US Senator. Well known for his segregationist views for the better first half of his life, he retired January 5, 2003 after an unprecedented 48 years (eight terms) in office. His total political career spanned seven decades in all. He was a 1923 graduate of Clemson College, and served as the local school superintendent before becoming his state's senator in 1932 and governor in 1946. Thurmond also served in the United States Army during World War II. Staunchly conservative and once pro-segregation, his political views changed in the latter part of his career. In 1964, he switched from a Democratic status to Republican when Democrats became more supportive of civil rights issues. His views changed, however, when more Southern blacks started voting, and his political agenda changed. He was the first Southern senator to appoint a black aide, supported a black Southern federal judge, and voted for a national day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bio by: M. Palmer
Jean Crouch Thurmond