Essie Mae Washington-Williams, 2003 News
retired teacher, announced in December that she's the daughter of the late Strom Thurmond, former staunch segregationist. Thurmond's family confirmed that the late senator from South Carolina fathered the child with Carrie Butler, his family's black housekeeper. He was 22 and she was 16 when their child was born. Although Washington-Williams visited Thurmond's office over the years, she refused to reveal their relationship until after his death, in deference to his family. Thurmond was the longest-serving U.S. senator in history, holding the office from 1954 to 2003. He died in June.