Essie Mae Washington-Williams


Essie Mae Washington-Williams, a Los Angeles teacher and school administrator who was 87 when she died on Feb. 4, made headlines in December 2003 simply by declaring: "My father's name was James Strom Thurmond." It was shortly after the death of the South Carolina Senator, who was famous for much of his public life as a symbol of white resistance to integration. But in the 1920s, when he was 22, Thurmond secretly fathered Washington-Williams with a 16-year-old African-American maid in his family's home. Though he occasionally sent his daughter money after they met when she was in her teens, he never...

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