The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington is filled to the brim with exhibits paying tribute to innumerable black Americans who have contributed to the fabric of our nation. But for much of the museum’s five-year existence, one prominent and important African-American was almost entirely missing from the exhibits: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Indeed, as of the museum’s opening, there was only one exhibit even mentioning Thomas: The one commemorating Anita Hill’s infamous Senate testimony.
“Thomas is only mentioned in connection with Anita Hill — a former staffer of Thomas, who accused him in 1991 during his confirmation hearing, of making sexually explicit comments and unwanted advances toward her while she worked for him at the Education Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the 1980s,” reported Fox News at the time.
After the backlash for that omission, the museum reportedly added a new exhibit displaying information about both Thomas and Thurgood Marshall. In addition to a bit of text about Thomas’s judicial ideology, the exhibit consisted of a photo of Thomas being sworn in to the Supreme court and a picture of him on the cover of Jet magazine.
Now, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) is calling on the museum to put up a proper tribute to one of the most important black Americans of the last half century. In conjunction with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT), Heritage Foundation’s Kay Coles James, Dr. Alveda King, and others, Donalds wrote a letter to the museum this week urging them to do better by Justice Thomas.
“This museum is a national treasure for our nation’s fabric – this is especially true for me as a Black American and Republican,” Donalds wrote. “Black History transcends political correctness and partisanship. Overall, the NMAAHC honors its mission, but it is unfortunate to see pitfalls likely driven by irresponsible bias.
“Black history cannot and should not be political…The American people deserve an unbiased assessment of the trailblazers in the Black community — it is time to honor Justice Thomas with this long-overdue documentation of his whole life and history and not the disingenuous effort displayed today,” he continued.
In remarks to the press, Rep. Owens said, “As one of the only two Black men to serve on our nation’s highest and most distinguished court, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas deserves unbiased recognition from the National Museum of African American History and Culture.”
Unfortunately, this is the same museum that had an exhibit last year proclaiming traits like hard work and concepts like the nuclear family to be unwanted aspects of “whiteness” that have (sadly) seeped into the black community. To imagine that their agenda leaves room for a proud conservative black man like Clarence Thomas is to delude yourself.