10 Things You Didn't Know About Clarence Thomas

10 interesting facts about the Supreme Court justice.

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1. When he was a 7-year-old in Pin Point, Ga., while his mother was working as a housecleaner and picking crabmeat to pay the bills, the family's house burned to the ground. He and his brother then went to live with his grandparents.

2. He intended to enter the priesthood and enrolled at the Immaculate Conception seminary in Conception, Mo., where there were only three other black students. He changed his mind on the day it was announced that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot, when one of the white students remarked, "That's good. I hope the son of a bitch dies."

3. After registering for the draft in 1966, he was reclassified in 1971 and rejected because of a curvature of the spine.

4. While employed at Monsanto Co. during the late '70s, he dealt with pesticide, fungicide, and rodenticide law.

5. He and his wife adopted his 6-year-old grandnephew out of a difficult home situation in 1997. He also has one adult son from a previous marriage.

6. Portraits of Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass hang in his Supreme Court chambers. Similar portraits hung inside the segregated library in Savannah, Ga., where he first learned to read. He also keeps a bronze bust of his grandfather that looks over him as he works.

7. Thomas has spent many hours helping black youths and arranging financial aid for them to attend private schools.

8. Sports have been a mainstay for Thomas. Though his grandfather did not allow him to compete in high school, he later played intramural football at Yale Law School. While in his 30s, he ran in the Marine Corps Marathon. Today, he lifts weights to stay in shape.

9. He is the only Supreme Court justice to have served as grand marshal at the Daytona 500.

10. Clarence Thomas is a NASCAR fanatic and enjoys watching basketball and football (he's a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan), driving his black Corvette ZR-1, and traveling around the country in his 40-foot custom-built bus.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Current Biography Yearbook 1992
U.S. News & World Report
Associated Press