Ol’ Strom and Me

Ol’ Strom and Me
By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, AlterNet
December 15, 2003

The skeleton that rattled in the late South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond’s closet with the revelation that he may have fathered a black child also rattled for me. If Essie Mae Washington-Williams is indeed his daughter, and she claims to have documents and has offered to take DNA tests to prove it, then my two granddaughters who are her great granddaughters are Strom Thurmond’s great-great granddaughters.

That raises troubling concerns for me. The girls are 8 and 2 years old, and I don’t want them exposed to the public rancor and bitterness that has raged between the black and white descendants of Thomas Jefferson. But they need to know the truth about their heritage. It’s well known or strongly suspected that a slew of prominent, wealthy and politically connected Southern slave masters – and that almost certainly included Jefferson – kept black mistresses, fathered black children, and even supported them.

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