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Anita Hill

BIRTHDAY: Sometime in 1956

Anita Hill grew up on a farm in Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, the youngest of 13 children. Her family was poor. She went through school to graduate from Yale Law School in 1980 and was soon offered a job by Judge Clarence Thomas, then the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights. She had always wanted to work for civil rights and readily accepted the job.

According to her testimony at the Senate confirmation hearings, for the next two years she was repeatedly asked out on dates by Judge Thomas, told graphic sexual details about his sexual prowess and about pornographic movies he had watched. In response she repeatedly and clearly told him she did not want to date her supervisor and began to suffer from job stress, even going to the hospital for five days for severe stomach pains. She worried that he would not give her good assignments or good references and that he might debase her work. When she was offered a teaching position at Oral Roberts University she accepted it.

When she left the employment of Clarence Thomas, he told her if she ever told how he had acted with her she would ruin his career.

She did not tell the authorities of her experiences with Thomas until specifically asked about him by a representative of the Senate Judiciary Hearing when Thomas was about to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. At that point, in spite of the possible risk to her career, she told the truth. Because of her bravery, many other women have been able to bring to light their own experiences with sexual harassment.

"It would have been more comfortable to remain silent. . . . But when I was asked by a representative of this committee to report my experience I felt that I had to tell the truth. I could not keep silent."


  • Yale Law School
  • Professor of Law at Oklahoma University

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