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.
Chickens are coming home to roost for Barack Obama, both at home and overseas. When he first entered the White house, to worldwide acclaim, and backed by huge majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, he could do whatever he wanted -- and could do no wrong, in the eyes of the mainstream media.
Why are we even talking about taking military action in Syria? What is that military action supposed to accomplish?
One of the many unintended consequences of the political crusade for increased homeownership among minorities, and low-income people in general, has been a housing boom and bust that left many foreclosed homes that had to be rented, because there were no longer enough qualified buyers.
Like other truly talented phonies, Barack Obama concentrates his skills on the effect of his words on other people -- most of whom do not have the time to become knowledgeable about the things he is talking about.
The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and of the Reverend Martin Luther King's memorable "I have a dream" speech, is a time for reflections -- some inspiring, and some painful and ominous.
Nothing symbolizes the Utopianism of our times like both liberals and some conservatives calling for us to cut off aid to the Egyptian military, because of the widespread killings in what is becoming a civil war in Egypt. Such utter lack of realism from the left is not new, but hearing some conservatives saying the same things takes some getting used to.
Two recent events -- one on the east coast and one on the west coast -- raise painful questions about whether we are really serious when we say that we want better education for minority children.
It is hard to read a newspaper, or watch a television newscast, without encountering someone who has come up with a new "solution" to society's "problems." Sometimes it seems as if there are more solutions than there are problems. On closer scrutiny, it turns out that many of today's problems are a result of yesterday's solutions.
Racial and ethnic leaders around the world who promote a separate cultural "identity" are inflicting a handicap on their own people.
Random thoughts from wise thinkers:
There are no winners in the trial of George Zimmerman. The only question is whether the damage that has been done has been transient or irreparable.
I am so old that I can remember when most of the people promoting race hate were white.
At the heart of the left's vision of the world is the implicit assumption that high-minded third parties like themselves can make better decisions for other people than those people can make for themselves.
The fundamental problem of the political left seems to be that the real world does not fit their preconceptions. Therefore they see the real world as what is wrong, and what needs to be changed, since apparently their preconceptions cannot be wrong.
The political left has long claimed the role of protector of "the poor." It is one of their central moral claims to political power. But how valid is this claim?
When teenage thugs are called "troubled youth" by people on the political left, that tells us more about the mindset of the left than about these young hoodlums.
Edmund Burke said, "There is no safety for honest men, but by believing all possible evil of evil men." Evil men do not always snarl. Some smile charmingly. Those are the most dangerous.
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.