GOP presidential candidate and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham's parents ran a segregated bar into the 1970s, long after the 1964 Civil Rights Act made it illegal, he admits in his new book.
an advance copy of "My Story," set for release on Wednesday, in which Graham is candid about his poor upbringing in Central, S.C. His family lived in the back of the Sanitary Cafe, and he began working in the bar portion of the business as young child.
"Times being what they were, most of our customers were white," Graham writes. "My folks sold beer to anyone of legal age, but I’m sorry to say, for many of the years my parents operated the bar, black people were expected to drink the beer they purchased from us off the premises."
Graham said he father explained to him, "It's just the way it is." It was the early 1970s before the bar finally was desegregated, said Graham, adding that was "much later than it should have."
Once the bar was integrated, white customers left "in a flash," he said. But Graham's father didn't allow racial trouble, and when a white customer began using racial epithets against a black customer, Graham's father "cracked my helmet hard against the guy's skull, and laid him out cold."
Graham also admits to sneaking puffs of cigarettes or swigs of beer when customers went to the restroom, earning him the nickname "Stinkball."
The 59-year-old Graham would be the first bachelor president since Grover Cleveland. He writes of a few girlfriends he had in his 20s, but said the timing was never right for him to meet the right person and settle down.
"The opportunity never presented itself at the right time, or I never found time to meet the right girl, or the right girl was smart enough not to have time for me. I haven’t been lucky that way," he said.
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