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Wed, 03.06.2002

Blacks protest Supreme Court Judge’s visit

Clarence Thomas

*On this date in 2002, five Black professors boycotted a daylong visit to the University of North Carolina Law School by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Thomas is the second African American to ever serve on America’s highest court. The protesting lecturers were Charles Daye, Marilyn Yarbrough, John Calmore, Adrienne Davis and Kevin Haynes. A week earlier, on February 28th the five Black professors, part of the 33-member law school faculty, sent a nine-paragraph letter to their colleagues explaining their planned absence; in part it read: “For many people who hold legitimate expectations for racial equality and social justice, Justice Thomas personifies the cruel irony of the fire boat burning and sinking. For some, certainly for us his visit adds insult to injury.”

Thomas was scheduled to have breakfast with a student organization, coffee and lunch with faculty members, and to attend several classes and an afternoon question-and-answer session. In their letter, the five faculty members charged Thomas for helping to turn back the clock on racial progress. “He not only engages in acts that harm other African Americans like himself, but also gives aid, comfort, and racial legitimacy to acts and doctrines of others that harm African Americans unlike himself that is, those who have not yet reaped the benefits of civil rights laws, including affirmative action, and who have not yet received the benefits of the white-conservative sponsorships that now empower him.”

The Associated Press
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