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edited by Amy Richards ; Cynthia Greenberg

Pub Date: Jan. 29th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-55861-809-1
Publisher: Feminist Press

The proceedings of a symposium of human rights activists, political analysts, legal experts and artists who came together in 2011 to commemorate Anita Hill's courageous testimony at Justice Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing 20 years earlier.

The contributors spoke about the lasting impact of her groundbreaking testimony before the Senate that Thomas had sexually abused her. The incidents related by Hill (Law/Brandeis Univ.; Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race and Finding Home, 2011, etc.) had occurred in 1981 when Thomas was chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She accused him of using his position as her supervisor to coerce her into having sexual relations. Lani Guinier—the first black tenured professor at Harvard Law School—writes about how she and Thomas were among the few blacks at Yale Law School. She explains how, after the hearings, there was animated debate about the conflict between racial solidarity and a black woman's right to defend herself. A majority of Americans at the time accepted Thomas' claims that Hill was lying. Dorothy Samuels—a member of the New York Times editorial board since 1984—explains the liberating impact of Hill's revelations: “It was soap opera, and a riveting social, legal, and political history lesson all rolled into one….the issue of sexual harassment was out of the shadows.” Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, a volunteer on Hill's legal team, describes a campus rally in 1990 (demanding tenure for “women of color”) addressed by Barack Obama, then president of the Harvard Law Review. Yale law professor Judith Resnik points out that Thomas, then as now, was “against affirmative action, against abortion, against state-provision of assistance.” Hill, looking to the future, wonders “what equality is going to be like in the twenty-first century.”

A well-pulled-together collection from Richards (Opting In, 2008, etc.) and Greenberg.