Before there was Brett Kavanaugh, there was Clarence Thomas. Many who watched or participated in the grotesque circus that was the Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings no doubt were unaware of, or had forgotten, the ugly spectacle that was Thomas’ confirmation hearings in 1991. As a black conservative, Thomas drew (and continues to draw) the vicious wrath of racist Democrats who reserve a special enmity for minorities that dare stray from the leftist plantation. Then as now, the Democrats waged their politics of personal destruction, and then as now a good man with impeccable legal credentials was demonized by an uncorroborated allegation of sexual harassment shored up by the full force of the leftist smear machine.
A riveting new documentary revisits the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill controversy as part of a look at the Supreme Court Justice’s amazing life journey. Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words, produced by Michael Pack of Manifold Productions, aired earlier this week on PBS, of all places, and is still available here for free through June 2. Don’t miss it. The producers interviewed Thomas and his wife Virginia for over 30 hours about his life, the law, and his legacy. As the movie’s website states,
the documentary proceeds chronologically, combining Justice Thomas’ first person account with a rich array of historical archive material, period and original music, personal photos, and evocative recreations. Unscripted and without narration, the documentary takes the viewer through this complex and often painful life, dealing with race, faith, power, jurisprudence, and personal resilience.
In his rich, sonorous voice, Thomas, the second black American to serve on the Court and, at 28 years, the longest-serving Justice, tells his life story beginning with his birth in tiny Pin Point, Georgia in 1948. Descended from West African slaves and born into rock-bottom poverty, Thomas later was raised by his grandparents in Savannah. His stern grandfather, “the greatest man I have ever known,” believed firmly in hard work and even more firmly in the education he never had, the lack of which he blamed for his inability to rise above his station in life. He impressed upon his grandchildren the importance of committing themselves to school. He told Thomas and his brother that they would go every day, even when sick, and even if they were dead he would take their bodies to school for three more days “to make sure we weren’t faking.”