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“T” is for Thurmond, James Strom (1902-2003)

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“T” is for Thurmond, James Strom (1902-2003). U.S. senator, governor. A native of Edgefield, Thurmond served in the South Carolina Senate (1932-1938) until he was elected a judge. During World War II he was a member of the 82d Airborne Division and was wounded during the D-Day landing in France. He returned home and in 1946 resigned his judgeship to run for governor. He was elected and introduced a progressive agenda championing more money for education. In 1948 he was the presidential nominee of the State’s Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrats) and campaigned on a rigidly segregationist platform. In 1954, Thurmond won a write-in election for the U.S. Senate and was subsequently re-elected eight times. In 1964, he switched parties and became a Republican. From 1994-2001, James Strom Thurmond served as president pro-tempore of the Senate.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.