142 Facts About Strom Thurmond


Strom Thurmond ran for president in 1948 as the Dixiecrat candidate, receiving over a million votes and winning four states.


Strom Thurmond switched parties ahead of the 1964 United States presidential election, saying that the Democratic Party no longer represented people like him, and endorsed Republican nominee Barry Goldwater, who opposed the Civil Rights Act.


Strom Thurmond served three times as President pro tempore of the United States Senate, and chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1981 to 1987 and the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1995 to 1999.


Strom Thurmond retired in 2003 as the only member of either chamber of Congress to reach the age of 100 while still in office and the oldest-serving senator.


At 14 years, Strom Thurmond was the longest-serving Dean of the United States Senate in political history.


James Strom Thurmond was born on December 5,1902, in Edgefield, South Carolina.


Strom Thurmond was the second oldest of six children born to John William Thurmond and Eleanor Gertrude.


Strom Thurmond's father was a lawyer who served as a county supervisor and representative to South Carolina General Assembly.


Strom Thurmond was a deeply religious woman, known for delivering prayers.


Strom Thurmond learned to ride ponies, horses, and bulls from an early age.


When Strom Thurmond was four, his family moved into a larger home, where they owned about six acres of land.


Strom Thurmond's home was frequently visited by politicians and lawyers.


Strom Thurmond remembered the handshake with Tillman as his first political skill.


Strom Thurmond attended Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina, where he studied horticulture.


Strom Thurmond graduated from Clemson in 1923 with a Bachelor of Science degree.


In 1925, Strom Thurmond had an affair with Carrie Butler, his family's teenage African-American housekeeper.


In 2003, the Strom Thurmond family confirmed that Strom Thurmond fathered a mixed-race daughter named Essie Mae Washington with Butler.


In 1930, Strom Thurmond was admitted to the South Carolina bar.


Strom Thurmond was appointed as the Edgefield Town and County attorney, serving from 1930 to 1938.


Strom Thurmond favored Roosevelt's argument that the federal government could be used to assist citizens in the daily plights brought on by the Great Depression.


Strom Thurmond raised money for Roosevelt and following his victory, traveled to Washington to attend Roosevelt's inauguration.


In 1933, Strom Thurmond was elected to the South Carolina Senate, serving there until 1938, when he was elected to be a state circuit judge.


In 1942, at 39, after the US formally entered World War II, Judge Strom Thurmond resigned from the bench to serve in the US Army, rising to lieutenant colonel.


Strom Thurmond retired from the US Army Reserve with the rank of major general.


In, 1949, Strom Thurmond oversaw the opening of Camp Croft State Park, and in November he was unanimously elected Chairman of the Southern Governors Conference.


Strom Thurmond's supporters took control of the Democratic Party in the Deep South.


Strom Thurmond called civil rights initiatives dangerous to the American constitution and making the country susceptible to communism in the event of their enactment, challenging Truman to a debate on the issue.


Strom Thurmond carried four states and received 39 electoral votes, but was unable to stop Truman's re-election.


In 1952, Strom Thurmond endorsed Republican Dwight Eisenhower for the presidency, rather than the Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson, but Stevenson still narrowly carried South Carolina in the general election.


Strom Thurmond organised a write-in campaign for the vacant Senate seat.


Strom Thurmond pledged that if he won, he would resign in 1956 to force a primary election and won the 1954 election easily.


Strom Thurmond's victory made him the first person to be elected to the US Senate as a write-in candidate.


In January 1955, Strom Thurmond expressed his view that federal encroachment on states' rights was among the biggest threats to American life and violated the Constitution.


Strom Thurmond was part of the group of Southern senators who shared a commonality of being dispirited with Brown v Board of Education.


Strom Thurmond won the primary as well as the general election unopposed.


In January 1959, the Senate held a debate over changing the rules to curb filibusters, Strom Thurmond expressed the view that the Senate return to the rule prior to 1917, when there were no regulations on the time for debate.


In February 1960, Strom Thurmond requested a quorum call that would produce at least half the membership of the Senate, the call being seen as one of the delay tactics employed by Southerners during the meeting.


Strom Thurmond predicted the 87th Congress would begin with a move to remove him from the Senate Democratic Caucus.


In May 1962, Thurmond was part of a group of Senate orators headed by John C Stennis who expressed opposition to the Kennedy administration's literacy test bill, arguing that the measure was in violation of states' rights as defined by the Constitution.


In September 1962, Strom Thurmond called for an invasion of Cuba.


In February 1963, Strom Thurmond stated that "the brush curtain around Cuba is a formidable Soviet strategic military base" and estimated between 30,000 and 40,000 Cuban troops were under the leadership of a Soviet general.


Strom Thurmond expressed the view that a conspiracy would be found by investigators to have been responsible for JFK's death.


Strom Thurmond began campaigning to secure passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which angered white segregationists.


Subsequently, Strom Thurmond reminded Collins of his past support for segregation and implied that he was a traitor to the South, Strom Thurmond having particular disdain for an address by Collins the previous winter in which he charged Southern leaders with being harsh and intemperate.


Strom Thurmond suggested that Collins had sought to fault southern leaders for President Kennedy's assassination.


Strom Thurmond was the only senator to vote against Collins' nomination being sent to the Senate, and later one of eight senators to vote against his nomination in the chamber.


On September 16,1964, Strom Thurmond confirmed he was leaving the Democratic Party to work on the presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater, charging the Democrats with having "abandoned the people" and having repudiated the US Constitution.


Strom Thurmond explained his opposition to the Voting Rights Act as being opposed to its authorization of the federal government to determine the processes behind how statewide elections are conducted and insisted he was not against black voter turnout.


Strom Thurmond won election with 62.2 percent of the vote to Morrah's 37.8 percent.


At the start of the 89th United States Congress, Strom Thurmond was appointed to the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Constitutional Rights.


In June 1967, Johnson nominated Thurgood Marshall to be the first African-American Justice on the Supreme Court, Strom Thurmond joining Sam Ervin, Spessard Holland, and James Eastland in calling Marshall a "Constitutional iconoclast" in Senate debate.


Strom Thurmond questioned Marshall for an hour "on fine points of constitutional law and history", and accused Marshall of having evaded questions on his legal principles during committee hearings.


Later that year, Strom Thurmond attributed the 1967 USS Forrestal fire to being precipitated by communists, and warned against enacting any of the three proposed Panama Canal treaties on the grounds that they would lead to Communist control of the waterway if enacted.


Strom Thurmond stated that Fortas had backed overturning 23 of the 26 lower court obscenity decisions.


Strom Thurmond arranged for the screening of explicit films that Fortas had purportedly legalized to be played before reporters and his own Senate colleagues.


Strom Thurmond predicted that Nixon would carry Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Texas and Tennessee.


Strom Thurmond praised President Nixon and his "Southern Strategy" of delaying desegregation, saying Nixon "stood with the South in this case".


Strom Thurmond wrote to Haynsworth that he had worked harder on his nomination than any other that had occurred since his Senate career began.


In 1969, Time ran a story accusing Strom Thurmond of receiving "an extraordinarily high payment for land".


Strom Thurmond responded to the claim by calling the tale a liberal smear intended to damage his political influence, later calling the magazine "anti-South".


Strom Thurmond appointed Thomas Moss, an African American, to his Senate staff in 1971.


In 1983, Strom Thurmond supported legislation to make the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.


Strom Thurmond defended the Vietnam policy of the Nixon administration, saying that the president was making the best of the situation that he had inherited from Kennedy and Johnson while admitting he personally favored a total victory in the war.


On February 4,1972, Thurmond sent a secret memo to William Timmons and United States Attorney General John N Mitchell, with an attached file from the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, urging that British musician John Lennon be deported from the United States as an undesirable alien, due to Lennon's political views and activism.


In July 1973, Thurmond was one of ten Republican senators in a group headed by Carl T Curtis invited to the White House to reaffirm their support for President Nixon in light of recent scandals and criticism of the president within his own party.


Strom Thurmond replied that Bayh was "below a snake" in the event that he had intended to impugn his motives.


Thurmond was noted for joining Edward J Gurney in questioning Cox "at length in an attempt to show that he was biased against" Nixon and his administration, as Thurmond asked Cox if eleven members of his staff had worked for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.


Strom Thurmond opined that Nixon was "the only President we have" and questioned why Congress would want to weaken his hand in negotiating with other countries.


In December 1979, Strom Thurmond was one of ten senators on the Senate Armed Services Committee to sign a report urging President Carter to delay the vote on a proposed treaty between the US and Soviet Union to limit nuclear arms.


Strom Thurmond responded to the charges by stating that he thought the state had made advancements in its education system.


Strom Thurmond won a fifth term with 351,733 votes to Ravenel's 281,119.


In March 1979, after the Carter administration made an appeal to Congress for new powers to aid with the enforcement of federal laws as it pertains to housing discrimination, Strom Thurmond refused to back the administration as he charged it with "injecting itself in every facet of people's lives" and said housing disputes should be settled in court.


Later that month, Thurmond asked Attorney General nominee Benjamin R Civiletti if President Carter had made him give a pledge of loyalty or an assurance of complete independence.


Strom Thurmond was one of the five Republicans to vote against Mikva.


Strom Thurmond submitted a series of written questions to Cabranes, whose answers were credited with clarifying his views on issues.


Strom Thurmond demonstrated several instances of bipartisanship with Democrats and President Carter.


In May 1977, Strom Thurmond made a joint appearance with President Carter in the Rose Garden in a show of unified support for proposed foreign intelligence surveillance legislation.


Strom Thurmond stated he had become convinced the legislation was needed from his service on the Armed Services Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee the previous year and lauded the bill for concurrently protecting the rights of Americans, as a warrant would have to be obtained from a judge in order to fulfill any inquiries.


In July 1979, after the Carter administration unveiled a proposed governing charter for the FBI, Strom Thurmond stated his support for its enactment, his backing being seen by The New York Times as an indication that the governing charter would face little conservative opposition.


The nomination was one of the few votes in which Strom Thurmond and Ted Kennedy joined forces in confirming.


In December 1979, Strom Thurmond endorsed the presidential campaign of former Governor of Texas John Connally.


The Washington Post noted Strom Thurmond seeming "to cast himself for a role of regional leadership in the Connally campaign similar to the one he played in 1968" for the Nixon campaign.


Strom Thurmond questioned Carter over his prior refusal to disclose the amount of funds he had received from public appearances after the 1976 Presidential election, and stated his skepticism with some of the points made.


In December 1980, Thurmond met with President-elect Reagan and recommended former South Carolina governor James B Edwards for United States Secretary of Energy in the incoming administration.


In January 1981, after the Justice Department revealed it was carrying out a suit against Charleston County for school officials declining to propose a desegregation method for its public schools, Strom Thurmond theorized the Justice Department's decision may have been due to South Carolina not supporting President Carter in the general election, and stated his intent to have the incoming Reagan administration to look into the facts of the case before proceeding.


Strom Thurmond became President pro tempore of the US Senate in 1981, and was part of the US delegation to the funeral of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Strom Thurmond being accompanied by Sadat's pen pal Sam Brown.


Strom Thurmond publicly stated his belief that any measures introduced would be defeated in his committee.


Strom Thurmond indicated his backing would only be in favor of passing measures to restrict criminals accessing guns and his announcement was seen as possibly indicating a change in the debate of regulations relating to firearms in the US Thurmond announced plans to hold hearings on the seven-point proposal intended to address the questions surrounding the Reagan assassination attempt.


Strom Thurmond granted Alabama Senator Jeremiah Denton an hour of questioning of O'Connor, twice the time allotted for other members of the chamber.


Strom Thurmond stated that O'Connor was "one of the choice nominees" for the Supreme Court that he had seen in all of his Senate career, and she was confirmed by the Senate.


Also in 1981, Strom Thurmond was one of the leaders in opposition to extending the Voting Rights Act, and said parts of the law were discriminatory toward states' rights as well as too strict toward communities that had adhered to it in the past.


Strom Thurmond was a supporter of the foreign policy of the Reagan administration.


In October 1983, Strom Thurmond announced his support for the United States invasion of Grenada, saying American efforts with other countries were "providing an opportunity for Grenadan citizens to regain control over their lives" and the US would be forced to watch centuries of progress crumble if the country was unwilling to make sacrifices.


Strom Thurmond voted against the Senate resolution declaring that American troops in Grenada would be "withdrawn no more than 60 days later unless Congress authorized their continued presence there".


Strom Thurmond said the "ruling junta in Grenada" was directly threatening American lives.


Cunningham charged Strom Thurmond with being a follower who no one could validate the seriousness of as a candidate since he had not been challenged in eighteen years, furthering that the South Carolina Republican Party had been involved with the decline in his opposition.


Cunningham said that Strom Thurmond had a "bad track record" and noted his past comments on race, saying that he would not be crushed like Strom Thurmond's past opponents and was getting much encouragement in his bid to unseat him.


Strom Thurmond addressed the issue of age during the primary, the 81-year-old senator stating that he exercised each day for an hour and a half and that he was in the same shape as a person in their 30s or 40s.


Strom Thurmond then defeated Melvin Purvis III in the general election, the latter receiving half of the votes cast for Strom Thurmond.


Purvis, noted to have few differences in ideology with Strom Thurmond, cited the latter's age as reason to retire him from the Senate.


In 1986, Daniel Anthony Manion, President Reagan's choice for the US Court of Appeals in Chicago, answered a question by Strom Thurmond, who cited Manion as "entitled to have a vote by the Senate", and predicted there were enough votes to confirm him.


In June 1985, Strom Thurmond introduced legislation providing stiffer federal penalties for individuals and financial institutions engaged in laundering money earned from activities of illegality.


In September 1985, Strom Thurmond was one of eight members of a delegation that met with General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev.


Strom Thurmond dropped the death penalty amendment when Democrats agreed to proceed with the confirmation of Republican judges.


In November 1987, Strom Thurmond introduced legislation that if enacted would require "alcoholic beverages to carry health warning labels similar to those on cigarettes", saying the legislation would be effective if it prevented anyone from drinking while being in a compromising position of health.


On February 23,1988, Strom Thurmond endorsed fellow senator Bob Dole in the Republican presidential primary, acknowledging his previous intent to remain neutral during the nominating process.


The Strom Thurmond endorsement served to change the Dole campaign's initial plans of skipping the South Carolina primary, where Vice President Bush defeated Dole.


Failure to implement the Strom Thurmond amendment was seen as "a preliminary test of Senate support for extending President Bush's ban on foreign-made assault weapons to domestic makes" and a loss for the National Rifle Association which had previously protested banning domestic assault rifles.


In early 1990, Strom Thurmond sponsored a crime bill concurrent with another measure of the same intent, his version receiving the support of President Bush.


Strom Thurmond charged the Democratic proposal with aiding criminals and furthering the loss of rights on the part of victims.


Strom Thurmond voted for Thomas's confirmation, and the latter was confirmed by the Senate in October 1991.


Strom Thurmond became the head of the Armed Services Committee following the 1994 Republican Revolution, in which the Republican Party gained eight seats in the Senate and gained a majority in both chambers.


In late 1995, Strom Thurmond joined a bipartisan coalition of politicians in supporting a petition intending "to loosen the rules governing the prescription drug methlyphenidate".


On December 5,1996, Strom Thurmond became the oldest serving member of the US Senate, and on May 25,1997, the longest-serving member, casting his 15,000th vote in September 1998.


In February 1999, Strom Thurmond introduced legislation barring health messages on wine bottles, the measure intended to reverse what he called "erroneous and irresponsible" action of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.


Strom Thurmond was noted as one of five Senate members to have been a World War II veteran and back the measure and called Kimmel and Short "the last victims" of Pearl Harbor.


Strom Thurmond initially opposed the measure and changed his vote at the last minute.


Strom Thurmond left the Senate in January 2003 as the United States' longest-serving senator, a record later surpassed by Senator Robert Byrd.


Strom Thurmond was succeeded by then-Representative and fellow Republican Lindsey Graham.


Strom Thurmond's supporters argued that, while he lacked physical stamina due to his age, mentally he remained aware and attentive, and maintained a very active work schedule, showing up for every floor vote.


Strom Thurmond stepped down as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee at the beginning of 1999, as he had pledged to do in late 1997.


In October 2000, Strom Thurmond collapsed while lunching with a staff member and an acquaintance at a restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia and was admitted to Walter Reed; his spokeswoman Genevieve Erny stated that the collapse was found to have been unrelated to previous illnesses.


Strom Thurmond was accompanied in the ambulance by fellow Republican and retired heart transplant surgeon Bill Frist.


Strom Thurmond was born on October 12,1925, to Carrie "Tunch" Butler, who had worked for Thurmond's parents and was 15 or 16 years old when she gave birth.


Essie Mae Washington was raised by her maternal aunt and uncle, and was not told that Strom Thurmond was her father until she was in high school, when she met him for the first time.


Strom Thurmond later married, took on the last name Washington-Williams, had a family, and retired as a Los Angeles Unified School District elementary school teacher with a master's degree.


Strom Thurmond kept silent out of respect for her father and denied the two had agreed she would not reveal her connection to him.


Strom Thurmond's name has been added to those of his other children on a monument to Thurmond installed at the statehouse grounds.


Strom Thurmond was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a similar group for men.


Strom Thurmond was 44 when he married his first wife, Jean Crouch, in the South Carolina Governor's mansion on November 7,1947.


On September 13,1947, Strom Thurmond proposed marriage by calling Crouch to his office to take a dictated letter.


Strom Thurmond married his second wife, Nancy Janice Moore, on December 22,1968.


At age 68 in 1971, Strom Thurmond fathered the first of four children with Nancy, who was then 25.


Strom Thurmond's children remained in South Carolina with relatives, and Nancy commuted back and forth.


The alleged incident prompted a statement from Strom Thurmond's office, saying that he had not engaged in any inappropriate behavior, and that he was showing gentlemanly courtesy by assisting Murray into the elevator.


Female Senate staffers from the late 1980s and early 1990s recalled that Strom Thurmond was on an informal list of male senators who were known for harassing women regularly, such as while alone in elevators.


Political reporter Cokie Roberts said in 2017 that Strom Thurmond kissed her on the mouth, while she was live on the air at a political convention.


Strom Thurmond played the key and strategic role in pioneering and paving the way for that change.


The Oklahoman wrote that he would anger Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson because he could not be controlled and the key to Strom Thurmond's longevity was his prioritizing of his constituents' concerns being addressed.


In 1980, Bill Peterson remarked that the 77-year-old Strom Thurmond "still has that rare peculiar magic few policians ever achieve" with young autograph seekers and admirers.


Peterson stressed that Strom Thurmond's popularity was "being put to a severe test" in his efforts to help John Connolly win the South Carolina primary.


In 2011, Public Policy Polling found Strom Thurmond to be the most popular politician in South Carolina, with higher favorability ratings than current lawmakers Lindsey Graham, Nikki Haley, Jim Demint, and Mark Sanford.