Strom Thurmond had a black daughter? Huh?


Will wonders never cease?

Now I’ve never been one to follow politicians’ sex lives unless the news media inescapably crams them down my throat, but this story is just so wacky, I have to check it out. What’s the scoop on this? Has anyone read the biography mentioned in the article?

And how can someone who publicly holds such racist beliefs live with the internal hypocrisy?

Yeah I heard about that yesterday and thought… well wonders never cease…

With all due respect, what is the GQ here? I see four questions, but they have more of an IMHO feel to them (ending with a GD question).

Regardless of racial beliefs, there had been a lot of cream added to the coffee for a very long time. There’s no reason that couldn’t have applied to the late senator.

I haven’t read the book, but this has been an open secret for a very long time in these parts.

Well, I guess the GQs are:

How much historical proof is there, as opposed to unsubstantiated rumor, of Strom Thurmond’s a) paternity of a biracial child, and b) long-term relationship with her mother? (It may be common knowledge in your parts, but it isn’t here as far as I know, or then again, maybe I just haven’t cared enough to notice until now).

If true, I doubt Thurmond ever publicly acknowledged paternity, given his political track record. But the situation is certainly far from unique, so how have other racist white men justified fathering biracial children and/or having long-term sexual/romantic relationships with black women, while at the same time publicly condemning race mixing?

And the rest may be more appropriate for IMHO, or more probably the Pit.

Without a DNA test (which is probably not going to happen), there’s not likely to be any concrete proof. That answers the first question. It probably has to be “offically” considered rumor.

The answer to your second question, I have no idea. I’m assuming the author(s) mentioned the evidence in their book, although the daughter herself says that he was an “old friend of the family.” That implies some kind of relationship.

Yeah, well, the kind of relationship where one can stop by for a glass of iced tea and some gossip is rather different than the kind of relationship which involves the long-term and repeated exchange of bodily fluids with someone who one publicly considers to be subhuman.

The hypocrisy just blows my mind.

I would just add that racism is more complex than a simple black/white question. You can have the broad-brush racism of Jim Crow, for example (“we’re white, and better than you”), but in actual personal relationships (of whatever kind), racism is/was much more complex, and indeed, often hypocritical. Not trying to defend it, but that’s just the way things were/are.

Oh, believe me, I know; my late grandfather was the Jewish equivalent of Archie Bunker. He would actually say things like “I don’t believe blacks are inferior (actually, he would probably use the Yiddish semi-pejorative, schvartzes), I just think there are some things they can’t do as well as white people.” And yet on an individual level, he had a number of black friends and acquaintances, and was always perfectly polite to their faces (or at least as polite as he was to anybody else, family included).

But then again, my grandfather never ran for public office or was in a position to influence racially related legislation or anti-discrimination policies anywhere but in his own household. Thank God.

Well, aversion among white supremecists has always been one-way only. Meaning, if the female house slaves have lots of high-yellow children that bear a strong resemblence to the master, well and good. That’s just improving the gene pool. But for a black male to have a relationship with a white female is an abomination. One drop makes you black.

A man having sexual relations with a social inferior is simply accepted and acceptable, all the way back to the dawn of agriculture. Prostitution, mistresses, liasons with the servants, all are winked at as long as they are kept discreet. For a woman it is unacceptable. These rules don’t make sense? Well, they make as much sense as racial segregation does.



But, but, he…

Was he trying to emulate Jefferson or what?[sup]*[/sup]

Guess he wanted some shizzle for his nizzle.

[sub]*Thomas, not WJ Clinton.[/sub]

I think the facts are a little bit thin here. Essie Washington refuses to confirm or deny the story, and as best I can tell most of the “evidence” comes from the period when Essie was attending South Carolina State.

A much more plausible story to me relies upon the fact that Essie Washington’s husband, Julius Williams, was one of the first black law student graduates at South Carolina State. The law school was opened there apparently at the behest of Thurmond when he was Governor, so that he could continue to block black enrollment in the law school at the University of South Carolina. Williams married Washington while still in law school at SC State.

Thurmond would have had a vested interest in seeing to it that success was enjoyed by those first black students being given supposedly separate-but-equal treatment at the law school, and I don’t think it’s impossible that Thurmond could have simply befriended the young couple who were so important to proving Thurmond’s theories of workable segregation.

I like irony-laden hypocrisy just as much as anyone else, but until I see more information I’ll have trouble regarding this story as anything more than a rumor. If it is something more than rumor, the traditional code of silence may be lifted upon Thurmond’s demise, and more information may soon be forthcoming.

As Earl Snake-Hips Hugger mentioned, Thurmond’s black children been an open secret in South Carolina for years and years.

Yes, children. My mother, a SCSC grad, told me just two days ago Thurmond had more than one black child go to college at SCSC while she was a student at Felton Laboratory School – that’s where education majors trained to be as student teachers on SCSC’s campus. Essie Mae was just the first. (She looked at me like I was nuts for not knowing this already.)

Now my grandmother, who went to school at Claflin University next door to State, taught as a professor/mentor/coach at both colleges and has lived in Orangeburg the last 57 years – says its true that Essie Mae is Thurmond’s daughter, and she distinctly remembers a few of Thurmond’s visits to the State to visit his daughter when she was at Claflin. Both Claflin and State are historically black colleges founded after the civil war. Politicians don’t just up and VISIT them without good reason.

Now, when (if?) my grandmother confirms what my Mama told me about Thurmond’s other children, then it’s probably true. Oh, that’s probably not the smoking gun y’all are looking for – two black women repeating gossip that everybody in town’s talking about for decades – but those of you from small Southern towns knows how deadly accurate the blackvine can be. Better than the Congressional record.

Another Essie Mae story.