Clarence Thomas-1

Clarence Thomas-1 - Clarence Thomas had been a...

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Clarence Thomas had been a controversial member of the United States Supreme Court since he was nominated in 1991. The only African-American justice on the Court, Thomas has been controversial in his views on affirmative action. However, before judging a man, it is important to walk a mile in his shoes. In his autobiography, Thomas gives America the chance to do just that. Born on June 23, 1948, Clarence Thomas was the second child of M.C. Thomas and Leola Williams. However, for all intensive purposes these were not his parents. Thomas didn’t meet his father until he was nine and that was just a brief experience which ended without unfulfilled promises of watches as gifts for him and his brother (Thomas, 01). His mother was not absent, but was eventually forced to have her sons move in with her parents because couldn’t properly support them. Thomas lived the first 6 years of his life in Pinpoint, Georgia, a very poor community whose existence revolved around the waters of the Shipyard Creek, by which it is surrounded on three sides. Dinner was whatever could be pulled out of the river, and almost all the work done by residents of Pinpoint was water-related. Although poor, Thomas found life enjoyable in Pinpoint as there was never any shortage of food and the wetlands provided an endless playground. But when his family’s house burned down in 1954, Thomas “moved from the comparative safety and cleanliness of rural poverty to the foulest of urban squalor;” Savannah (Thomas, 6). Here Thomas, along with his mother and brother, lived in a tiny apartment that was unclean and unpleasant. The surrounding area was dangerous. In his autobiography, Thomas recalls sirens often blaring in the night (Thomas,7). He has never forgotten the poverty which he experienced as a little boy. His views on affirmative action are based in large part on the fact that he was able
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to pull himself up by the bootstraps and therefore others should be able to as well. Additionally, the way the women working as servants in the houses of affluent whites accepted their lives and never complained shaped his view of the women’s rights movement. When he was head of EEOC he attended a meeting of Women Employed, a group pursuing equal rights for women in the workforce, specifically equal pay. He wrote, “I couldn’t understand how angry they seemed to be about their lot in life. How could these well-off white women be more bitter than the poor blacks and Hispanics? (Thomas,165)” At this time, Thomas had started to skip school and was meandering towards an unremarkable life. To learn how to pull himself up by the bootstraps and become something special, Thomas needed a role model who believed in hard work and discipline above all else. A year after moving into Savannah he was told that he and his brother were moving in with their grandparents, and thus he found that role model. Myers Anderson, grandfather of Clarence Thomas and the man he called Daddy,
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This note was uploaded on 04/14/2008 for the course HIST 331 taught by Professor Grogan during the Spring '08 term at St. Mary MD.

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Clarence Thomas-1 - Clarence Thomas had been a...

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