The author of the new book " Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words" asked the Supreme Court justice about his maternal grandfather. Thomas was 2 years old when his father left.

The new book is a follow up to the 2020 documentary about Thomas. Mark Paoletta was a former official in both the Bush and Trump administrations who played a key role in the confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court in 1991.

You lived with your grandparents in Georgia in 1955. What happened to that?

Clarence Thomas said that his mother had difficulty with two little boys and had to work as a maid because she was raising other people's kids. That meant babysitting. She asked my grandpa for help. My mother's stepmother suggested that my grandmother let her raise these two boys because she did not have children of her own.

My mother told us to put our things in the grocery bag when we woke up. Remember the paper bags? Neither of my brothers were full. We have all of our stuff. Imagine all the things you have in a single bag. We took our grocery bags and walked from Henry Lane to East Thirty- Second Street.

It was the most significant journey of my life. I walked along East Broad Street many times after that. I remember the first time I walked.

We lived with my grandpa and grandma.

When you showed up to your grandparents house, what happened on the other side?

My grandpa was a myth. When we lived on the West Side, we might have seen him a few times. The man was very stern. We were sitting at the kitchen table when he said the vacation was over. From then on it was going to be rules and regulations.

It's my goodness. He said it. He explained that my grandmother was correct when she said that he was in control. He made it clear that it was thanks to grace that we were there.

The door when we lived with him was swinging inward. There would be a day when we would be asked to leave if we didn't behave ourselves.

How much education did your grandfather have?

It was obvious that my grandfather was West African. He didn't know his father. He was born in the state of Georgia. When he was young, his mother died. He was raised by his grandmother after his mother's death.

He was raised on a family farm in Liberty County. The farm was close to where we lived. Since the Civil War, it has been in the family. His grandmother made him feel bad. He had to run down the road to the store when his grandmother would spit on the dirt. She told you to be back before it dries. That doesn't sound like a person who is warm and fuzzy.

A total of nine months was spent by my grandpa. One-room schools are located in Liberty County. School was three months out of the year when he was in the third grade. My grandpa was tall. He was strong and hard working.

He had lost a finger working on a boat. He talked about it even though he didn't worry about it. He lost his finger when his glove got caught up in some machinery. We weren't allowed to wear gloves much when we were working.

My grandpa worked at a lot of different things. He decided he wasn't going to work for anyone. He started selling wood. He would go to the woods at night to cut the wood and sell it during the day. He also sold ice and coal.

His coal and wood business transitioned into a fuel oil delivery business after the ice business stopped. He was delivering fuel oil when we lived with him.

Pack asks how your grandfather raised you.

My grandfather said he wouldn't tell me to do that. I will always tell you to do the right thing. I wondered who would put that burden on themselves because a kid sees all and a teenager knows more. That is the burden he puts on himself.

I asked my brother if he thought he was a hypocrite because of what he said. My brother didn't hesitate to say no. He admitted his mistakes and said, "Follow me."

We were forced to follow him. We wouldn't be allowed to play sports. We wouldn't be allowed to stray. We were kept close to him because we were his apprentices. We were to follow him because he was going to teach us. You will learn if you watch how I live.

It's impossible to have something and enjoy it. He would always point you in the right direction. He said there was a reason he had the house. I don't give money away on clothes or cars. I don't spend a lot of money. I don't drink a lot. One drink a day is what he did. It was necessary for you to work for it. Everything was related to the job. I don't know why I have this car. I don't spend money. He didn't buy a car because he didn't believe in debt On time, he didn't buy anything.

You pay with cash. He said that he could have this because he worked hard and didn't waste his money. If I went out and spent my money on drinks, I wouldn't be able to send you all to school. I couldn't raise you all. He would explain to you why it's possible.

He talked about the difference between what you are supposed to do and what you want to do. He said, "Don't confuse want and need." You don't really need a new suit. You don't need a new car. You were exposed to this dichotomy between what you want and what you need. He would keep telling you that.

Pack asked what it was like to work with him on the oil truck.

Today's oil trucks have a hose on the back. When you reached that point, you were required to be on the oil truck. We left school at 2:30. To get on the oil truck you had to be at home by 3. You grab a snack on the run and get ready to go. That was the way it was done.

You have to be prepared to work even in the spring. He did other things for you. I was always the one who went on the oil truck with him. He was the professor and you were not heard. Unless you wanted to clarify an instruction he had given, you couldn't start a conversation. You were always receiving one-way feedback. You had to be around him because you couldn't escape.

Didn't your grandfather take the truck's heating system out?

My grandpa bought a new truck in the 60's. He plugged in the heaters where it was left off. He thought that having heat in a truck during the winter made you lazy. You didn't want to go out in the cold. You could get cold from going from hot to cold.

I froze in that truck when he put that heater on a shelf in the garage.

Pack asked about the farm. What were your grandpa's plans for you there?

On our second Christmas with my grandparents, my grandpa said, "Let's go over to where I grew up on the farm." His Uncle Charles was the one who raised him. He drove up on the fields and we walked across the field to the tree where he was going to build the house. He marked it off after we stepped it off.

Cinder blocks were brought out. He began building a house every weekend and day off. There is a house there. We started farming again in the summer of 1959 after we finished that. I was 10 years old in 1957. We cleared the land and started building houses and chickens. It was necessary to dig a well for water. A pump house was built. It was going on all the time. Even if we couldn't hold a nail, we would still be there to hold it.

Why did he bring you to the farm?

He thought we needed to be kept busy during the summer because he thought we were getting up in age. He didn't want us in the city with people who were bad. He saiddle hands are the devil's workshop. Every time you went, that was the same thing. He wasn't going to let us do things without doing something.

He wanted us to experience the way he grew up as well. The best place to do that would be on the farm. There is a lot of labor to be found in your time. You woke up at a certain time. You worked hard. There's always more work than you have time for. He made us leave even if we couldn't do much. We cut down trees. He'd do it manually. You didn't use a chainsaw.

Everything seemed to be doubly hard. You say you can't do it, you're a child. He would say that the old man couldn't be dead and that he helped bury him. That wasn't just him talking to you. He was angry with you for wanting to quit. "You can't stop." He said it.

When you said you were leaving the seminary, what did your grandfather think?

The bottom had fallen out and there wasn't anything positive to be found anymore. The only thing I wanted to do was become a priest. It felt like I was in a freefall when that ended. I face my grandpa now. I would like to state that it was facing the music. It wasn't music but a stony silence. It was a cold day.

He took me to the living room, where he told me that the door had been open since 1955, when we moved there. I was going to leave his home. I should live like a man since I made the decisions.

I asked when. He said that he would never forget it. I asked if you would still help me with college. He denied. You are a person. You figure it out, right? There was an extra room in my mother's apartment.

Back in the ’80s, I began to quote from a speech by Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass had the courage to speak his mind. He reminds me of my grandpa. When people were upset with my grandfather, he would always say, "He's got a lifetime to get pleased." He didn't have a problem with it. He had a thought.

I don't like to think for others. My grandpa was the strongest person I have ever met. He would have succumbed to the circumstances surrounding him. If he had said, "Look, I was born in 1907 with no education; that determines the outcome in my life", what would it be like? Well, okay? In Georgia, I'm a beaten down black man. He didn't look at it like that. He stood above it all.

I would talk about the revolution and how awful this country was when I went back to my hometown. It was bad because I wouldn't comb my hair. He looked at me and said that he didn't raise me to be like this. This is what you have become after so much sacrifice.

My conduct was bad. I didn't think he was strong. He thought I had gone up North and become one of those stupid people. I had become something other than who I was meant to be and what I was raised to be.

You became the worst you could be and the best you could be at the same time. I was so different that he thought I would be. I wasn't told I had to agree with him. A man was raised by slaves. I don't know what to say to this black man who was born in 1907.

I asked my grandfather what he should do when he was criticized. I am being beaten up by these people. You have to stand up for what you believe in.

Did your thoughts drift back to when you were a child? Is this the end of your life?

Affirmative action, welfare policy, social policy, none of which had anything to do with anything, is something many people take bows for. The things that matter are the people, like my grandparents, and the nuns.

This wouldn't have happened if we talked about "but for" causation. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the nuns and my grandparents.

Supply hope was what my grandparents did when they took us. You are looking at a world that is not likely to get better. They said that they would prepare you for the challenges to come. The things you need will be given to you by us.

People think it's just education. They were aware that it was more than that. You need the things of life to get through life. They provided them.

My grandfather had nine months of education and my grandmother had six months. The poor black people in the Deep South knew how to survive. Their win was theirs. They had accomplished something. They had been proved correct.

Pack wants to return to your grandfather. When you were confirmed and sworn in as a justice, that was a victory for your grandpa. Now 26 years have passed. Is the Supreme Court confirmation a victory for him and his values?

Yes, Thomas. My wife made a bust of my grandpa and I kept it over me. Since I've been at the court, I've done that as well.

I want to be able to say to him, "I lived up to my oath and did my best" He would say it was a job well done. You do things correctly.

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