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.
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."
In a country with more than 300 million people, it is remarkable how obsessed the media have become with just one -- Donald Trump. What is even more remarkable is that, after six years of repeated disasters, both domestically and internationally, under a glib egomaniac in the White House, so many potential voters are turning to another glib egomaniac to be his successor.
The refugee crisis in Europe is one of those human tragedies for which there are no real solutions, despite how many shrill voices in the media may denounce those who fail to come up with a solution.
Even those of us who are not supporters of either Donald Trump or Jeb Bush can learn something by comparing how each of these men handled people who tried to disrupt their question-and-answer period after a speech.
Despite a nuclear Iran looming on the horizon, the media seem to be putting most of their attention on two candidates for their respective parties' presidential nominations next year. Moreover, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each make their own party nervous.
One of the most lame excuses for doing nothing is that we can't do everything. Such excuses have been repeated endlessly, even by some conservatives, when it comes to illegal immigration.
Random thoughts on the passing scene: Stupid people can cause problems, but it usually takes brilliant people to create a real catastrophe.