Petition Launched to Include Clarence Thomas in African American Museum

By Penny Starr | October 20, 2016 | 3:31pm EDT

Supreme Court Associate Justice

Clarence Thomas.  (AP) 

( – The StandUnited website has launched a petition to have Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas included in the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

The only reference to Thomas in the new museum, which opened on Sept. 24, is a video of Anita Hill testifying against him at his confirmation hearings.

“Justice Thomas is the longest-serving African American Supreme Court Justice in our nation’s history,” Angela Morabito, senior campaign manager of the website, told   “StandUnited users are commenting on the petition about how they want to see Smithsonian embrace history, instead of selectively editing it.”

“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,” Morabito said. “Petition signers think he deserves credit for his extraordinary contributions to American government and constitutional scholarship.”

The petition, entitled “Director for Smithsonian Museum of African-American Culture and History, Lonnie Bunch III : Don't Overlook African American Leaders like Justice Clarence Thomas,” has gathered hundreds of signatures since it was launched on Oct. 6 by Megan Thomas (no relation), who lives in Reston, Va.

Megan Thomas wrote this about launching the petition:

Justice Clarence Thomas is the second black man to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and a steadfast conservative who protects our closely held freedoms.  He has established himself as one of the brightest legal minds of his generation, yet the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture fails to include any mention of his numerous accolades.  This obvious oversight is even more glaring since this month commemorates Justice Thomas’ 25th anniversary on the Court. 

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.


The petition letter to the museum director states:

To Director for Smithsonian Museum of African American Culture and History, Lonnie Bunch III:

The decision to exclude Justice Clarence Thomas and other African American conservative leaders from the National Museum of African American History and Culture shows blatant discrimination against diversity in thinking and a lack of tolerance for different ideas. This decision not only does a disservice to the individuals purposefully left out, but also to all visitors to the museum.

This obviously partisan decision highlights how you discount original and different thinking in favor of mainstream ideas that fit into your particular worldviews. The museum highlights people of less noble endeavors, and it is unfathomable to think you were not open-minded enough to include all historically significant African Americans, no matter their political beliefs.

The museum is still in its infancy and it is not too late to change course. Please add exhibits that highlight all black Americans, not just those that fit into your narrow worldview.


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