Credit: DeKalb County Government
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Political Rewind: In conversation with DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond
Michael Thurmond, @dekalblikesmike, CEO, DeKalb County
Patricia Murphy, @MurphyAJC, politics reporter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Michael Thurmond was born in rural Sandy Creek, north of Athens-Clarke County. His great-grandfather was enslaved on an Oconee County plantation owned by Harris Thurmond, and three members of his family were sharecroppers in the area. He attended segregated schools, and Clark Central High School wasn't integrated until his senior year.
After high school, Thurmond earned a juris doctorate from the University of South Carolina's School of Law. In 1986, he became the first Black legislator from Clarke County since Reconstruction, winning in a 66% white district.
Thurmond served in Georgia's Division of Family and Child Services, helping launch the Work First program. As labor commissioner, he helped overhaul the state's unemployment program, adding to his reputation as a "turnaround expert."
Tuesday on Political Rewind: The AJC's Tamar Hallerman joins the panel.