Miller Center

Strom Thurmond

Speaker: Sen. Strom Thurmond
Date: May 7, 1979

Democratic Senator from South Carolina (1955-1964); Republican Senator from South Carolina (1964-2003). Nominated for president by the States' Rights Democrats ("Dixiecrats"), southerners who bolted the Democratic Party after it adopted a civil rights plank for its platform. In 1964, Thurmond switched his party affiliation in order to openly support the presidential aspirations of Barry M. Goldwater. He was one of the leading congressional opponents of civil rights and was equally opposed to most Great Society programs, although he favored unlimited use of military force in Vietnam.