African American News and Genealogy

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Pair sign new Thurmond book

'Strom' examines life after revelationsBy Michael KerrThe Associated Press EDGEFIELD - Whenever Strom Thurmond attended a service at Edgefield's First Baptist Church, the choir would belt out a rousing rendition of "The King is Coming." The reason was simple. It's what Thurmond requested. "That's what we'd sing for him," choir member Mary Lou Brawner said with a laugh Sunday afternoon in Edgefield's Tompkins Library. Thurmond's song request was just one of many colorful stories told as authors Jack Bass and Marilyn W. Thompson came to the former senator's hometown to sign copies of their new biography, "Strom: The Complicated Personal and Political Life of Strom Thurmond." The event, sponsored the Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society, was the first signing for the new book. It officially goes on sale Tuesday. "Strom" is Bass and Thompson's second joint work on the life and career of the late S.C. senator and governor. They wrote "Ol' Strom" together in 1998. But this is their first attempt at tackling the life of the legendary politician since Essie Mae Washington Williams confirmed she was the illegitimate daughter of Thurmond and a 16-year-old black maid who worked for his family. "It's a part of history," Brawner said. "Any books on Strom, whether they be real or not, I want to read them." Al Broni, who brought with him a 1966 edition of "Rebel Senator: Strom Thurmond of South Carolina" signed by Thurmond, said he followed Thurmond's career since the 1950s and that his son worked as an intern for the former senator in Washington. "He's amazing," Broni said. "What he has done for the state of South Carolina will never be matched." And news that Thurmond had fathered Williams and kept it a secret for decades didn't change his mind, Broni said. "It didn't change my attitude or opinion or anything," Broni said. "I look at Strom as what he did for South Carolina and the country." Williams' daughter, Wanda Terry, made a short visit to pick up a few signed copies of her grandfather's new biography. She said she reads everything about her mother and Thurmond to make sure it's factual and to see if there's any new information to gain. "It's very important, if you will, to correct history," she said. Full Story:


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