. Succeeding Thurgood Marshall
, Thomas is the second African American
to serve on the Court.
Thomas grew up in Georgia
and was educated at the College of the Holy Cross
and at Yale Law School
. In 1974, he was appointed an Assistant Attorney General
and subsequently practiced law there in the private sector. In 1979, he became a legislative assistant
to Missouri United States Senator John Danforth
and in 1981 was appointed Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S.
For a time we wondered why our real father didn't come and rescue us, but we had long since accepted our fate by the time we finally met him.
Long after the fact, it occurred to me that this was a metaphor for life- blisters come before calluses, vulnerability before maturity- but not even the thickest of skins could have spared us the lash of Daddy's tongue.
I began to suspect that Daddy had been right all along: the only hope I had of changing the world was to change myself first.
The black people I knew came from different places and backgrounds- social, economic, even ethnic- yet the color of our skin was somehow supposed to make us identical in spite of our differences. I didn't buy it. Of course we had all experienced racism in one way or another, but did that mean that we had to think alike?
I often had occasion to remind myself in years to come that self-interest isn't a principle- it's just self-interest.
The popular political answers of the day, I saw, had hardened into dogma, making anyone who questioned them a heretic. Having turned my back on religion, I saw no reason to accept mere political opinions as gospel truth. Years later these same dogmatists would walk away from the wreckage of their failed policies, like children tossing aside a broken toy. But the victims they left behind were real people- my people.
How often had he longed to hold us, hug us, grant our every wish, but held himself back for fear of letting us see his vulnerability, believing as he did that real love demanded not affection but discipline?
I knew that until I was ready to tell the truth as I saw it, I was no better than a politician- but I didn't know whether I would ever be brave enough to break ranks and speak my mind.