The renowned Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) dedicated one of the buildings on its lovely campus to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. That is because the second black man to sit on the highest court in the United States grew up in Savannah and attended elementary school at St. Benedict the Moor which was previously a Missionary Franciscan convent. The building is now owned by SCAD and the college ceremoniously dedicated it the “The Clarence Thomas Center for Historic Preservation” on January 4, 2010. Thomas attended the dedication ceremony.
It was certainly a fitting honor to a profoundly accomplished child of that beautiful Southern city. But things change.
Following the Dobbs decision, SCAD removed the sign in front of the building featuring the jurist’s name and there is a movement afoot to remove Thomas’ name from the building and the campus altogether. Why? Well, according a petition on change.org, the reason is because,
On June 24th, the Supreme Court of the United States severely endangered the lives of women across the entire country by overturning the ruling of Roe v. Wade (1973). A driving force behind this decision was Justice Clarence Thomas, the far-right conservative judge, who has long been an opponent of reproductive rights.
That is right.
Black Lives Matter and should be celebrated … unless they oppose liberal orthodoxy on abortion. Believe or speak anything that puts you at odds with liberal sacraments and you shall be canceled, denied, erased. As if you never existed. Even if you are a remarkably inspiring example of what a black citizen can achieve when given the chance.
And that is exactly what SCAD did by removing the sign noting Clarence Thomas’ historic connection with their campus. Some black lives clearly don’t matter. And simply for having the audacity of independent thought. Even the Savannah Morning News has editorialized this week that Savannah, as a city, should disown the Justice altogether. The historic Southern paper said,
Back here in the state of Chatham, appreciating Thomas is a chore. We can take pride in a hometown kid who grew up poor, Black and fatherless during the Jim Crow era only to rise above those circumstances to reach the highest levels of our government. Given his behavior, though, fewer and fewer of us are willing to claim him.
Simply because he believes in the objectivity of the Constitution and the dignity of all life.
There are a number of locations in Savannah named after the Justice Clarence Thomas. There is an 1-95 interchange in the city and a wing of the historic Carnegie Library on East Henry Street, historically known as the “Carnegie Colored Library” established for African American Savannahians. Judge Thomas borrowed books from it regularly as a boy.
While the change.org petition calling to scrub the justice’s name from SCAD’s Clarence Thomas Center for Historic Preservation presently has only 2,149 signature at press time, the change.org petition to keep Justice Thomas’ name has 25,261. It seems SCAD is quite out of step with most citizens who care about this issue and believe all black lives should be honored.
Yes, all black lives matter, even those you disagree with on fundamentally important issues. Don’t erase them.