After serving for the longest years in the American supreme courts with little said of him, the day that Justice Clarence Thomas has wished for has eventually come. The ‘Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture’ has now put up a display honoring the American Supreme Court Justice Thomas.
The recently installed new exhibit comes at the time when the museum celebrates its 1-year anniversary. The display’s mission is not only aimed at celebrating Thomas solely. Rather, it also celebrates the high court’s conservative resilience on the sole Black justice, and also the late Thurgood Marshall. Marshall was the first African-American justice to serve on the America’s Supreme Court.
Smithsonian Institution’s Chief spokesperson, Linda St. Thomas, said that the exhibit includes a photograph of Thomas, with the 1991 Jet Magazine cover that he was featured on; and an inscription, reading, “Clarence Thomas: From Seminary School to the Supreme Court.”
Thomas has, however, faced a lot of criticism from the African-American community over his conservative and at times controversial opinions. This prompted Smithsonian to omit him from the 2016 list of the black icons to be honored in the museum. But Thomas’ supporters still argued that his partisan politics should not prevent him from being featured in the museum.
In 2016, the conservative observers worked so hard to petition the NMAAHC to include Thomas’ name. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also joined the force, telling the Smithsonian that he was “profoundly disturbed” by the omission. Until now, there hasn’t been any mention of Thomas or his achievements, except for a video featuring testimony from Anita Hill—the woman who accused Thomas of sexual harassment during his Senate confirmation in 1991.
However, Professor Ronald D. Rotunda argued that Thomas ought to be honored for his significant contributions to America’s jurisprudence.
“Just like Thurgood Marshall, Thomas has been a highly influential justice. And like Thurgood Marshall, Thomas has risen from just humble beginnings,” professor Rotunda said of Justice Thomas. “Thomas’ father left him, rendering him be raised by his grandparents. Thomas turning into law was motivated by the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Thomas left his successful corporate law practice and chose to shift to public service. That path led Thomas to the Supreme Court.”
Talking after Smithsonian’s decision, Justice Thomas said that the museum is still “evolving and some of the challenges we are seeing happen, will just change over time.”