Cruz: African-American museum needs Clarence Thomas exhibit

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says the Smithsonian’s African-American history museum should feature Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in its exhibits.

“I believe the museum has made a mistake by omitting the enormous legacy and impact of Justice Thomas, as well as his compelling background,” he said Monday in a letter to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Thomas’s lack of visibility in the museum became a cause celebre on the right after the museum opened in September. Critics complained that Thomas and Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice, received less attention in museum exhibits than Anita Hill, who accused Thomas of sexual harassment.

Cruz was one of six GOP senators who introduced a resolution earlier this month arguing Thomas should have a “prominent place” in the museum. In his letter, Cruz proposes an exhibit comparing Thomas and Marshall.

“In a quarter century, Justice Thomas has carved out one of the more profound and unique legacies in the court’s history,” the former GOP presidential candidate added.

{mosads}Cruz said Thomas’s accomplishments and character deserve a permanent place in the nation’s historical record.

“In summary, Justice Thomas climbed from Pin Point, Georgia, prejudice and poverty to the pinnacle of the legal profession, to where he is now an intellectual leader on a Supreme Court that is more influential than ever in the most powerful nation on Earth,” said Cruz, a former law clerk at the Supreme Court. “As such, I became deeply disturbed upon learning that Justice Thomas’s moving story and incredible contributions to the country are not even mentioned, much less discussed in detail, in the new museum.

“I fully understand that a museum cannot include every bit of relevant information, nor can it tell every tale. But, with all due respect, Justice Thomas’s story is not just any other story. Rather, it is story uniquely compelling in the annals of United States history, African-American or otherwise.”

Linda St. Thomas, a spokeswoman for the Smithsonian, told earlier this year that Thomas is an example of an African-American with “compelling personal stories.” She added, however, the museum “cannot tell every story in our inaugural exhibitions” after its opening earlier this year.

Tags African-Americans museums Race Supreme Court Ted Cruz
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