Petition Started to Include Clarence Thomas in National African American Museum

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 2010
Alex Wong/Getty Images
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 2010
Alex Wong/Getty Images

This month marks the 25th anniversary of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ arrival on the nation’s highest court. But the only mention of him that the recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., has is in reference to Anita Hill’s testimony against him regarding sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings.


To rectify this, the conservative-leaning StandUnited recently launched a petition calling for Thomas to be included in the recently opened museum on the National Mall. Entitled “Director for Smithsonian Museum of African-American Culture and History, Lonnie Bunch III : Don’t Overlook African American Leaders Like Justice Clarence Thomas,” the petition was launched in early October and now has nearly 7,000 signatures.

In a somewhat scathing rebuke to the museum's director, Lonnie Bunch III, the petition page says that Thomas has been punished because of his political views. It reads in part:

It is obvious politics is what kept Justice Thomas out of the museum. For years, he has been shunned by the liberal black community since he has spoken out against affirmative action. He has written that affirmative action amounts to racial discrimination, and detailed how it worked against him when he was trying to find work as a lawyer.

Curators at the museum singled out Thomas due to his unique views on race and his conservative thought that the federal government is the greatest threat to our individual liberties. The museum highlights people of less noble endeavors, and it is unfathomable to think the curators were not open-minded enough to include all historically significant African Americans, no matter their political beliefs. It is time to call on the museum’s director, Lonnie Bunch III, to include American leaders and conservative thinkers such as Justice Clarence Thomas.

“Justice Thomas has a uniquely American story, in all its complexity—he grew up in the segregated South and is now the second-most-powerful African-American man in government,” Angela Morabito, senior campaign manager of StandUnited, told “Petition signers think he deserves credit for his extraordinary contributions to American government and constitutional scholarship.”

Before it opened, the museum received some pushback for its Bill Cosby display. Cosby, a pioneer in television, has since been accused of rape by dozens of women. When the museum opened, the claims of sexual assault were included in his exhibit.