Books of the Times
‘Dear Senator’: A Thurmond Child Looks at Her Life and His Racism
The New York Times
January 17, 2005
By JANET MASLIN
Essie Mae Washington-Williams spent 78 years as the unacknowledged mixed-race daughter of the Senate’s most notorious white supremacist. Hush money, occasional surreptitious visits, dietary advice (eat vegetables! drink water!) and a kiss on the cheek were about all she gained from this connection.
At one point she also received a note that read: “Dear Essie Mae, Thank you for your kind remembrance on Father’s Day. Affectionately, Strom Thurmond.” But beyond that the relationship was as unfulfilling as it was long. Parent and child were both taking the same digestive aid by June 2003, when Thurmond died at 100.