Robert Gehl asks, why is one of the most important and historically significant African Americans completely shut out of Washington’s newest and greatest museum to Black Americans?
Sadly, it’s also the reason that not only is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas noticeably absent from the National Museum of African American History, but his accuser, Anita Hill, is given top billing at the museum.
As only America’s second black Supreme Court Justice, Thomas has seen his fair share of racial discrimination – more than worthy of historical mention in the Smithsonian’s newest museum dedicated to black history and culture.
Rather, the woman who accused him of sexual harassment – and who has become a darling of the left – is hailed as an American hero. But Clarence Thomas is conservative. And as far as Washington leftists are concerned, black conservatives are historically insignificant.
“I am not surprised that Justice Thomas’ inspiring life story is not a part of the new museum,” Mark Paoletta, an assistant White House Counsel in the George H. W. Bush administration who worked on the Thomas confirmation, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Civil rights leaders have tried for decades to malign Justice Thomas because he actually dares to have his own views on race issues. One prominent liberal Supreme Court practitioner has called Justice Thomas ‘our greatest Justice,’ but you would never know that listening to the civil rights leadership.”
Thomas’ inspiring life story – should these folks decide to look into it – is one of inspiration and triumph against racism and discrimination.
Thomas was born dirt poor in the Georgia lowlands. He was ridiculed by his white neighbors for being “unpolished” and black. By sheer force of will, he overcame the overt racism of the south to attend Yale Law School.
Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, Thomas was chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an organization he overhauled while overseeing one of the largest workplace discrimination settlements in history – a $43 million award from an automaker in 1983.
It’s not just Thomas who was omitted by the Smithsonian. Another black jurist, Janice Rogers Brown receives no mention either. She is the first black woman to serve on the California Supreme Court and on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington.
But Judge Brown is a committed libertarian jurist. And there’s just no place for that in the museum.
Rather, a museum that by all accounts seems like a great asset to the nation’s collection of D.C. institutions has taken a whitewashed view of African American history that leaves out some of the country’s most important – and inspiring black figures.