Essie Washington-Williams, the mixed-race daughter of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, has died
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the mixed-race daughter of one-time segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond who kept her parentage secret for more than 70 years, has died. She was 87.
Vann Dozier of Leevy's Funeral Home in Columbia said Washington-Williams died Sunday. A cause of death was not given.
Washington-Williams was the daughter of Thurmond and his family's black maid. The identity of her famous father was rumored for decades in political circles and the black community. She later said she kept his secret because, "He trusted me, and I respected him."
Not until after Thurmond's death in 2003 at age 100 did Washington-Williams come forward and say her father was the white man who ran for president on a segregationist platform and served in the U.S. Senate for more than 47 years.
2. Photo... (((((((Essie Mae Washington-Williams)))))))
FILE - This Jan. 31, 2005 file photo shows Essie Mae Washington-Williams during a book signing in Washington. Washington-Williams, the daughter of one-time segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond who kept her parentage secret for more than 70 years to avoid damaging his political career, died Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. She was 87. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, file)