Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas by Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson:
Not surprisingly, Thomas’s staff seemed to be composed of deferential people who could be counted on to agree with him. (Many of these same staff members would testify for him during the hearings.) Among them was his secretary, Diane Holt, whom he brought with him from the Department of Education. Another close aide was his assistant and personal friend J. C. Alvarez, who had also previously worked for Senator Danforth.
An especially loyal member of this group, who called himself Thomas’s “confidential assistant,” was Armstrong Williams, who came to work for Thomas in January 1983. A suave and stylish African-American, Williams was a protégé of the former segregationist Strom Thurmond and had a flair for social networking. Williams caught Thomas’s attention when, as a low-level aide at the Department of Agriculture, he managed to convince Richard Pryor to speak at a Reagan administration event commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The bold stroke turned into a publicity coup that helped deflect attention from Reagan’s opposition to making King’s birthday a national holiday.