Twenty years ago the country watched a political drama unfold onscreen. Clarence Thomas, then a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was nominated to the Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush in July of 1991. He went through the usual battery of Senate questioning in September. His confirmation seemed controversial but likely, until a young law professor named Anita Hill changed him with sexual harassment. The Hill-Thomas hearings riveted the nation.
Patricia Williams is a professor at Columbia Law school and watched the Hill-Thomas hearings closely. Emily May is the founder and executive director of Hollaback, an international movement to end street harrassment. May was only ten years old in 1991, but she remembers the hearings vividly.