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Officially selected Tuesday as presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris has already entered the crucible as progressives and conservatives fight for control over the narrative surrounding the candidate.
Coming as an unexpected hurdle alongside controversy surrounding Harris’ radical left primary platform, cutthroat prosecutorial record and sexual relationship with political superior Willie Brown, however, were the details of her lineage.
Unbeknownst to many, Harris is the descendant of prominent Jamaican slave owners, according to her father.
The news had first broken on Jan. 13, 2019, when Jamaica Global published a lengthy ancestry article written in September 2018 by Harris’ father, the prominent economist and Stanford University professor Donald Harris.
Born in British Jamaica himself before coming to the United States in 1963, the professor had contributed his 3,000-word article to the site, which highlights the “Jamaican diaspora” and its descendants worldwide, in an effort to reflect “on the ‘Jamaicanness’ of his daughter Kamala.”
According to the professor’s own account, he, his paternal grandmother and, by extension, his daughter were all descended from Jamaican plantation owner and Brown’s Town founder Hamilton Brown.
“My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown, descendant of Hamilton Brown who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town),” Harris wrote.
“The Harris name comes from my paternal grandfather Joseph Alexander Harris, land-owner and agricultural ‘produce’ exporter (mostly pimento or all-spice), who died in 1936 two years before I was born and is buried in the church yard of the magnificent Anglican Church which Hamilton Brown built in Brown’s Town (and where, as a child, I learned the catechism, was baptized and confirmed, and served as an acolyte).”
According to Snopes, no explicit evidence of the genealogical connection has ever been provided by the professor.
A Jamaican records archive unearthed in July 2019 by the Washington Free Beacon, however, did reveal that in 1817, Hamilton Brown owned a substantial number of slaves, some of whom were African while others were Creole.
This was all it took for some prominent conservative commentators and political operatives to revive the story, citing it as a major irony given the fact that it would make Harris a compulsory donor to, rather than a recipient of, the American left’s long-supported slavery reparations plan.
“Did you know: According to Kamala Harris’ father, her family descends from 19th-century slave owners in Jamaica,” Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk wrote on Twitter.
“Does she still support reparations or is she going to claim that she can’t be held responsible for the sins of her ancestors now?”
Did you know:
According to Kamala Harris' father, her family descends from 19th-century slave owners in Jamaica
Does she still support reparations or is she going to claim that she can't be held responsible for the sins of her ancestors now?
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) August 12, 2020
Another figure quick to highlight Harris’ lineage was right-wing author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who first mentioned the issue in an appearance on Fox News, claiming the candidate should not be considered African-American at all as a result of the development.
“Kamala Harris’s mom is Asian Indian. Her dad Donald Harris is by his own account descended from one of the largest slave planters in Jamaica,” D’Souza also wrote on Twitter. “In what sense then can she claim the African American experience of being descended from slaves and subject to segregation and Jim Crow?”
Kamala Harris’s mom is Asian Indian. Her dad Donald Harris is by his own account descended from one of the largest slave planters in Jamaica. In what sense then can she claim the African American experience of being descended from slaves and subject to segregation and Jim Crow?
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) August 12, 2020
“If the Democrats want persons descended from slaves to receive reparations from those descended from slaveowners, how much should Kamala Harris have to pay?” he later added.
If the Democrats want persons descended from slaves to receive reparations from those descended from slaveowners, how much should Kamala Harris have to pay?
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) August 12, 2020
Harris is far from the only American political figure to face scandal regarding slave-holding ancestry.
Several prominent statesmen have been canceled or seen their character assassinated as a result of such genealogical ties.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faced similar controversy last July, when NBC News unearthed evidence of his slave-holding ancestry from the 1850 and 1860 U.S. Censuses.
This proximity to slavery was, in the same breath, used to corner McConnell over his opposition to race-based financial reparations.
At the time of this report, left-wing politicians, commentators and establishment media figures were mum on the topic of Harris’ ancestry.