Such a heartbreaking story for this woman and her family. Strom Thurmond lived his whole life without publicly acknowledging his own flesh and blood. By all accounts, he denied his daughter for the sake of his career, caring more about being a senator than being a father. Many men could have done his job in the Senate, but he was the only one who could have been a father to Essie Mae. - Kelly
Essie Mae Washington-Williams Dies At 87
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The mixed-race daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond who kept her parentage secret for more than 70 years to avoid damaging his political career has died. Essie Mae Washington-Williams was 87.
Vann Dozier of Leevy's Funeral Home in Columbia said Washington-Williams died Monday. A cause of death wasn't given.
Washington-Williams was the daughter of the one-time segregationist and his family's black maid.
There had been rumors for decades in political circles and the black community that Thurmond had fathered a daughter by a black woman. But Washington-Williams did not come forward and identify Thurmond as her father until after his death at age 100 in 2003.
Washington-Williams spent decades as a school teacher in Los Angeles. Thurmond was South Carolina's governor and for a time was the nation's longest-serving U.S. senator.