Friday, July 02, 2004

Strom Thurmond's Daughter joines Daughters of the Confederacy Boy, I would love to be a fly on the wall when the Daughters of the Confederacy reviews this application. Essie Mae Washington-Williams, a biracial woman who stepped forward last year to acknowledge that she was the daughter of the late Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, now wants to join the United Daughters of the Confederacy, an organization of descendants of soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War. Evidently she is eligible: Senator Thurmond, once a fierce segregationist, was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a similar group for men. Ms. Washington-Williams, a 78-year-old retired teacher who lives in Los Angeles, also plans to apply for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Black Patriots Foundation, which honors black Revolutionary War fighters. One of her two sons will apply to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, her lawyer said. The announcement, which was made this week, was in keeping with the confounding nature of a story that some said was emblematic of racist hypocrisy in the South, but which produced no apparent bitterness on the part of Ms. Washington-Williams. Her mother, Carrie Butler, was a maid in the Thurmond family home in South Carolina and was 16 when she gave birth to Ms. Washington-Williams. Mr. Thurmond saw her about once a year and gave her financial support, she has said.
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