Anita Hill

Born:July 30, 1956 (age 67)
Education:J.D., Yale Law School
B.S., Oklahoma State University

Anita Hill is a professor of social policy, law, and women's studies at Brandeis University and a faculty member of Brandeis' Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Hill became a national figure in 1991 when she testified at the Senate confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas that he had sexually harassed her when he was her boss at the United States Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Hill was born July 30, 1956 in Lone Tree, Oklahoma. She received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Oklahoma State University in 1977 and her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 1980. She began her law career as an associate with a Washington, D.C. law firm. In 1981, she became an attorney-advisor to Clarence Thomas, then the assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. When Thomas became chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1982, Hill followed and served as his assistant. From 1983 to 1986, Hill was assistant professor at O. W. Coburn School of Law at Oral Roberts University. In 1986, she joined the faculty at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

In 1991, President George H. W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas, then a federal circuit judge, to the U.S. Supreme Court. After Senate confirmation hearings were initially completed with little opposition, a report of an interview of Hill by the FBI was leaked to the press. The hearings were reopened and Hill was called to testify. In her testimony, she said that Thomas had sexually harassed her while he was her supervisor at the Department of Education and the EEOC. After much debate, the Senate confirmed Thomas to the Supreme Court by a vote of 52–48. Hill's testimony increased the public's awareness of sexual harassment. In addition, the manner in which the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Hill during her testimony is said to have inspired the record number of women who ran for office and were elected to Congress in 1992, the "Year of the Woman."

Hill became a highly sought-after lecturer, speaking on racial and gender issues in the workplace. She has appeared on national programs, including "60 Minutes," "Face the Nation" and "Meet the Press." She has published articles on civil rights issues in "Newsweek" and the "New York Times"; authored two books, "Speaking Truth to Power" (1998) and "Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home" (2011); and served as the co-editor of "Race, Gender, and Power in America: The Legacy of the Hill-Thomas Hearings" (1995). In 2017, the Me Too movement (#MeToo) brought renewed media attention to Hill, and the newly-formed Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace selected Hill to lead its efforts against sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.

Photo by Gage Skidmore