Strom Thurmond’s Daughter, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, dies
Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the long-unrecognized daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, died Monday at 87.
Washington-Williams, the bi-racial daughter of onetime segregationist Thurmond and an African-American maid in his parent’s Edgefield home, was living in Irmo at the time of her death, according to a notice from Leevy’s Funeral Home.
It was not until 2003, after the death of the U.S. senator of 48 years, that Washington-Williams revealed that Thurmond was her father. At the time, the Thurmond family said the senator never had mentioned his first-born child, but they swiftly acknowledged her claim.
At [a] Columbia press conference, Washington-Williams said her mother Carrie Butler was a maid working for the Thurmond family. She said she met her father for the first time at 16.