Thomas Sowell was born in North Carolina and grew up in Harlem. As with many others in his neighborhood, Thomas Sowell left home early and did not finish high school. The next few years were difficult ones, but eventually he joined the Marine Corps and became a photographer in the Korean War. After leaving the service, Thomas Sowell entered Harvard University, worked a part-time job as a photographer and studied the science that would become his passion and profession: economics.
After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University (1958), Thomas Sowell went on to receive his master's in economics from Columbia University (1959) and a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago (1968).
In the early '60s, Sowell held jobs as an economist with the Department of Labor and AT&T. But his real interest was in teaching and scholarship. In 1965, at Cornell University, Sowell began the first of many professorships. Thomas Sowell's other teaching assignments include Rutgers University, Amherst College, Brandeis University and the University of California at Los Angeles, where he taught in the early '70s and also from 1984 to 1989.
Thomas Sowell has published a large volume of writing. His dozen books, as well as numerous articles and essays, cover a wide range of topics, from classic economic theory to judicial activism, from civil rights to choosing the right college. Moreover, much of his writing is considered ground-breaking -- work that will outlive the great majority of scholarship done today.
Though Thomas Sowell had been a regular contributor to newspapers in the late '70s and early '80s, he did not begin his career as a newspaper columnist until 1984. George F. Will's writing, says Sowell, proved to him that someone could say something of substance in so short a space (750 words). And besides, writing for the general public enables him to address the heart of issues without the smoke and mirrors that so often accompany academic writing.
In 1990, he won the prestigious Francis Boyer Award, presented by The American Enterprise Institute.
Currently Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, Calif.
Amid all the heated cross-currents of debate about the National Security Agency's massive surveillance program, there is a growing distrust of the Obama administration that makes weighing the costs and benefits of the NSA program itself hard to assess.
The headline on the front page of the New York Times said it all: "Women in the Senate Confront the Military on Sex Assaults."
One of the most common arguments for allowing more immigration is that there is a "need" for foreign workers to do "jobs that Americans won't do," especially in agriculture.
Everyone recognizes the greatness of a relief pitcher like Mariano Rivera, but how many recognize the greatness of a general who can come into a military situation that looks hopeless and rescue the troops and the country from utter disaster?
One of the many sad signs of our times is the way current immigration issues are discussed. A hundred years ago, the immigration controversies of that era were discussed in the context of innumerable facts about particular immigrant groups. Many of those facts were published in a huge, multi-volume 1911 study by a commission headed by Senator William P. Dillingham.
We have truly entered the world of "Alice in Wonderland" when the CEO of a company that pays $16 million a day in taxes is hauled up before a Congressional subcommittee to be denounced on nationwide television for not paying more.
This time of year, as college students return home for the summer, many parents may notice how many politically correct ideas they have acquired on campus. Some of those parents may wonder how they can undo some of the brainwashing that has become so common in what are supposed to be institutions of higher learning.
An all too familiar scene was enacted on the campus of Swarthmore College during a meeting on May 4th to discuss demands by student activists for the college to divest itself of its investments in companies that dealt in fossil fuels.
There can be honest differences of opinion on many subjects. But there can also be dishonest differences. Last week's testimony under oath about events in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 makes painfully clear that what the Obama administration told the American people about those events were lies out of whole cloth.
If there is ever a contest for words that substitute for thought, "diversity" should be recognized as the undisputed world champion.
If you are driving along and suddenly see a big red rubber ball come bouncing out into the street, you might want to put your foot on the brake pedal, because a small child may well come running out into the street after it.
While it is not possible to answer all the e-mails and letters from readers, many are thought-provoking, whether those thoughts are positive or negative.
Someone called politics "the art of the possible." But, in the era of the modern welfare state, politics is largely the art of the impossible.
Whose interests are immigration laws supposed to serve -- and whose interests do current immigration reform proposals actually serve?
Britain's late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said it all when she wrote that the world has "never ceased to be dangerous," but the West has "ceased to be vigilant."
During decades of watching both collegiate and professional football, I have seen hundreds of touchdowns scored by black players -- but not one extra point kicked by a black player.
Most laws are meant to stop people from doing something, and to penalize those who disregard those laws.
Amid all the heated, emotional advocacy of gun control, have you ever heard even one person present convincing hard evidence that tighter gun control laws have in fact reduced murders?
New York City's Stuyvesant High School is one of those all too rare public schools for intellectually outstanding students.
Since when has it been considered smart to tell your enemies what your plans are?
Report: Boehner Won't Bring Immigration Bill to the Floor Without Majority of Republicans On Board | Guy Benson