurmond, then 22, had an affair with a 16-year-old black maid who worked in his family’s Edgefield, S.C., home. She spent years as a school teacher in Los Angeles, keeping in touch with her famous father.

While Thurmond never publicly acknowledged his daughter, his family acknowledged her claim after she came forward. She later said Thurmond’s widow, Nancy, was “a very wonderful person,” and called Strom Thurmond Jr. “very caring, and interested in what’s going on with me.”

Several members of Thurmond’s family didn’t respond to messages seeking comment Monday. Washington-Williams was raised by Mary and John Washington in Coatesville, Pa. When she was 13, Mary Washington’s sister, Carrie Butler, told Essie Mae that she was her mother.

Washington-Williams met Thurmond for the first time a few years later in a law office in Thurmond’s hometown of Edgefield.

“He never called my mother by her name. He didn’t verbally acknowledge that I was his child,” Washington-Williams wrote in her autobiography, “Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond.”

“He didn’t ask when I was leaving and didn’t invite me to come back. It was like an audience with an important man, a job interview, but not a reunion with a father,” she said in the book released January 2005.

It was the first of many visits between Washington-Williams and her father.

by Anonymousreply 5502/08/2013


by Anonymousreply 102/05/2013

Have we ever heard if the relationship between Strom and the 16-year old maid was consensual or a form of rape?

by Anonymousreply 202/05/2013

She was the maid, R2.

Pretty sure that if she wanted to keep her job she couldn't say no.

by Anonymousreply 302/05/2013

[quote] She was born in 1925 after Thurmond, then 22, had an affair with a 16-year-old black maid who worked in his family’s Edgefield, S.C., home

Yeah, I'm sure it was "an affair," and not a rape.

Can you imagine a black maid accusing a white man of rape in SC in the 1920s? Yeah, that would get her killed fast.

by Anonymousreply 402/05/2013

[quote] I am Essie Mae Washington-Williams, and at last I am completely free,”

That's so sad.

by Anonymousreply 502/05/2013

I knew an old guy that would yammer on and on about politics, feminists and... Filipinos, for some reason. No one asked him about it, he would just go into his soliloquies. It was never ending.

So I wasn't surprised when he dumped his girlfriend (right after they bought a house together with her money; he insisted that she move) and married a Filipina woman.

by Anonymousreply 602/05/2013

It seems a bit "off" that it wasn't until his late 40s that he got married, to a 21-year-old former Miss SC who worked for him. No kids.

In his late 60s, he married again, to another 21-year-old former Miss SC who worked for him.

by Anonymousreply 702/05/2013

Thurmond's attitude parallels those that justify knowing that their relatives were/are KKK; it's just the way of the South.

by Anonymousreply 802/05/2013

An "affair"? Yes, I'm so sure young Strom Thurmond wooed the family maid with flowers and serenades, showered her with gifts and spoiled her rotten.

by Anonymousreply 902/05/2013

strom thurmond was a complete and utter unwiped asshole all his life and I hope he's paying for it in hell right now. In his case the idea that the good die young proved to be true.

by Anonymousreply 1002/05/2013

Well, at least this won't happen with Strom's spiritual descendant, Ms. Mitch McConnell.

Ms. McConnell does not do pussy, white, black, or whatever.

by Anonymousreply 1102/05/2013

McConnell needs to have his ugly face burned with a lit cigarette.

by Anonymousreply 1202/05/2013

Was she technically a mulatto? She was definitely not a quadroon or octoroon.

by Anonymousreply 1302/05/2013

Was thie the FOX News headliner?

by Anonymousreply 1402/05/2013

Was Thurmond already married at 22 when he had this sexual relationship with the 16-year old, or was he single?

by Anonymousreply 1502/05/2013

Sounds like he raped her mother TBH. On the Rosa Parks page I learned that Rosa had to fight the white employer because he tried to rape her. Sounds like this was NORMAL in the South at one point.

by Anonymousreply 1602/05/2013

So it turns out Strom Thurmond had sex before marriage? Guess he wasn't a family values Republican afterall.

by Anonymousreply 1702/05/2013

Why do you guys always assume that whenever a white man and a black woman had a child out of wedlock (especially in the past) it was automatically rape? I'm sure that was the case a lot of the time, but not always. If it was rape, I don't think Essie Mae would've continued a relationship with her father or his side of the family. My guess is that it was a fling but nothing serious.

by Anonymousreply 1802/05/2013

Because her mother was 16 when it happened and he was much older r18 - he was 22 and living at home. She was the maid or something.

by Anonymousreply 1902/05/2013

R18, many people continue associations with a family even if it has originated in rape - relationships are complicated, and sometimes you don't have a choice.

Gosh, look at Luke & Laura on General Hospital.

by Anonymousreply 2002/05/2013

because, r18, well

by Anonymousreply 2202/05/2013

One of the reasons my grandparents moved north was because one of the rich white men in the SC town where they grew up "had plans" for her. He "loved" colored women, but was a card-carrying member of the Klan. Rather than wait to see those plans realized, my grandparents got married and moved north to Philadelphia, right before the war.

by Anonymousreply 2302/05/2013

Looks like a young Nazi, R22

by Anonymousreply 2402/05/2013

Interesting and believable r23

by Anonymousreply 2502/05/2013

I'm wondering how much rape there was of black women back in the day. Does anyone know?

by Anonymousreply 2602/05/2013

And sad too R25. But my grands had four children, one of which was my mom, and the reason my brother and I are here.

Supposedly this white man did find a willing black woman to become his concubine...the South was and is an odd place.

by Anonymousreply 2702/05/2013

R22, he was attractive. Maybe not drop dead gorgeous, but not hideous, either.

by Anonymousreply 2802/05/2013

Here's the thing I've been thinking. Even in the Loving case, that guy was white and in his 20's (Mr. Loving) when he met his "soul mate" who was 12. I don't feel that that was honorable or good either. Although everyone went nuts about that on DL (the wonderful posts made me ill), not because of the SCOTUS case but because the white husband was so much older than her when they met and got involved!

Somewhere else on the net they're talking about Essie & Strom and many are saying that white men raped ("had their way") with black women even in the 70's & 80's in the south!

by Anonymousreply 2902/05/2013

Here's the WaPo blog post about Essie's death, read the comments about how prevalent white southern men raping black women was.

by Anonymousreply 3002/05/2013

[quote] If it was rape, I don't think Essie Mae would've continued a relationship with her father

She didn't have a relationship with him. She seems to have met him once. He never mentioned her mother and never admitted to being her father. But he did give them money for her support. Most likely hush money. That's not a relationship.

by Anonymousreply 3102/05/2013

R30, what's odd is that if white folks like that disliked black people, why would they want to have sex with them?

Seems very contradictory from a psychological point of view.

by Anonymousreply 3202/05/2013

Civil, r23?

by Anonymousreply 3402/05/2013

I can see that some poor black woman would be with that white guy for cash as his mistress, women today do the same thing, old guy, young flesh.

In the South there seems to be a hate/rape of black women. They wanted to live separately but saw them as animals that they could fuck whenever they wanted to, much like crazy bestiality perverts do today.

And I'm willing to bet Essie's mother wasn't the last BW that Strom raped/ or fucked.

by Anonymousreply 3502/05/2013

R32, May not have been physical assault but definitely coercion rather than romance or true seduction with real affection and caring. Those in lesser economic positions, dependent on a more powerful male, often feel that they really have no choice. Many females (and some males) still lose their job today if they don't "give in" to their employers' desires. Thurmond obviously didn't see the maid as an equal, and possibly grew up with the knowledge that Whites frequently had Black concubines (previously called "Darkies")that weren't always brought up with the same conservative moral standards of White women. Or they weren't allowed to stay chaste if they wanted to survive in the White man's world.

by Anonymousreply 3602/05/2013

Many male slave owners had sex with their female slaves and had a lot of slave children. You can think blacks are unequal but still have an attraction to a black woman. Don't forget, they "owned" them and even if they were unwilling,I am sure they forced themselves on anyone they wanted. That is why there were so many mixed race children on plantations. I assume it did not end with the ending of slavery. Rich white southern men have always been entitled douchebag. BTW, Thurmond's second young wife actually had 4 children with that old slob. He was in his 60s when he married her.

by Anonymousreply 3702/05/2013

Would you guys say that Thomas Jefferson raped Sally Hemings? He fathered her six children and she was his slave.

by Anonymousreply 3802/05/2013

Landover Baptist Church's Obit for Sen Thurmond

America just lost one of its greatest leaders.  Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina faithfully represented the interests of his constituents – South Carolinians and all True Christians nationwide --for almost 50 years.  He died at age 100.  Like Ronald Reagan, he had unfortunately lost much of his grasp of reality at least a decade before he retired from politics.  But just as Reagan served our great nation through eight years of dementia, so, too, Thurmond was ever-present in the closely divided Senate until his retirement just months ago.  Aides propped up both his arms as they carried him to his seat, prodded him when it was time to awake for a critical vote and told him how he should vote.  And then, Thurmond, being the dedicated leader he was, using every ounce of his limited energy, managed to blurt out the word “Nay” in response to any bill that might tend to expand civil rights or somehow increase social tolerance of the weaker races.

“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 nigger race into our theaters and swimming pools, into our homes and into our churches.”

- Strom Thurmond, 1948

During a time when many of our leaders in the G.O.P. (God’s Own Party) have succumbed to the political correctness movement, pretending to support non-whites to avoid alienating a substantial portion of the electorate, Thurmond maintained his integrity and remained dedicated to the platform that first got him elected: separation of the races—now and forever.  He maintained this view to his death, even in the face of Republican Congressmen declining to come to the aid of Trent Lott for supporting Thurmond’s segregationist Presidential campaign platform.  These Republican turncoats cowardly criticized Lott for openly expressing what all of them believe but are too politically-minded to express.

Early in his career, Thurmond served as a circuit court judge and presided over the 1941 trial of a colored tenant farmer accused of murder.  The uppity Negro had the audacity to request a Saturday off from work, prompting the plantation owner to storm into his tent, carrying a pistol and the club he regularly used to beat servants who failed to do as they were told.  The worker reached for his own gun and shot the owner, simply to avoid the deadly retribution he so obviously deserved.  Judge Thurmond ignored the Supreme Court edict that excluding blacks from a jury is unconstitutional and courageously allowed an all-white jury to decide the boy’s fate.  Given the boy’s defiance of his master’s orders, Thurmond refused to instruct the jury on the issue of self-defense.  Needless to say, when the jury then convicted the boy of murder, Thurmond sentenced him to death.  The grateful people of South Carolina responded by electing Thurmond governor.

Senator Thurmond consistently voted against any bill that might allow coloreds to think they were white.  Thurmond holds the record for the longest filibuster in Senate history, during which he refused to allow Congress to consider the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He tried so hard to block the appointment of Thurgood Marshall, the first colored on the Supreme Court, asking Marshall during the confirmation hearing 60 obscure legal questions to prove the Senator’s long-held and consistently maintained view that minorities just aren’t competent when out of the fields.

In honor of this great man and his wonderful achievements, the church will hold a special celebration next Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at Exodus Park.  The gathering will be on par with the services we previously held to honor the deaths of other great men like Richard Nixon, Joseph McCarthy and Lee Harvey Oswald.  Since this will be a celebration of Thurmond’s greatness rather a memorial service, white robes will, of course, be worn.  Given the National Weather forecast, hoods will be optional.

by Anonymousreply 3902/05/2013

So ... which hidden daughter had the more interesting life, or the more compelling story: Strom's or Loretta Young and Clark Gable's?

by Anonymousreply 4002/05/2013

The penis knows no bigotry.

by Anonymousreply 4202/05/2013

3) black pussy couldn't fight back 'cause we rigged the rules

by Anonymousreply 4302/05/2013

[quote]Many male slave owners had sex with their female slaves and had a lot of slave children.....That is why there were so many mixed race children on plantations.

many many children of mixed race. There is hardly an African-American in the US descended from pre-Civil War slaves that doesn't have white blood. Miscgenation is the little secret no one wants to discuss.

And there are many "whites" in the US today who are unbeknownst to them descended from black slaves. Many early slave owners (Jefferson among them) "rewarded" their mixed-blood offspring by freeing them. Many of these offspring moved to new territories (in what is today OH, IN, and IL) where they could pass for white and get land grants. They intermarried with whites and carried on in the white community with no one ever knowing the better. There at millions of whites in the US today descended from these early "settlers". I'm probably one of them myself.

by Anonymousreply 4402/05/2013

Who were her people, dear?

by Anonymousreply 4502/06/2013

R31 They had a relationship until his death...she first met him at the age of sixteen.

by Anonymousreply 4602/07/2013


by Anonymousreply 4702/07/2013

It's too bad she died. It was nice having a living reminder of that fucker's hypocrisy. She was a living embarrassment for his "image." Nice family man who raped the maid.

by Anonymousreply 4802/07/2013


by Anonymousreply 4902/07/2013

She wasn't an embarrassment for him R48, he often met her in public and visited her at her college. Where did the rape allegations came from?

by Anonymousreply 5002/07/2013

Which proved that the racist was a hypocrite.

Yes, I'm sure he wooed the maid with flowers. And then stuck it in her.

by Anonymousreply 5102/07/2013

r50 the rape allegations came from the fact that he had no relationship with her 16 year old mother. He was 22, he fucked the help - her mother was a maid for them. He took advantage of her mother, most likely she was NOT looking to fuck Strom!

It was an imbalance of power, and she was most likely sex harassed by him too.

by Anonymousreply 5202/07/2013

Florida never complained.

by Anonymousreply 5302/07/2013

Saying it doesn't make it a fact.

by Anonymousreply 5402/07/2013

[quote]He took advantage of her mother, most likely she was NOT looking to fuck Strom!

And you know this how? That's just mere speculation. You're just saying that because he was white and she was black. If she were a white 16-year-old maid, you wouldn't be crying "Rape!"

by Anonymousreply 5502/08/2013
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