“My Grandfather’s Son” by Clarence Thomas

After watching an TV interview with Clarence Thomas, I decided to get the book and read it. I was not disappointed. An autobiography about his rise from a hard life in Jim Crow Georgia to the Supreme Court is well worth the time.

The glimpse into this chapter of Southern history is beneficial to any that want to understand the culture. This culture can only be understood with these type of accounts of a life shaped by the blending of racial, religious, political and economic forces. We get to look at the life of a black man involved in Catholic life battle poverty and both Southern and national politics. It was a surprise to read of his flirtation with Black Radicalism. It was interesting to read of his Catholic education and service as an altar boy which led to his heading toward the priesthood through seminary. When Martin Luther King was killed, he abandoned the church that he felt had abandoned him and his race. He later returned to his roots during the tumultuous confirmation process for the Supreme Court.

The title is excellent in that it gives credit to the man who taught him the value of work and of avoiding a victim mentality. Lessons appropriate for today’s culture.

The book also offered personal insight and background to the Anita Hill saga. I did not recall having been informed of his side of the “he said, she said” story.

Two aspects of the book were somewhat disappointing. I would have loved for him to have provided more detail on some of the issues mentioned in the book. The other is that it is sometimes hard to buy that Thomas could be as naive as he presents himself. I doubt that you can experience as much as he has and rise as far as he has and not have a better grasp of some of the things of which he seemed to have been taken by surprise.

In the end, it is well worth the money and time to read this important book.