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.
Back in the heyday of the British Empire, a man from one of the colonies addressed a London audience.
Within our own country there are all too many signs of people blithely ready to sacrifice the interests or freedom of Americans for the sake of symbolism or passing fashions.
Pundits are pointing to President Barack Obama's recent decline in public opinion polls, and saying that he may now become another "lame duck" president, unable to accomplish much during his final term in office. That has happened to other presidents. But it is extremely unlikely to happen to this president. There are reasons why other presidents have become impotent during their last years in office. But those reasons do not apply to Barack Obama.
The news from Iraq that Islamic terrorists have now taken over cities that American troops liberated during the Iraq war must have left an especially bitter after-taste to Americans who lost a loved one who died taking one of those cities, or to a survivor who came back without an arm or leg, or with other traumas to body or mind.
Not since a 42-to-1 underdog named Buster Douglas knocked out undefeated heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in 1990 has there been an upset like economics professor Dave Brat defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary in Virginia.
People are arguing about what the United States got out of the deal that swapped five top level terrorist leaders for one American soldier who was, at best, absent from his post in a war zone. Soldiers who served in the same unit with him call him a deserter. The key to this deal, however, is less likely to be what the United States got out of the deal than it is about what Barack Obama got out of the deal. If nothing else, it instantly got the veterans' hospitals scandals off the front pages of newspapers and pushed these scandals aside on television news programs.
At one time, people in India had to get on a waiting list to buy Hindustan Motors' Ambassador automobile, even though it was an obvious copy of Britain's Morris Oxford of some decades earlier. The reason was simple: the Indian government would not allow cars to be imported to compete with it.
Will the Veterans Administration scandal wake up those people who have been blithely saying that what we need is a "single payer" system for medical care?
Many years ago, in upstate New York, there was a lady who was caught in a fierce snow storm that produced conditions called a "whiteout." That's when the snow is falling so thick and fast that all you can see in any direction is just sheer white.
A political battle that is shaping up in San Francisco has implications for other communities across the country. he issue that will be on the June ballot is whether voter approval shall be required to change the height restrictions on buildings along the San Francisco waterfront.
There seems to be a full-court press on to get colleges to "do something" about rape on campus. But there seems to be remarkably little attention paid to two crucial facts: (1) rape is a crime and (2) colleges are not qualified to be law-enforcement institutions.
If you want to get some idea of the moral bankruptcy of our educational system, read an article in the May 4th issue of the New York Times Magazine titled, "The Tale of Two Schools."
Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker was internationally renowned within the economics profession, but was not nearly as well known among the general public as he deserved to be. More important, his path-breaking ideas, including his analysis of the economics of racial discrimination, deserved to be much more a part of the many discussions of that subject.
Dunbar High School in Washington is becoming a controversial issue again -- and the controversy that is beginning to develop has implications for American education well beyond the District of Columbia.
It is not easy to demonize people who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars of their own money to help educate poor children. But some members of the education establishment are taking a shot at it.
Of all the cynical frauds of the Obama administration, few are so despicable as sacrificing the education of poor and minority children to the interests of the teachers' unions.
Income inequality has long been one of the liberals' favorite issues. So there is nothing surprising about its being pushed hard this election year.
Liberals can be disarming. In fact, they are for disarming anybody who can be disarmed, whether domestically or internationally.
Liberals advocate many wonderful things. In fact, I suspect that most conservatives would prefer to live in the kind of world envisioned by liberals, rather than in the kind of world envisioned by conservatives.
The "war on women" political slogan is in fact a war against common sense.