In His Own Words:
"We have gathered here today because the American system of free constitutional government is in danger … [A]ll the laws of Washington, and all the bayonets of the Army, cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches, and our places of recreation." — from a speech delivered in Jackson, Mississippi on May 10, 1948.
"Truman has forced himself on the Democratic Party, but he cannot force himself on the people of this great country … I want to tell you that the progress of the N***a race has not been due to these so-called 'emancipators'; it's been due to the kindness of the good Southern people … But I want to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there's not enough troops in the Army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the n****r race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches." — from his speech accepting the Dixiecrat presidential nomination at the the Southern Democrats Convention in Birmingham, Alabama on July 17, 1948.
"If you people in New York want no segregation, then abolish it and do away with your Harlem. Personally, I think it would be a mistake." — from a speech delivered to the Overseas Press Club in New York City on October 6, 1948.
You Might Not Know...:
Thurmond is born.
Appointed town attorney of Edgefield.
Elected to the South Carolina State Senate.
Elected as judge of South Carolina's 11th Circuit, which required him to resign from the Senate.
Enlists in the U.S. Army, where he would go on to earn a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Croix de Guerre, and more than a dozen other awards due to his participation in World War II.
Elected governor of South Carolina.
Runs for President of the United States under the umbrella of the State's Rights Democratic Party (better known as the Dixiecrats), winning four states.
Runs successfully for the U.S. Senate representing South Carolina, where he will go on to serve for 48 years.
Sets a record for the longest filibuster in U.S. Senate history, speaking consistently for 24 hours and 18 minutes in an effort to delay passage of civil rights legislation. The record still stands to this day.
In protest against the Civil Rights Act, Thurmond leaves the Democratic Party and joins the Republican Party, where he remains for the duration of his career.
Requests that the Nixon administration deport John Lennon due to his political views, as "a strategy counter-measure" against Lennon's possible support for George McGovern in the 1972 presidential election. Nixon found Thurmond's suggestion appealing, and initiated deportation proceedings against Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono.
Strom Thurmond is praised by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) at his 100th birthday party, where Lott remarks that "we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years" if Thurmond had been elected president in 1948, an implicit endorsement of white separatist ideology. Controversy over the remarks effectively ends Lott's career as a national politician.