Justice Clarence Thomas serves on the U.S. Supreme Court, only the second black man to do so. Yet the new National Museum of African American History and Culture did not see fit to showcase his life and career. The museum does, however, give a prominent spot to Anita Hill, the woman who accused Thomas of sexual harassment.
I believe it is only natural to ask for the reason(s) for the only mention of Justice Thomas being in connection with Hill. Could there be a political reason behind the neglect due to the fact that the Justice is conservative?
The Daily Signal reports that seventeen members of Congress recently sent a letter to the secretary of the Smithsonian inquiring about Justice Thomas’ absence from the museum. The congressional letter reads: “The background and accomplishments of Justice Thomas are worthy of inclusion in the museum on their own merits…. Justice Thomas’ contributions to the judicial system through his appointment to the highest court in the country cannot be discounted. It is a disservice to his legacy and to the history to mention his name in a single caption, but provide no other exhibit showcasing his story.
“With this in mind, we insist that you provide an explanation about the conspicuous absence of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas from the new museum, and of any future plans to feature him in a permanent exhibit.”
An online petition addressed to Dr. Lonnie Bunch III, the founding director of the museum, has more than 7,000 supporters. The petition reads in part that Justice Thomas “has established himself as one of the brightest legal minds of his generation, yet the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture fails to include any mention of his numerous accolades. This obvious oversight is even more glaring since this month commemorates Justice Thomas’ 25th anniversary on the Court.
“It is obvious politics is what kept Justice Thomas out of the museum. For years, he has been shunned by the liberal black community since he has spoken out against affirmative action. He has written that affirmative action amounts to racial discrimination, and detailed how it worked against him when he was trying to find work as a lawyer.
“Curators at the museum singled out Thomas due to his unique views on race and his conservative thought that the federal government is the greatest threat to our individual liberties. The museum highlights people of less noble endeavors, and it is unfathomable to think the curators were not open-minded enough to include all historically significant African Americans, no matter their political beliefs….”
Of course, a spokesperson for the Smithsonian Institution claims that the museum could not “tell every story” of the experiences of African Americans. Linda St. Thomas said, “There are many compelling personal stories about African Americans who have become successful in various fields, and, obviously, Associate Justice Thomas is one of them…. However, we cannot tell every story in our inaugural exhibitions.”
Justice Thomas is not the only successful African American not being showcased in the museum. SNSNews.com toured the new exhibit and then asked why Justice Thomas and eight other prominent men and women were not included. The answer was that they could not include every successful black American.
Eight other successful African Americans that were not included are: (1) Cora Brown (first African American woman elected to a state Senate in Michigan), (2) Alveda King (served in Georgia state legislature and pro-life advocate), (3) Senator Tim Scott (first African-American senator from South Carolina, first black Republican Senator, and first elected from the south since 1881), (4) Michael Steele (first African American chairperson of the Republican National Committee), (5) Kenneth Blackwell (mayor of Cincinnati, OH, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State for Ohio), (6) Thomas Sowell (economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author), (7) Shelby Steele (author, columnist, documentary filmmaker), and (8) Walter E. Williams (economist at George Mason University).
I do not recognize all of the people named above, but I know that Walter E. Williams, Thomas Sowell, Tim Scott, and Alveda King are conservatives who encourage African Americans to take responsibility for themselves and their families. Could this be the reason that they are excluded from the museum?