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date: 09 April 2020

Thomas, Clarence locked

(b. 23 June 1948),
  • Wesley Borucki


lawyer, federal agency director, U.S. Supreme Court justice. Clarence Thomas was born in the coastal village of Pin Point, Georgia. His father, M. C. Thomas, left the family, and his mother, Leola, went to work in nearby Savannah, leaving six-year-old Clarence and his younger brother, Myers, with her father, Myers Anderson. Anderson instilled strict discipline into his grandsons, waking them before dawn to help with his fuel and ice delivery business.

Anderson was a devout Catholic, and Clarence attended parochial schools established for African Americans, such as Saint Pius X High School. As a teenager, Thomas aspired to enter the priesthood, and at Savannah's Saint John's Minor Seminary, Father William Coleman exposed Thomas to the civil rights movement. Thomas's subsequent year (1967–1968) at Conception Seminary College in Missouri radicalized him. Overhearing a white student celebrating news of Martin Luther King Jr.'s ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.

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