Born in 1948 near Savannah, Georgia, to a farm worker and a domestic worker, Clarence Thomas was raised by his grandparents. The assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a profound impact on Thomas and changed the trajectory of his life. Rather than becoming a priest, he graduated with an honors degree in English from Holy Cross in 1971 and from Yale Law School in 1974. In 1990 President George H.W. Bush nominated Thomas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The following year, President Bush nominated him to the Supreme Court upon Thurgood Marshall's retirement. He was confirmed by the Senate in 1991, 52-48.