Ten Years on 10: Strom Thurmond's daughter, Essie Mae

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Our previous story in this series celebrated the life of political legend Strom Thurmond. This story also involves the Senator, but perhaps, not in the way he necessarily would have liked.

Our trip to the WIS archives for the number six story takes us back to December, 2003.

"My father's name was James Strom Thurmond."

That sentence, uttered by a then 78-year-old grandmother, wasn't very long, but it confirmed rumors that had been whispered around the state for decades.

"Once I decided that I would no longer harbor such a great secret that many others knew, I feel as though a tremendous weight has been lifted. I am Essie Mae Washington-Williams. And at last, I feel completely free."

Eventually, Thurmond's younger children accepted Washington-Williams as Strom's daughter, and her name was added to his memorial at the State House.

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