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Strom Thurmond (1902)close

Born in Edgeville, South Carolina, Strom Thurmond read law while teaching in South Carolina schools and was admitted to the bar in 1930. Thurmond was elected a state senator in 1933 and became a circuit-court judge. After serving in World War II, he was elected governor of South Carolina. In 1948, Thurmond was nominated for president by the States' Rights Democrats, southerners ("Dixiecrats" ) who left the Democratic party in opposition to President Truman's civil-rights program; he won 39 electoral votes. In 1954 he was a successful write-in candidate as US Senator. In 1957 he staged the longest filibuster in Senate history, speaking for over 24 hours against a civil-rights bill. Thurmond switched from the Democratic to the Republican party in 1964. In 1996 he became the oldest sitting, and in 1997 the longest serving, US senator in history. He died in 2003.

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