South Carolina lawyer and ‘reformed racist’ Turnipseed dies

South Carolina News

FILE – In this June 22, 2002 file photo from left to right, leaders of the Green Party, Georgia chairman Badili Jones, North Carolina chairman Allen Burns and South Carolina chairman Tom Turnipseed talk to reporters in Columbia, S.C. Turnipseed, a South Carolina lawyer who called himself “a reformed racist” after turning away from his segregationist past and toward civil rights died on Friday, March 6, 2020, his wife said. He was 83. (AP Photo/Lou Krasky, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina lawyer who called himself “a reformed racist” after turning away from his segregationist past and toward civil rights has died.

The wife of 83-year-old Tom Turnipseed said her husband died peacefully and without pain Friday.

Turnipseed first came to prominence in 1968 while running the segregationist presidential campaign of former Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

FILE – In this Feb. 16, 1978 file photo, State Sen. Tom Turnipseed, D-Lexington, gestures with both hands as he talks on the South Carolina senate floor in Columbia, S.C Turnipseed, a South Carolina lawyer who called himself “a reformed racist” after turning away from his segregationist past and toward civil rights died on Friday, March 6, 2020, his wife said. He was 83. (AP Photo, File)

Turnipseed said that campaign bothered him and he spent the rest of his life fighting racism and for the rights of minorities and the poor.

Turnipseed was a frequent Democratic candidate for statewide office, losing four races from 1974 to 1998.

He campaigned by handing out packets of turnip seeds and promising to plant the seeds of good government.

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