Thursday, February 03, 2005

Strom's Daughter

I had the privilege of listening to Stale Aire with Terri Gross interview Strom Thurmond's first daughter. As mentioned on this blog before, her mother was African-American so the love affair was hidden. Thurmond took a strong interest in her upbringing and supported her, though somewhat secretly, throughout his life. She waited for his passing to reveal their relationship in a book titled Dear Senator.

Her name is Essie Mae Washington-Williams and what was really interesting was her interaction with reliably liberal Terri Gross. Although Gross continually tried to draw Mrs. Williams into affirming the typical left-wing line, the elderly daughter of Senator Thurmond insisted on seeing events her own way. She was disappointed with her father's segregationist politics, but felt strongly that his heart was different. When Gross suggested Thurmond tried to steer his daughter into a segregated college, she shot back, "He wanted me to go wherever I wanted to go." She did, in fact, go up north to a nursing program, but didn't care for it and decided to go back home to the segregated South Carolina State. She also proclaimed her love for that college and spoke fondly of meeting her husband there.

Life just ain't simple, folks.


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