sthurmond.jpgJames Strom Thurmond, a former segregationist and South Carolina senator, died Thursday. Cause of death was not released. He was 100.
Thurmond’s political career was extensive. He served as a county school superintendent, a state senator and a circuit judge until he enlisted in the Army to fight in World War II. When he came home a war hero, Thurmond returned to politics and became the governor of South Carolina in 1946.
He lost reelection, and ran for president but came a distant third to President Harry S. Truman. Thurmond practiced law until a slot opened up in the U.S. Senate. Then he ran as a write-in candidate and won, becoming the only person in history to capture a seat in Congress by write-in vote.
He was the originator of the 1956 Southern Manifesto, which denounced the Supreme Court’s desegregation ruling. Although he grew up as a Democrat, Thurmond switched to the GOP in 1964. He served as a Republican leader until Jan. 2002.
Thurmond holds two other political records. He performed the longest solo Senate filibuster when he spoke against the 1957 civil rights bill for 24 hours and 18 minutes. He was also the longest-serving senator in history, representing South Carolina for more than 48 years.