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Black History Month - Great Figures of American History: Thomas Sowell

Black History Month - Great Figures of American History: Thomas Sowell

Black History Month Celebration

Each day this week we will be highlighting the life and work of a great Black American who has had a major influence on our nation's history. For each person we highlight, we will be providing a brief biography, a few quotes, and suggestions for further learning. (See all great figures.)

The first person we would like to highlight is Thomas Sowell. 

Thomas Sowell is an American economist, the author of forty-nine books as well as a syndicated newspaper column. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2002. He is currently the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

Born into a family of black sharecroppers in North Carolina in 1930, Sowell served in the Marine Corps and then studied briefly at Howard University before transferring to Harvard University where he graduated magna cum laude at the age of 28. Sowell was the first member of his household to proceed past the sixth grade.  Sowell received a master’s degree at Columbia and later a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968.

Sowell is an advocate of classical liberal economics and is considered an expert on the history of the complex social patterns of different racial, religious, and ethnic groups, and a student of the attitudes that motivate intellectuals’ political beliefs.

“There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.”
― Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”
― Thomas Sowell, Is Reality Optional?: And Other Essays

For further reading see: