From a column by Strom Thurmond's granddaughter, Wanda Williams-Bailey It was 10 years ago tomorrow, on Dec. 17, 2003, a Wednesday morning, when my mother stepped into the spotlight to reveal to the world an explosive secret she had kept for more than 65 years.
The room at the Adams Mark Hotel in Columbia was filled to capacity with media, dignitaries and spectators. Cameras were flashing from every angle, and bystanders were spellbound by the scene, taking in every movement in the ballroom.
Then, with grace, courage and dignity, my lovely, aging mother stepped up to the podium to make her proclamation and to claim her legacy: “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, my name is Essie Mae Washington-Williams. My mother, who is now deceased, was named Carrie Butler. My father’s name was James Strom Thurmond.”