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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Strom Thurmond, July 20, 1978. Interview A-0334. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Parents modeled values that led to educational and financial success

Thurmond's parents set the example that motivated him to success and self-sufficiency. They encouraged him to work and save his earnings during his childhood.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Strom Thurmond, July 20, 1978. Interview A-0334. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JAMES G. BANKS:
I want to ask you a question about your self concept, self image. Do you see yourself as a self made man.
STROM THURMOND:
Well, no necessarily. Because I had a good father and a good mother.
JAMES G. BANKS:
A good start.
STROM THURMOND:
Yeah, a very good start.
JAMES G. BANKS:
Of course you're from Edgefield remember. That counts for something, doesn't it.
STROM THURMOND:
Well, I think I would have done it without them, frankly. But they were encouragement. I'm confident that I would've gone and got a college education if both of them had been killed in a wreck. Because I had it instilled in me by them that if you're going to do anything worthwhile you've got to have an education.
JAMES G. BANKS:
You had saved some money too, right;for it?
STROM THURMOND:
By the time I'd finished the sixth grade, from the cows I had raised and the pigs I had raised and the trading;I was quite a trader;horses and everything. I had saved six hundred dollars.
JAMES G. BANKS:
When you were in the sixth grade?
STROM THURMOND:
No, by the time I finished the tenth grade I had saved six hundred dollars.
JAMES G. BANKS:
Of your own money?
STROM THURMOND:
That's right. Six hundred dollars then, would be worth about six thousand dollars today. But when I went to college my father paid my actual expenses. The money I had saved;I had a little savings if I wanted to do things for myself.
JAMES G. BANKS:
Does the word ambitious bother you? They say, he's ambitious, does that word bother you?
STROM THURMOND:
No, I admire anybody who's ambitious, wants to get ahead.
JAMES G. BANKS:
Drive?
STROM THURMOND:
You don't get anywhere unless you're ambitious and willing to work I don't think.
JAMES G. BANKS:
Would you describe yourself as confident? Self assured?
STROM THURMOND:
Well, I'm pretty confident. I've always felt if anybody else could do it, I could do it.