Essie Mae Washington-Williams' Dear Senator is an odyssey of self-discoveries beginning with a self-proclaimed somewhat idyllic childhood in the small northeastern town of Coatesville Pennsylvania to a sidebar in New York's Harlem Hospital where she attempts to pursue a nursing career, to university life on a post-reconstruction black campus in South Carolina, to marriage, and finally California.
As a teenager Essie-Mae meets her African American mother Carrie Butler for the first time and is later introduced to her European American father, Strom Thurmond who also happens to be a major political figure, a staunch segregationist, in the south.
Set against the backdrop of 1930's through the present the relationship between Essie Mae and her famous father is interweaved with major American political events shaping the course of both of their lives.
This report prepared by Addie Line
At the age of sixteen Essie Mae Washington Williams discovered that she was the biracial daughter of the Southern segregationist politician, Strom Thurmond and Carrie Butler a black maid that worked on his family's plantation. She was born in 1925 when her mother was fifteen and her father was twenty two. She did not reveal her father's identity until after his death at one hundred years of age.
She spent her early years in the Northeast with an aunt who she thought was her mother. She thought she would study to be a nurse, but then her father arranged for her to attend a black college in South. She later married a young man she met at the college.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein