U.S. Supreme Court

Justice Thomas Recalls Time as 'Lonely Kid' Before He Was Recruited to Holy Cross

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Justice Clarence Thomas became emotional during a speech at his college alma mater on Thursday as he remembered the time he had dropped out of the seminary and got kicked out of his home.

Thomas spoke to students at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., about the priest who recruited him to the school and mentored him during his time there, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, NECN.com and the Associated Press. A new book, Fraternity, chronicles the lives of Thomas and four other men nurtured by the priest and former college president, the Rev. John Brooks.

Before going to Holy Cross, he was just a “lonely kid,” Thomas said. “In the summer of 1968, I had no place to go and no idea what I was going to do,” Thomas said. “I was 19. “My only hope was Holy Cross College, a place I’d never seen and had barely heard of.”

At the school, Thomas said he “enjoyed the first brief glimpses of what it meant to be educated” and pledged to give up his anger. “It was here, directly in front of the chapel, on the morning of April 16, 1970, that I promised the Almighty God that if he took hate out of my heart I would never hate again,” Thomas recalled. “He did and I have not.”

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