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‘Created Equal’ is worth seeing

You wouldn’t think a two-hour movie that is largely an interview with a husband and wife would be this engaging.

But it is.

The movie, called “Created Equal,” is largely a biography of him. In his life, she has played no small role.

Her upbringing was far different from his.

She tells the story of when she first went to his hometown, she could hardly understand anyone. So she just smiled.

He’s from the low country of Georgia – Pinpoint to be exact – and is a descendant of west African slaves who lived in the coastal communities of South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida.

When his immediate family’s home burned, the family moved to Savannah, where his mother worked as a maid.

He describes the poverty in Pinpoint as tolerable and the poverty in Savannah as, well, not.

He remembers being hungry and not knowing when he’d eat, and being cold and not knowing when he’d be warm.

In the part of Savannah where the family lived, flushing a toilet in those years sent material into neighbors’ yards. It was, he said, “putrid” and “gross.”

After a time, his mother’s parents offered to raise him and his brother. So one day, each of the boys packed everything he owned into a paper grocery bag. Their bags were half full.

Off they went to the grandparents’ house, which changed his life.

The “vacation is over,” the grandfather told the boys. Now there would be “rules and regulations.”

The boys were happy to live in a beautiful home. They were so enthralled with the white bathtub and toilet that they would flush the toilet when they didn’t need to.

The grandparents had joined the Catholic church and sent the boys to a Catholic school, which — like the public schools — was racially segregated.

As a teenager, he experienced a call to the priesthood and went to seminary, which he enjoyed and appreciated. This began to change when some fellow seminarians spoke ill of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

When some of them were glad at King’s death, the young man from Pin Point left the seminary.

He enrolled in college in Massachusetts, where he involved himself in radical politics. But after taking part in a nighttime demonstration, he prayed for the first time in two years, promising God that if he removed the anger from his heart, he’d never hate again.

After college graduation, he enrolled in law school.

Thereafter he worked for Missouri Attorney General Jack Danforth, Monsanto Corporation, and on Danforth’s U.S. Senate staff.

By 1980, he had transformed politically. He voted for Ronald Reagan for president and worked in the Reagan administration.

President Bush 41 appointed him to the federal-appellate court for the District of Columbia.

“Created Equal” gives this couple’s perspective on all of this and the rest of their story, including the political correctness they’ve endured.

He doesn’t do many public appearances. When he does, they’re great. Anyone wanting an example might consider a speech entitled “Be Not Afraid” at https://www.aei.org/research-products/speech/be-not-afraid.

Because public appearances are rare, the opportunities to meet this down-to-earth couple are few.

When this columnist met them once at an Acton Institute event in Grand Rapids they came across as neighbors over the garden gate.

Although they could be your neighbors, they’re not.

He’s the longest-serving current justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In his office is a gift from his wife: A bust of his grandfather, whom he reveres.

This is the story of Justice Clarence and Virginia Lamp Thomas. For more information on this well-worth-seeing movie, please see https://www.justicethomasmovie.com.

Dr. Randy Elf’s June 2, 2020, U.S. Supreme Court brief on the constitutionality of law regulating political speech is at https://ssrn.com/abstract=3585160.

Copyright ç 2020 by Randy Elf.

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