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Biographical Details of Leadership
Contemporary Lens on Black Leadership
Historical Focus on Race
Born in 1948, Clarence Thomas was raised in a single parent home in the rural community of Pinpoint, Georgia, where he experienced both segregation and poverty. Thomas credits the influence of his grandfather's strong work ethic and entrepreneurial attitude for many of his values, including his self-help philosophy.
Thomas was educated at Holy Cross College, and earned a J.D. from Yale University in 1974. Throughout these formative years, Thomas encountered mentors including Strom Thurmond and John Danforth.
During the Reagan administration, Thomas headed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a commission formed to enforce civil rights laws. In 1990, he was appointed a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals, and in 1991, he was named Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, a distinguished position that he continues to hold today. Thomas is a strong conservative voice on the Supreme Court, opposing Roe v. Wade and pro-affirmative action decisions. In 2007, he released a memoir entitled My Grandfather’s Son.