Remembering Essie Mae Washington-Williams

essiemaewashington2x2webRemembering Essie Mae Washington-Williams, daughter of controversial South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond

Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the daughter of  the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, died on February. 4, 2013 at the age of 87. Washington was the topic of national headlines when she revealed  that her father was the controversial senator who was considered a segregationist.

In 1925, at 22, Thurmond and the family’s housekeeper, Cassie Butler became the parents of  Essie Mae Washington-Williams.

In 2004 and again in 2005, Essie Mae Washington-Williams sat down with Tavis Smily and shared the story of her secret parentage and details from her memoir, Dear Senator. To see the clip, CLICK HERE.

Looking for closure, Essie Mae Washington-Williams created a bit of controversy when she broke a lifetime of silence and claimed her heritage as the daughter of former U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond. A retired Los Angeles schoolteacher, she visited Thurmond’s office over the years and received financial support from him, but refused to reveal their relationship until after his death. She penned her autobiography, Dear Senator, which was released in 2005 and nominated for a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.


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