Clarence Thomas says a Smithsonian exhibit about him is wrong. (It’s not.)Breaking News
tags: museums, history, Clarence Thomas
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas hasn’t visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture, but he cited one of its exhibits last week to explain how Washington’s rumor mill works.
Philanthropist and Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, who was interviewing Thomas for the Supreme Court Historical Society Annual Lecture, asked Thomas, 70, whether he knew the source of rumors that he was about to retire.
“People can say things about you and for you that have nothing to do with you,” Thomas told Rubenstein, who is also chairman of the Smithsonian Board of Regents.
Thomas went on to describe a recent meeting with students who described the museum’s exhibit about him, which the museum created and installed without contacting him.
“They said the exhibit said my views on affirmative action result from my going to various schools in my youth. The young woman, young student said, ‘Is that true?’ I said, ‘No.’ They said, ‘Did they talk to you before they put the exhibition up?’ I said, ‘Never.’ ‘Have you seen it?’ I said, ‘Nope. I’ve never seen it. I have no idea where it came from.’”
The source material for the exhibit appears to be Thomas’s own memoir, but he didn’t realize that because the students had the details wrong. Rather than connecting Thomas’s political views to schools from his youth, the exhibit links them to law school.