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Essie Mae Washington-Williams

Originally posted February 2005

Dear Senator

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For most of her life, Essie Mae Washington-Williams never talked about her father in public. Her father didn't talk about her, either, even though they had a warm relationship for well over 50 years. Washington-Williams' father was the late South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, who had had an affair with his family's 15-year-old black maid when he was 23. Thurmond died at age 100 in 2003, and now Washington-Williams can tell the story she had concealed all those years.

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