Hello and Good Evening everyone! I hope that you had a splendid day! As you can tell by the title of my blog post, I’m about to post something about the late Strom Thurmond. Every now and then I’ll deviate a little from my writing to post about a recent documentary I had seen. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Strom Thurmond was a well-known segregationist, governor and senator who had a deep dark secret. What was his secret? He had a child with his 16 year old Black maid Carrie Butler when he 22 years old. What struck me the most about this documentary is how his daughter, Essie Mae Washington, didn’t come out and reveal that he was her father until he passed away at the age of 100 years old in 2003. She was 78 years old at the time.
You may be wondering, “Why did she wait so long?” In her own words, she didn’t want to embarrass him. Although he was a self-proclaimed segregationist, he secretly cared for Essie Mae throughout most of her life up until the day he died. He paid for her college education and would often send her money. There were times when others around him became suspicious about their relationship because of his racial and political views. At one point, someone joked that she looked a lot like him. When you see Essie Mae, it’s clear as day that she was his child because she looked just like him.
What Strom Thurmond didn’t know is that many Black people had already suspected that she was his child because of how much she looked like him and the amount of free access she had to him. Truth be told, he wasn’t the only one who did this. You’d be surprised how often things like that took place and still takes place. There were a lot of well-known public figures with the same hidden secret so this doesn’t come as much as a surprise to the overwhelming majority of Black people.
I personally can’t understand how he could live his life the way he did knowing that he had a half Black child. I find myself wondering why Essie Mae waited so long to reveal that she was his daughter. Then again, I have to realize that it was her right. I don’t have the right to question her. She doesn’t owe me or anyone an explanation and I can’t do anything but respect her decision. In February 2013, Essie Mae Washington passed away and from what I could gather from this documentary, she had no regrets as to how she lived her life.
Until next time…