New film allows Clarence Thomas to speak in his own words
It has been said that the very moment a man finds himself, he finds God.
This captures the story of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, a man of deep faith whose youthful struggles with racism caused that faith to be shaken but who later returned to it, more deeply and more resolutely because of his great character and refusal to settle for anything but truth.
The new film "Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words" will be released in theaters nationwide Jan. 31, exquisitely timed with Black History Month. But this is also a time of great tensions and divisions in our nation, with race continuing to be one of the main issues dividing us.
Thomas published his memoir, "My Grandfather's Son," in 2007, which tells the story of his journey from beginning life dirt-poor in Pinpoint, Georgia, to his confirmation as U.S. Supreme Court associate justice in 1991.
Now filmmaker Michael Pack delivers Thomas' remarkable story to us in his own words, bringing to the screen exclusive interviews with Thomas and his wife, Virginia Thomas, in which they speak their minds.
Judge Thomas strikes a strong personal note with me because I know well what he means when he talks about being attacked for being black by not acting and saying what is expected from a black person.
I was in the early days of my own work in policy activism when Democrats brought Anita Hill into Thomas' confirmation hearing. I helped organize a large group of black pastors to come to Washington from around the country and demonstrate support for him.
When Branch Rickey, president and general manager of the then-Brooklyn Dodgers, recruited Jackie Robinson to be the first black in Major League Baseball, Rickey warned Robinson that he would be challenged to focus on the game and not react to the racist jeers that would come not just from the stands but from his own white teammates.
"They'll taunt you and goad you," Rickey warned. "They'll do anything to make you react. They'll try to provoke a race riot in the ballpark."
Justice Thomas had to stand the same test.