Essie Mae Washington-Williams Photo

Essie Mae Washington-Williams

Born: Oct 12, 1925

Death: Feb 4, 2013

Birthplace: Edgefield

Nationality: United States

Essie Mae Washington-Williams

Date of Birth : Oct 12, 1925
Date of Death : Feb 4, 2013
Birth Place : Edgefield

Essie Mae Washington-Williams was an American teacher, author, and writer. She is best known as the natural and oldest 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 black 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 and had 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 in 2003. 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.


  • Strom Thurmond


  • Julius Williams
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