The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Strom and The Single Maid - so far as we know...

Some sense at last from the blogosphere from Dean Esmay. The tone of the piece may be gauged from the suggestion that
most residents of Strom Thurmond's native South Carolina would probably shrug at this news and say, "these things happen," and not think much more about it.

Which is, as it happens, more or less what I said (December 16).

He agrees with the line taken in the Calvin Hernton book I mentioned, that, frankly, such liaisons were pretty common down South - a very salutary reminder not to take for granted the evidence of one's own eyes.

He also quotes a round-up of views from Palmetto State denizens at Backcountry Conservative, which pretty much supports his view of the matter.

Meanwhile amongst the wanabee SNCC-ers, a nauseating globule of anachro-bollocks from Andrew Sullivan, with a heavy dose of psychobabble thrown in for good measure:
Fascinating also that Thurmond fought so long to maintain miscegenation laws he himself violated so early in his life. He was fighting against himself, against his own daughter, against his own country. And he was never publicly called to account. Better late then never.

My guess is that Strom in mid-miscegenate had a far better grasp of the condition of the Southern Negro under Jim Crow than Sullivan with all of his 78 years of hindsight.


Besides, what would have been the situation if you took colour right out of it: suppose the son of a wealthy Northern household in 1925 had had an affair with a white maid and got her pregnant. What. to pick a name out of the air, about an eighteen year old James Roosevelt? Would he have made an honest woman of her, and acknowledged the child (if it survived) as his own? Do we think the formidable Sara Delano Roosevelt would have clasped the maid to her bosom as a granddaughter-in-law?

More likely, she'd be sent off to see the OB-GYN on the QT!

Race, as ever, tends to cause the red mist to descend and common sense and all considerations of historical accuracy to disappear.

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