Essie Mae Washington-Williams

Essie Mae Washington-Williams (October 12, 1925 – February 4, 2013) was an American teacher, author, and writer. She is best known as the eldest child of Strom Thurmond, Governor of South Carolina and longtime United States Senator, known for his pro–racial segregation policies. Of mixed race, she was born to Carrie Butler, a 16-year-old African-American girl who worked as a household servant for Thurmond's parents, and Thurmond, then 22 and unmarried. Washington-Williams grew up in the family of one of her mother's sisters, not learning of her biological parents until 1938 when her mother came for a visit and informed Essie Mae she was her mother. She graduated from college, earned a master's degree, married, raised a family, and had a 30-year professional career in education.

Washington-Williams did not reveal her biological father's identity until she was 78 years old, after Thurmond's death at the age of 100 in 2003. Though he had little to do with her upbringing, he had paid for her college education and took an interest in her and her family all his life. In 2005, she published her autobiography, which was nominated for the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. Provided by Wikipedia
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