*Clarence Thomas began his tenure on the United State Supreme Court on October 23, 1991. His confirmation was marred by allegations that he had sexually harassed a subordinate, Anita Hill, years before.
Now, 25 years later, based largely on those hearings and his record on the bench – Thomas is at the center of another debate: Should he be prominently included in the Smithsonian Institute’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture?
Thomas Supporters argue that he should be honored and have launched a petition urging the museum’s curator to make him a primary focus, ajc.com reports.
“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,” the petition read.
READ RELATED STORY: Clarence Thomas is Not in New Black Museum; Petition wants to Change That
But others, most especially those who don’t think Thomas is worthy of his high-powered position and title, and those who are troubled by his rulings against affirmative action, argue that he doesn’t belong in the museum.
“Clarence Thomas is a mediocre jurist at best,” said Samuel F. Mosteller, the Georgia president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “All he has done is pander to the far right and whatever Antonin Scalia told him to do. He has not been fair and is a one-trick pony.”
Thomas may not be a primary focus in the museum, but Smithsonian spokesperson Linda St. Thomas notes that technically he is represented in one of a dozen inaugural exhibitions.
Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta, congressman, United Nations Ambassador and civil rights leader, said he hasn’t visited the museum yet and doesn’t even know if Thomas is in it. Although he doesn’t understand Thomas and has never agreed with anything he has ever done, Young believes he deserves to be added to the new museum.
“When Dr. King was alive, I didn’t let myself think. I did what he thought and told me to do. When he was gone and I was forced to think for myself,” said Young, who believes that Thomas’ thinking will eventually evolve. “I am still thinking that with the new appointments that will be made to the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas will either grow or resign. If Clarence Thomas had been there with Thurgood Marshall, it would have made all of the difference in the World.”
Do you think Clarence Thomas deserves a prominent display at the museum?