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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell was born in North Carolina and grew up in Harlem. As with many others in his neighborhood, he 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, 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), he 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, he began the first of many professorships. His other teaching assignments include Rutgers University, Amherst University, Brandeis University and the University of California at Los Angeles, where he taught in the early ‘70s and also from 1984 to 1989.

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. Though 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. Currently Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, Calif. His writing is always strongly in favor of free-market economic policy and a libertarian social policy.