Strom Thurmond

ByABC News via GMA logo
December 15, 2003, 5:30 PM

Dec. 16 -- After years of being the subject of rumors, Essie Mae Washington-Williams is going to confirm that the late Sen. Strom Thurmond is indeed her father, her lawyer says.

A lawyer for the 78-year-old retired schoolteacher revealed on Saturday that she would be coming forward to publicly acknowledge that Thurmond is her father. Thurmond, the nation's oldest and longest-serving senator, had at one time been in favor of segregation. He is white. Washington-Williams is half black.

Thurmond was 100 years old when he died in June.

On Monday, the family of the late senator said that it acknowledged Williams' claim.

"As J. Strom Thurmond has passed away and cannot speak for himself, the Thurmond family acknowledges Ms. Essie Mae Washington-Williams claim to her heritage. We hope this acknowledgment will bring closure for Ms. Williams," the family's lawyer, J. Mark Taylor, said in a brief statement.

Though Taylor confirmed he was speaking for the Thurmond family, he refused to give further details or answer any questions including whether the family was in fact verifying Williams' claims.