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.
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.
Dr. Ben Carson's whole life has been very unusual, so perhaps we should not be surprised to see the latest twist -- the media going ballistic over discrepancies in a few things he said.
A recent, widely publicized incident in which a policeman was called to a school classroom to deal with a disruptive student has provoked all sorts of comments on whether the policeman used "excessive force."
Many people may share Senator Bernie Sanders' complaint that he was tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton's e-mails. But the controversy is about issues far bigger than e-mails.
At the recent televised debate among candidates for the Democrats' nomination for president, Hillary Clinton declared that "the wealthy pay too little" in taxes and "the middle class pays too much."
In recent months there have been a series of cases reported in the media, where some teenage thug -- white, black or Hispanic in different cases -- has been stopped by a policeman for some routine violation of the law and, instead of complying with lawful instructions, such as "show me your driver's license," chooses instead to defy the policeman, resist arrest and finally ends up physically assaulting the cop.
The grand illusion of zealots for laws preventing ordinary, law-abiding people from having guns is that "gun control" laws actually control guns. In a country with many millions of guns, not all of them registered, this is a fantasy and a farce.
President Obama's intrusion into the mourning community of Roseburg, Oregon, in order to promote his political crusade for stronger gun control laws, is part of a pattern of his using various other sites of shooting rampages in the past to promote this long-standing crusade of the political left.
The prevailing social dogma of our time -- that economic and other disparities among groups are strange, if not sinister -- has set off bitter disputes between those who blame genetic differences and those who blame discrimination.
One of the secrets of successful magicians on stage is directing the audience's attention to something that is attractive or distracting, but irrelevant to what is actually being done. That is also the secret of successful political charlatans.
One of the many painful signs of the mindlessness of our times was a recent section of the Wall Street Journal, built around the theme "What's Holding Women Back in the Workplace?"
Nowhere has there been so much hand-wringing over a lack of "affordable housing," as among politicians and others in coastal California. And nobody has done more to make housing unaffordable than those same politicians and their supporters.
Pope Francis has created political controversy, both inside and outside the Catholic Church, by blaming capitalism for many of the problems of the poor. We can no doubt expect more of the same during his visit to the United States.
A hostile review of my new book -- "Wealth, Poverty and Politics" -- said, "there is apparently no level of inequality of income or opportunity that Thomas Sowell would consider unacceptable."