“The persistent efforts to undermine Justice Thomas and his compelling body of jurisprudence, and to ignore the spectacular Horatio Alger [read: rags to riches] story of his life, are part of a deliberate strategy to silence a conservative voice from someone who might serve as a transformative role model in the African-American community in particular, and the American community more broadly. Sad, really, that the taxpayer-financed institutions of our own government would join in such efforts.” – John Eastman, founding director of the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
Disgraced accused serial rapist Bill Cosby is favorably mentioned. So is philandering adulterer, golfer Tiger Woods. One imagines a whole wing of the new Smithsonian African American museum is dedicated to Barack Obama: the worst, most polarizing president ever to hold the office. Why then in our “post-racial” age, is a black Supreme Court Justice—one of the two ever to serve on the nation's highest court—treated like a modern-day Ralph Ellison “Invisible Man”?
Since the Supreme Court's inception on September 26, 1789, a grand total of 112 justices have had the distinct honor to serve. (By comparison, for context, Donald Trump will become America's 45th U.S. president on January 20, 2017.) To add further insult to injury, the only tangential reference to Justice Thomas is a political smear: a pin-back button reading “I Believe Anita Hill.” (Now ironically a race and gender anti-discrimination professor at Brandeis University, Ms. Hill famously accused the jurist of unsubstantiated sexual harassment at his 1991 Senate confirmation hearing.)
So, between references to Ms. Hill, Mr. Cosby and Mr. Woods, a rogue's gallery of the morally dubious are well-represented. (In fact, at the casual glance this ultramodern structure of sterile glass and oppressively ornate bronze mesh could easily be mistaken for a three tiered prison, an inverse step pyramid or a cubist slave ship.) Opened on the Washington mall on September 24, 2016, this 19th Smithsonian housing 37,000 objects is a 379,000 square foot eyesore. Within, ample space has been lovingly dedicated to violent quasi-terrorist anarchist organizations like the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter. Yet, among 12 exhibitions, a person most central to both American history—and specifically the black experience—is wrongly marginalized and negated.