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.
Senator Ted Cruz's upset victory against Donald Trump has robbed "The Donald" of his stock answer to any criticism from rivals-- that he is winning and his critics are losers.
Random thoughts on the passing scene:
Of all the many things said about Donald Trump, what was said by Roger Ailes, head of the Fox News Channel, said it all in just two words: "Grow up!"
The latest tempest in a teapot controversy is over a lack of black nominees for this year's Academy Awards in Hollywood.
Former governor Sarah Palin is an intelligent person, contrary to how liberals have tried to portray her. So it seemed to me that, if anybody could explain why they were promoting the candidacy of Donald Trump, it would be Governor Palin.
Those of us who like to believe that human beings are rational can sometimes have a hard time trying to explain what is going on in politics. It is still a puzzle to me how millions of patriotic Americans could have voted in 2008 for a man who for 20 years -- TWENTY YEARS -- was a follower of a preacher who poured out his hatred for America in the most gross gutter terms.
After months of watching all sorts of political polls, we are finally just a few weeks away from actually beginning to see some voting in primary elections.
In recent years, a small but growing number of people have advocated a convention of states to propose amendments to the Constitution of the United States. The reaction to the proposal has been hostile, out of all proportion to either the originality or the danger of such a convention.
Those who have been marveling at Donald Trump's political showmanship were given a reminder of who is the top showman of them all, when President Barack Obama went on television to make a pitch for his unilateral actions to restrict gun sales and make a more general case for tighter gun control laws.
Engineers who design computerized products and services seem to have an almost fanatical determination to avoid using plain English.
How shall we remember 2015? Or shall we try to forget it?
The political left has been trying to run other people's lives for centuries. So we should not be surprised to see the Obama administration now trying to force neighborhoods across America to have the mix of people the government wants them to have.
The case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, involving racial double standards in admissions to the University of Texas at Austin, has an Alice-in-Wonderland quality that has been all too common in other Supreme Court cases involving affirmative action in academia, going all the way back to 1978.
When the President of the United States asks the television networks to set aside time for him to broadcast a speech from the Oval Office, we can usually expect that he has something new to say.
People who want to buy Christmas gifts, without having to confront the crowds at the local shopping mall (or shopping maul) can take a load off their feet by buying books or movies on the Internet, while sitting in the comfort of their own homes.
Storm trooper tactics by bands of college students making ideological demands across the country, and immediate preemptive surrender by college administrators -- such as at the University of Missouri recently -- bring back memories of the 1960s, for those of us old enough to remember what it was like being there, and seeing first-hand how painful events unfolded.
It is amazing how many different ways the same thing can be said, creating totally different impressions. For example, when President Barack Obama says that defeating ISIS is going to take a long time, how is that different from saying that he is going to do very little, very slowly? It is saying the same thing in different words.
There is a painful irony in a recent decision of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on the side of Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, whom the U.S. Department of Justice tried to stop from making charter schools widely available to minority youngsters in his state.
There was a painful irony when France's immediate response to the terrorist attacks in Paris was to close the borders. If they had closed the borders decades ago, they might have avoided this attack.
If the 2016 election comes down to Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump, my advice to the younger generation would be to try to find some other country to live in. Australia or New Zealand might be a good place to start looking.