To Cite a ‘Mockingbird’

From The Washington Post:

For a peek into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s roiling state of mind, go directly to Chapter 9 of his memoir, “My Grandfather’s Son,” which is officially being released today as the court opens its new term. The chapter’s very title, “Invitation to a Lynching,” conjures up one of the vilest periods in American history and makes clear that Thomas sees himself as a persecuted black man who was hunted by white enemies. Thomas If there was any remaining mystery about whether Thomas has gotten over the confirmation hearings and sexual harassment allegations that humiliated him 16 years ago, the justice makes plain he hasn’t. His words speak to a level of bitterness that he previously has not communicated during his tenure on the court. What is perhaps most revealing, however, especially in the last two chapters of the book, is how Thomas has come to define his racial identity through the prism of literature. In Thomas’s eyes, he is both Richard Wright’s tragic Bigger Thomas in “Native Son” and Harper Lee’s doomed Tom Robinson in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” two of the most powerful portrayals of racial division in American literature.

Thomas’s accuser, Anita Hill, was not a white woman but a black, Yale-educated law professor who had worked for him at two federal agencies. She testified that Thomas repeatedly made lewd, graphic sexual comments to her while trying against her wishes to pursue a romantic relationship.

More here.