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South Carolina

SC Governors – James Strom Thurmond, 1947-1951

South Carolina SC History SC Governors Governor James Strom Thurmond

Also see: SC Government

Biographical Overview

  • Born: December 5, 1902 in Edgefield, South Carolina
  • Died: June 26, 2003 in Edgefield, South Carolina
  • Buried: Interment at Willowbrook Cemetery in Edgefield
  • Religion: Baptist
  • Political Party: Thurmond served as governor while a member of the Democratic Party but became a Republican in 1964
Portrait of James Strom Thurmond
James Strom Thurmond



  • Lawyer
  • Teacher
  • Lieutenant Colonel, US Army - 1942-1946

Major Events and Accomplishments, 1947–1951

  • February 16, 1947 – Willie Earle was murdered by a mob in Pickens County in the state's last lynching
  • July 12, 1947 – A Charleston judge ruled in Elmore v. Rice that blacks must be allowed to participate in Democratic primaries
  • 1948 – Construction on the eighteen-story Cornell Arms apartment building in Columbia, the state's first "skyscraper," was completed
  • November 2, 1948 – Thurmond ran for president of the United States as a States Rights candidate, receiving 39 electoral votes and carrying Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina
  • April 15, 1949 – The South Carolina Constitution was amended to legalize divorce
  • 1950 – Governor Thurmond served as Chairman of Southern Governor's Conference
  • 1950 – Governor Thurmond ran unsuccessfully against Olin D. Johnston for a seat in the US Senate
  • November 28, 1950 – The US Atomic Energy Commission announced that the Savannah River Plant would be built on a 250,000-acre site in Aiken, Barnwell, and Allendale counties

Other Government Positions

  • Edgefield County Superintendent of Education, 1929-1933
  • South Carolina Senate, 1933-1938
  • US Senate, 1954-2003

Strom Thurmond Monument
Strom Thurmond Monument in Edgefeld
© Steven Faucette (2012)

Other Accomplishments, Honors, Distinctions

  • While in the US Army during World War II Thurmond served in both Europe and the Pacific - 1942-1945
  • Thurmond has received many military honors including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Bronze Arrowhead, the Legion of Merit, and several others
  • Thurmond was the first US Senator to be elected by write-in vote - 1954
  • Thurmond is the author of The Faith We Have Not Kept
  • Thurmond received the USO's "Spirit of Hope" award - 1998
  • The Strom Thurmond Federal Building in Columbia, SC and Strom Thurmond High School in Edgefield County, SC were both named for Thurmond

Web Resources

Election Results

Democratic Primary – 1946
James Strom Thurmond 96,691 votes 33.4%
James C. McLeod 83,464 votes 28.9%
Williams 35,813 votes 12.4%
Taylor 22,447 votes 7.8%
O'Neal 16,574 votes 5.7%
Long 16,503 votes 5.7%

Democratic Runoff – 1946
James Strom Thurmond 144,420 votes 57.0%
James C. McLeod 109,169 votes 43.0%

General Election – November 5, 1946
Thurmond was elected without opposition, receiving 26,520 votes.


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