April 10, 2023


Here's What Happened After Clarence Thomas' Benefactor Let Scholars Dine Near His Nazi Memorabilia (David Corn, 4/10/23, MoJo)

In April 2019, the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, which had been created in 2018 by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences "to explore how best to respond to the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in our political and civic life," conducted a meeting at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The commission was comprised of accomplished academics, artists, government officials, and journalists drawn from across the country. The evening before the session, the members dined at Crow's estate. 

"We were told he had a collection of Americana, some of it from the Revolutionary War," says AAA&S president David Oxtoby, "and we thought that would be a nice connection."

The dinner was held in a section of Crow's library where, according to Oxtoby, no offensive or controversial material was in view. But members were invited to examine the rest of the collection in other rooms, and several who did encountered disturbing items. This past weekend, danah boyd, the tech scholar and Microsoft employee who was a commission member, tweeted about that evening. She said she had been "deeply shaken by the Nazi memorabilia." She added, "Years later, I still shudder thinking about the Nazi uniform decorations in Harlan Crow's house. And the painting... And the 'antebellum' (pro slavery) artifacts."

Ethan Zuckerman, a University of Massachusetts, Amherst professor of public policy, communication, and information, was also part of the group, and he echoed boyd's reaction with his own tweets. He recalled, "What struck me was that Crow clearly knew there was controversy in deciding to keep Nazi artifacts in his house. In a display room off the balcony to his library was a set of swastika emblazoned dishes, silverware and linens," he wrote, explaining that the items were behind a leather cover.

Posted by at April 10, 2023 6:06 PM