Strom Thurmond High School

While researching some trivia about Strom Thurmond, I stumbled across the web site for Strom Thurmond High School! The mind reels! They named a high school for this guy? This is the guy who bailed from the Democratic party in 1948 because of its support for desegregation. (In fact, he joined the Dixiecrats, a new political party whose sole reason for being was to preserve segregation.) This is the guy who, in 1948, said:

I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there’s not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the negro race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.

This is the guy who, in 1956, signed the Southern Manifesto, which declared its signatories’ opposition to racial integration in public places.

This is the guy who (quoting Wikipedia):

…supported racial segregation with the longest filibuster ever conducted by a single Senator on the Senate floor, speaking for 24 hours and 18 minutes in an unsuccessful attempt to derail the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

Thurmond finally broke with the Democratic party completely in 1964, because of its increasing support for civil rights. This time, he joined the Republicans, a party more in line with his own racist beliefs.

The High School

Strom Thurmond High School in 1962

STHS in 1962

Strom Thurmond High School is in Johnston, South Carolina. This is the only high school in Edgefield County, which is where Thurmond himself was born. It’s also where he died 100 years later (and almost all of those 100 years were spent in the U.S. Senate!).

The school mascot is the “Fighting Rebels”. Well, that sure is inclusive! I’m sure all of the black students feel great cheering Johnny Reb.

Here are some fun facts about the school, taken off its web site:

Strom Thurmond first opened its doors in 1961. The very first graduating class was the class of 1962. Many things existed in ‘61 that don’t exist now.

Yes, like “colored” drinking fountains.

In ‘61 the enrollment was 380 students. Today that number has risen to 931 students.

Of course it’s gone up. Black students can enroll now.

The vocational school was not even in existence yet.

Back then, everybody was taught noose-tying and how to find a sturdy tree!

Ms. Bandy retired in 1997. […] She is considered by many people to be one of the most influential people to have graced the halls of Strom Thurmond.

That sounds vaguely obscene.

Many students drove to school and many rode the bus.

I’m sure there were “designated seating zones”, if you catch my drift.

Over the pass two years computers were put in each classroom.

Is that anything like a hall pass? Oh, wait. Did you mean “Over the past two years…”? It’s a good thing you guys don’t teach English. Oh, wait. You do.

Anyway, I don’t want to make fun of this high school too much. Naming a high school after Strom Thurmond just strikes me, as a non-Southerner, as a very odd thing to do.

3 Responses to “Strom Thurmond High School”

  1. Jales Says:

    It strikes me, a Southerner, as an odd thing to do.

  2. Former Student Says:

    I graduated from STHS in 1992. I am a black female and it had its moments. By then blacks and whites got along well. However, we still had seperate proms. Really in this day and age. In all honestly I can only remember one person that openly dated outside their race. She was looked down upon by most of the other white students. The most memorable thing about STHS was after years of not showing up “Ole Strom” himself showed up at our graduation and told people to come on down and get our diplomas because he was old and getting wet from the rain.

  3. GMF1673 Says:

    Umm, he also had a daughter with the black maid that worked in his parent’s house.