The political sins of the late South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond are notorious: he was behind the Dixiecrat Party of the late 1940s, the Southern Manifesto of 1956, the daylong filibuster in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and the flight of white Southerners into the clutches of the Republican Party in 1968 that gave Nixon the White House. His personal sins are equally infamous, most especially his refusal to acknowledge his illegitimate African American daughter. Even before his death in 2003, historians had cast him as a curiosity of a bygone era. Joseph Crespino’s Strom Thurmond’s America is a stunning correction.
Crespino shows not only that Thurmond’s political sins and racial hypocrisies were not his alone but also, more insightfully, that the rise of the Republican right is inconceivable without Thurmond, who led a national charge against labor, the left-wing movements of the sixties, and the antiwar movement, viewing each as a bastion of Communism and anti-Americanism. A Democrat until he switched parties in 1964, he spurred the realignment of Southern and national politics, making the South the base of mainstream Republicanism.
In this authoritative biography, Crespino reveals how a man for whom politics was the only thing that mattered helped foster modern conservatism and altered the course of the nation.
*CRESPINO WILL BE A GUEST ON THACKER MOUNTAIN RADIO.
*CAROLINE HERRING, ONE OF FOUNDING BAND MEMBERS OF THACKER, WILL BE THE MUSICAL GUEST.