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Oral History Interview with Strom Thurmond, July 20, 1978. Interview A-0334. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Strom Thurmond had a long career as an attorney, judge, and governor in South Carolina before serving in the United States Senate. Here he addresses his childhood and the predecessors who inspired his lifelong work. Starting with his parents' farm, Thurmond explains how he learned to save and invest by working on local fields. His parents, he says, modeled ambition and diligence. Local leaders such as Benjamin Tillman introduced him to the world of politics and the rhetoric of race relations. Through the example of others, he developed his own appreciation for constitutional literalism and states' rights. Thurmond discusses how he argued for these issues in his book and during his terms in office. He also gives his opinion on the desegregation process he witnessed in South Carolina and envisions how he would have reacted to major issues such as slavery.
    Excerpts
  • The Thurmond children worked to support the family farm
  • Thurmond remembers how a gubernatorial candidate won by appealing to his listeners' emotions
  • Decision at an early age to be a public speaker and lawyer
  • Learning the law in his father's firm under his guidance
  • Postponing marriage for his family and for his political career
  • Thurmond's accomplishments as state superintendent of education
  • Parents modeled values that led to educational and financial success
  • Thurmond's belief in limiting federal authority
  • Southerners' commitment to certain values and constitutional ideals
  • Thurmond contrasts Tillman's rhetorical style with his response to laws governing race relations
  • Many benefits of integration for South Carolina
  • Southerners are more patriotic and desirous of a limited federal government
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • South Carolina--Politics and government
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.