Above: Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris 1
September 14, 2018 - Vol. 2, Issue 2
Fighting the Fight:
African Americans in Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings
The Honorable Carol Moseley Braun
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Charles Ogletree
Will Gunn
In light of the recent U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh , Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris are only the second and third African American senators to participate in U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court nominee, behind The Honorable Carol Moseley Braun . Booker’s releasing Kavanaugh‘s “confidential committee” emails on Kavanaugh’s affirmative action based policies and racial prof iling potentially put him in jeopardy of losing his senate seat. 2 However, in this historic movement we are reminded of the importance of African American representation. Historically, Supreme Court nominee confirmation hearings have been dominated by white men and the subject of race has equally been misrepresented in those spaces.

In 1991, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee gathered to confirm the nomination of then Judge Clarence Thomas. During the confirmation hearings, the testimony of Anita Hill sparked a national debate. Professor Charles P. Henry wrote that, “ The virtual absence of women and minorities in the Senate indicates that neither group is represented in politics at the national level. 3 There was a chance that the all-white, all-male Senate Judiciary Committee would proceed to vote on the nomination of Thomas without considering the charges leveled against him. But in a monumental display of solidarity, seven female Democratic members of the House of Representatives and Washington D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton marched over to the Senate to demand justice and representation. 4 The Senate later agreed to hear testimonies related to Thomas’ alleged illicit misconduct. “P eople were looking at the Senate for the first time and not seeing anybody that looked like them, paying attention to the process, and the proceedings, and to the power that these guys had .” 5 [ The Honorable Carol Moseley Braun, THMDA, 1.5.1. ]. In this highly publicized context, it was clear that African Americans were significantly underrepresented in national public office. Law professor Charles Ogletree and attorney for Ms. Hill added: “ The reality is that it took a whole new sense because the white men on this Judiciary Committee had never dealt with this issue, race and gender. And they thought that when he's talking about ‘hi-tech legal lynching of uppity blacks,’ talking about males, what about Anita Hill? It was a hi-tech legal lynching of her by the senators, who happened to be white. And they didn't understand gender at all. They didn't understand race and gender, how that made a big difference. 6 [ Charles Ogletree, THMDA, 5.14.4. ]. Equally important was the African American representation presence. Military officer and defense lawyer Will Gunn commented: “ But then just to see the drama involved with Anita Hill and the allegations coming forward and then my mentor Charles Ogletree serving as her advisor. And so seeing him on TV you know beside her, it was fascinating, truly fascinating. 7 [ Will Gun, THMDA, 1.6.9. ].

Later in 1993, The Honorable Carol Moseley Braun became the first African American senator to participate in the confirmation hearings for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg , where she famously interrupted Senator Orrin Hatch’s line of questioning when he likened the ruling of the Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery in 1857 to Roe v. Wade: “ I find it very difficult to sit here as the only descendant of a slave, in this committee, in this body, and hear a defense, an intellectual argument that would suggest there is a rationale -- an intellectual rationale, a legal rationale for slavery that can be discussed in this chamber .” 8 It is hard to believe that it would take 25 years for another African American senator to participate in a Senate Judiciary confirmation, but that is what we are witnessing today.
Scholarly Reviews of The HistoryMakers Digital Archive
" I have found the Fauntroy interviews in The HistoryMakers Digital Archive to be immensely helpful and have been using them, along with material from the Fauntroy papers at GWU, in a paper on non-voting members of Congress. The fact that the interviews are transcribed has been particularly valuable. Thanks, as well, for sending the demo link – I was able to find some other interviews of interest for my project. Really great to connect with you and thanks for all you and your team are doing!"
- Elliot Mamet, Ph.D Student in Political Science
 Duke University
On the Move:
The HistoryMakers in Florida
Above: Interviewer Larry Crowe and Videographer Matthew Hickey. 9
This past week, The HistoryMakers conducted seven new interviews in the Orlando/Tampa area including: Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas , journalist and lawyer Jeraldine Williams-Shaw , attorney Delano Stewart , lawyer and association chief executive Carolyn House Stewart , office administrator Terri Lipsey Scott , city historian and city government official Charles "Fred" Hearns , and National Football League Hall of Famer and sports chief executive Derrick Brooks , whose interview was made possible through a partnership with the NFL. This partnership, spearheaded by Jeff Pash , NFL General Counsel and Tracy Perlman , Senior Vice President, Football Communications and Marketing of the NFL, is helping us grow our SportsMakers category.
Heroes And Legends Awards 2018
On September 23, 2018 the 29th Annual HAL Awards will take place at the historic Beverly Hills Hotel in California. The awards were started nearly thirty years ago by HistoryMaker, songwriter and Motown alumna Janie Bradford who recognized a lack of funding available for students involved in performance and creative arts. Bradford created the HAL Scholarship Fund in 1990 for students pursuing degrees in music, art, theatre and other creative areas. The 2018 HAL Award Honorees include: executive producer Suzanne de Passe , singer and producer Deniece Williams , musical group The Undisputed Truth , producer and songwriter Art Stewart , singer Keith Washington , musician McKinley Jackson and the musical group Switch . Presenters include: HistoryMakers singer-songwriter Claudette Robinson , record executive Miller London , recording artist Mary Wilson , singer and actress Freda Payne , recording artist Martha Reeves and singer and actress Thelma Houston, as well as musical publishing executive Jon Platt and musician Lenny Williams .
The HistoryMakers Welcomes:
Southeast Missouri State University
Southeast Missouri State University has become the latest institution to join The HistoryMakers Digital Archive subscribing family, bringing our total to 51 institutions! Welcome! Our thanks go out to James Newman , Associate Professor of Political Science and Randyn Heisserer-Miller, Acquisitions Coordinator for making this happen!
Special Thanks to the Center for Research Libraries
We also want to thank Bernard F. Reilly , Mary Wilke and Francis Alba from the Center for Research Libraries for all the great work that they are doing to increase our presence in the higher education community.
Bernard F. Reilly, President
Center for Research Libraries
In Remembrance of our MediaMaker
Ken Smikle
Our friend and HistoryMaker Ken Smikle President and Founder of Target Market News and husband of HistoryMaker and journalist Renee Ferguson , passed away on September 12, 2018 at the age of 66. Our hearts are sad here at The HistoryMakers. We interviewed Ken Smikle for our archive almost 12 years ago on December 15, 2006, and when asked what he wanted his legacy to be he responded poignantly with the following; " I learned that at the time that I had the heart attack, I found out what I meant to people. The way they came to me. It was the most humbling and gratifying experience, albeit that I cheated death. But it was very humbling and eye opening to see people come to me and talk about, 'Oh yeah, you know, if you hadn't been gone....' I don't think we really appreciate or really understand what it is we mean to other people. And whatever that is, that's your legacy. I think we all have multiple legacies and the most that we can do is to be good people to live with integrity, to live to be of service to other people and the legacy part will take care of itself. " 10 [ Ken Smikle, THMDA, 1.9.2. ].
" I'm not an optimist because I do not believe that everything ends well. I am not a pessimist because I do not believe that everything ends badly. But I could not accomplish anything if I did not have hope within me. For the gift of hope is as big a gift as the gift of life itself. "
-The Honorable James Joseph
Please share with us your stories of how you incorporate The HistoryMakers Digital Archive into your curriculum and research. We'd love to hear from you!

1. BANNER PHOTO: https://www.glamour.com/story/kamala-harris-cory-booker-first-black-members-senate-judiciary-committee-this-century.
2. Li Zhou and Kay Steiger, “A Republican senator threatened to kick Cory Booker out of the Senate over releasing ‘confidential’ emails,” Vox, September 6, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/9/6/17825596/cory-booker-brett-kavanaugh-hearing-emails .
3. Charles P. Henry, “Clarence Thomas and the National Black Identity,” The Black Scholar, Vol. 22 No. 1-2 (Winter 1991, Spring 1992): 40-41.
4. Ken Rudin, “On this Day in 1991: House Members March to Senate in Thomas Protest,” NPR, October 8, 2010, https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2010/10/07/130415738/on-this-day-in-1991-female-house-members-march-to-senate-in-thomas-protest .
5. The Honorable Carol Moseley Braun (The HistoryMakers A2002.024), interviewed by Julieanna L. Richardson, March 19, 2002, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 5, story 1, Carol Moseley Braun recalls the confirmation hearing for Clarence.
6. Charles Ogletree (The HistoryMakers A2003.075), interviewed by Julieanna L. Richardson, August 10, 2014, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 5, tape 14, story 5, Charles Ogletree talks about responses to Anita Hill's testimony during Clarence Thomas' 1991 Senate Confirmation Hearing. 
7. Will Gunn (The HistoryMakers A2013.158), interviewed by Larry Crowe, July 26, 2013, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 6, story 9, Will Gunn talks about Clarence Thomas' controversial confirmation hearings as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
8. Linda M. Harrington, Elaine S. Povich, Linda P. Campbell, “Moseley-Braun Chastises Senate, Chamber Reverses Vote After Racial Sensitivity Lesson,” Chicago Tribune, July 23, 1993, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1993-07-23/news/9307230158_1_carol-moseley-braun-single-most-painful-episode-racial-symbols .
9. PHOTO: Interviewer Larry Crowe and Videographer Matthew Hickey.
10. Ken Smikle (The HistoryMakers A2006.174), interviewed by Larry Crowe, December 15, 2006, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 9, story 2, Ken Smikle reflects upon his legacy.
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