Anita Hill on Race, Equality and Opportunity

With a new book out, she reflects on her testimony about sexual harassment and what's changed after two decades. 

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Anita Hill (Jack White/NPR)

It was Oct. 11, 1991, when Anita Hill told the Senate Judiciary Committee that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Since then, she's been focusing on academic work as a professor of law and social policy at Brandeis University. But her experience in the national spotlight is anything but forgotten.

This week, 20 years after her history-making testimony, she talked to NPR about the letters she's received over the years; her new book, Reimagining Equality; and how she maintained her faith in the system that confirmed Justice Thomas. She also weighed in on how opportunities for African Americans have (and haven't) improved.

Read a few highlights here:

On race and opportunity: I do think that just in general, people are comfortable with people who look like them or they believe think like them. And I think we have a lot to do in terms of really giving people full opportunity in employment, whether ... you think of them as safe or not. I think full opportunity in employment just does not exist today in the way that maybe I thought it would have when I was growing up in the 1960s and '70s. I really thought some of these battles and some of these issues would have been resolved by now.

On her faith in the system: "I believe very much in our judiciary system. That is really why I testified to begin with, because [of] my belief in the integrity of the court and the individuals who sit ... in final judgment of so many critical questions. And I know people are disappointed with individual cases that come up and decisions that are made today ... But I also remind myself that this is a court that is evolving and continues to evolve ... " 

On the correspondence she receives: "They're a surprising array of messages. And they vary depending on whether they're men or women, young or old. I hear from people who say, 'I was a child during the hearings, and I didn't quite understand exactly what was going on. But 20 years later, now I understand why the hearing was important and why your testimony was important."

Read more at NPR.

In other news: Cain Leads GOP Pack.

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