Wednesday, Apr. 29, 2009

Strom Thurmond, 1964

Running for President as a Dixiecrat in 1948, Strom Thurmond declared that "all the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches and our places of recreation." By 1964, with civil rights marching onward, it was clear that his fellow Democrats disagreed. Thurmond jumped ship, joining the Republican Party that year. The first major Southern pol to cross the aisle during the civil rights era, the South Carolina Senator marked the beginning of the GOP's appeal to white, Southern conservatives, and helped turn a former blue state red.