Research effects of father absence



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This child was born in 1948 in Georgia, the second of three children in an impoverished family. His mother worked as a maid. The town in which they lived lacked a sewage system or paved roads. When he was still a toddler, his father abandoned the family.

When he was seven, the one-room house he lived in with his mother and siblings burned to the ground. He and his brother were sent away to live with his maternal grandparents. In some ways, this was better -- he now ate regularly and lived in a house with indoor plumbing. But his childhood was unhappy. His grandfather, a demanding and strict religious man, sometimes made him feel ashamed of the poor community of his origins, and also of his difficulty speaking standard English.

The child was a good student, however, and in his spare time, he liked to go to the local library. Occasionally after school, he also accompanied his grandfather to work. When he was halfway through high school, he was sent to a seminary to become a priest. He did fairly well there, and then transferred to another seminary in Missouri. He was not happy at this school at all, and soon quit. After taking some time off, and extricating himself from his controlling grandfather, he re-enrolled in a different college, where he decided to major in English, and did very well, graduating ninth in his class.

After graduating, he married his college sweetheart, and was accepted on scholarship into one of the country's top law schools. When he successfully finished law school, he went to work in the Missouri Attorney General's office, and then for a large pharmaceutical company as a corporate lawyer. Through these experiences and the contacts he made, he secured a job with an administrative agency of the federal government. He worked at this job for some years, during which he went through a divorce and then, two years later, happily remarried.

In 1990, he was appointed to the position of judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

Subsequently, in a controversial nomination process, he was appointed to another judicial position. Some have claimed that emotional issues from his difficult childhood carried into his adult life. But no one could say that he did not achieve for himself extraordinary personal success. He is U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Clarence Thomas, a boy from a "fatherless home."

This fatherless child story was researched and co-written by Lisa M.

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* The term "fatherless" is used in this series as it is in current research and policy rhetoric by the U.S. federal government, DHHS and the National Fatherhood Initiative, most U.S. states in connection with child custody law and policy, and various family values and fatherhood interest policy and lobbying groups.

"...Just add Dad, the magic ingredient. It's hard to know where wishful thinking becomes deliberate deception. But this argument, advanced by the fathers' rights movement, is like saying that, since Mercedes Benz owners make more money than people who drive Hyundais, you will become wealthy if you buy a Mercedes..." Mike Peterson



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