The Rushmore Report: Why Does Black America Not Embrace Clarence Thomas?


Clarence Thomas is only the second black American to serve on the United States Supreme Court. One would think that would be enough to earn him a place in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. But apparently neither Thomas nor other prominent black leaders Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams are good enough for inclusion. How can that be possible?

It’s simple. They are conservatives.

While excluding men such as Clarence Thomas, the museum is inducting a local D.C. television newscaster. When asked to explain, museum spokesperson Lonnie Bunch said the broadcaster “symbolized that it was really important that America was changing and his presence was a symbol of that change.”

So how is it that Clarence Thomas, who rose from poverty to become the second black person to ever sit on the U.S. Supreme Court is not a symbol of that change?

Many blacks criticize Thomas for being too conservative. Yet, when asked to name a single case in which he has ruled incorrectly, they cannot. The media has told them Mr. Thomas is a bad guy, so to them, he must be.

It’s odd that a museum that stands for a movement against discrimination is practicing discrimination.

But the museum is not alone in its hypocrisy. Every year, the black magazine Ebony publishes a list of its “Power 100,” defined as those “who lead, inspire, and demonstrate through their individual talents, the very best in Black America.” And each year, Clarence Thomas is absent from the list. Apparently, as a sitting black justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, Thomas does not “lead, inspire, and demonstrate the very best in Black America.” The magazine, like the museum, also excludes Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams.

As for Sowell, he’s only the economist and writer whom playwright David Mamet once called “our greatest contemporary philosopher.” Sowell, who never knew his father, was raised by a great-aunt and her two grown daughters. They lived in Harlem, where he was the first in his family to make it past the sixth grade. He left home at 17, served as a Marine in the Korean War, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, earned a Master’s degree from Columbia University the next year, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. He has authored 48 books and written hundreds of published articles. In 2015, Forbes magazine said, “It’s a scandal that economist Thomas Sowell has not been awarded the Nobel Prize. No one alive has turned out so many insightful, richly researched books.” Yet, thanks to Ebony, many of his own race have never heard of him.

And how does the magazine justify excluding economist and writer Walter Williams, former chairman of the economics department of George Mason University, where he still teaches? Raised by a single mother, he lived in the projects of inner city Philadelphia. Williams served in the Army before earning three degrees, including a Ph.D.

The exclusion of people like Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, and Walter Williams explains why there’s no serious discussion in the black community about government dependency, school choice, the damage done by high taxes, excessive regulation, and laws like minimum wage.

And it explains why thinking blacks should give consideration to their allegiance to leftist leaders and political parties that turn their collective backs on men like Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, and Walter Williams, who are not just great black Americans.

They are great Americans. Period. It’s a sad day when you have to rely on white guys like me to tell you that.


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