A quaint historical museum in Pin Point, Georgia, that is set to open this fall has become the target of an exhaustive ethics examination by the New York Times. Why would the Times devote almost 3,000 words to a community heritage museum? Pin Point, as it turns out, is also the birthplace of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and it was Thomas who introduced Pin Point residents to his friend Harlan Crow, a Dallas real-estate tycoon and major conservative donor, who would ultimately fund the museum. According to some legal analysts, Thomas’s role in Crow’s decision to donate may have troubling ethical implications.
Pin Point lies along the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor designated by Congress, a passage of coastal fishing towns settled by the descendants of slaves. Algernon Varn, whose father ran the fishing cannery there, long hoped to save the site from development, but it wasn’t until he bumped into Thomas, who was in town promoting his memoir, that the project began to move forward. Thomas introduced Varn to Crow, a longtime friend. Through an exhaustive paper trail review, the Times confirmed that Crow is the anonymous donor behind the $1.3 million restoration of the property and forthcoming museum project. Varn was told to keep Crow’s identity anonymous.