As the youngest of 13 children born to farmers in Oklahoma, Anita Hill carved an incredible path for herself as high school valedictorian and later as an honors student at both Oklahoma State University and Yale Law School. Yet despite all her accomplishments and long list of academic credentials - her position as a professor of women's studies, law, and social policy at Brandeis University, her former role as faculty at both Oral Roberts University and the University of Oklahoma College of Law, the fact that she published multiple books and articles, and her participation in various social justice and civil rights groups - she is generally remembered for one thing and one thing only: the allegations she made against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas that he had sexually harassed her while they worked together at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
When Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, Hill was interviewed by the FBI; when news of this interview and its contents were made public, Hill was called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Hill claimed that Thomas propositioned her several times, and, when she refused, continued to discuss graphic sexual material with her while at work. She also recalled his speaking with her about his own sexual activities and anatomy. Ultimately, despite Hill taking a polygraph that supported her allegations, Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48. The way Hill was treated by the Senate played a significant role in the marked increase in women seeking Congressional seats in the next election year; her legacy can be found in the increased awareness the government and society was forced to pay to issues of sexual harassment, even by the most powerful members of society.