Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) is the descendant of an Irishman who owned a slave plantation in Jamaica, according to her father’s lengthy ancestral summary of his side of the family.
Donald Harris, a Stanford University economics professor, revealed in 2018 that his grandmother was a descendant of Hamilton Brown, the namesake of Brown’s Town in northern Jamaica.
“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),” he wrote in a post for Jamaica Global.
Hamilton Brown built the town’s local Anglican Church, which is where Prof. Harris says his grandfather is buried. It is also where he himself was baptized and confirmed.
A research archive of Jamaican records indicate that at one point in 1817, Hamilton Brown owned scores of slaves. The majority were brought in from Africa, though he also owned many Creole slaves.
The Harris campaign has not commented on her father’s claims. It did not respond to a request for comment.
NBC News reported on Monday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s two great-great-grandfathers owned at least 14 slaves between the two of them in Alabama. The report tied McConnell’s ancestry to his position on government reparations for slavery, which he opposes.
McConnell responded to the report on Tuesday by comparing his stance to former president Barack Obama, who opposed reparations while acknowledging that some of his ancestors owned slaves.