Apology for Clarence Thomas, Toni Morrison’s presentation.

Virginia Thomas has sought an apology from Anita Hill to her husband Clarence.

In an unusual development,  Clarence Thomas’ wife recently called Brandeis University law professor Anita Hill and asked her to apologize to her husband.

Hill does not seem likely to comply with Mrs. Thomas’ request, saying that she does not plan to say she is sorry for things Thomas said and did.

For those who somehow do not remember, Hill’s 1991 testimony contained lurid details of sexual harassment that sparked national conversation about the topic.

Thomas’ nomination was narrowly approved after he endured what he called a “high-tech” lynching.

Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison edited a collection of essays about the hearings called Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power that is worth reading.

As I mentioned yesterday, Dunreith, Ava and I heard her speak about, and read from,  A Mercy, her most recent book, and one that was selected for the Chicago Public Library’s One Book, One Chicago program.

The three of us enjoyed her remarks before the reading more than the reading itself.  During those comments she spoke about how she has been thinking and writing about the lethal consequences of racism for the past 40 years.

She also talked about a childhood friend who was the unwitting inspiration for The Bluest Eye, her first novel.  The friend and Morrison were about 9 or 10 years old and were walking together when the friend shared that she had been  praying for 2 years to have blue eyes.

Morrison said she looked at the friend, and, for the first time in her life, saw someone beautiful.  Had the wish come true, she said, the friend would have looked grotesque.

She also talked about the late 1600s, when the novel takes place, and the collection of landed gentry, indentured servants, American Indians and slaves who made up the crew involved in Bacon’s Rebellion.

When the governor returned, the rebellion was put down and member of its members killed.  This murderous form of discipline anticipated the real, not high-tech, lynchings that were part of life for black people in many different parts of the country in history.

Friend and former colleague Veronica Anderson Thigpen wrote last night that she could have listened to Morrison for another hour or two.

Her brilliance was in stark contrast to Thomas’ behavior and his wife’s (to me) bizarre request.  I recommend her book about the incident between Hill and Thomas, and any other of her works, for that matter.


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