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Election 2020

Beto O’Rourke Is Descended from Slave Owners

The 2020 Democratic candidate from Texas reveals on Twitter the details of a piece of his personal ancestry he recently discovered

Robert Francis O’Rourke, the Texas Democrat who lost his race last fall to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), has been running for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

Now he’s saying on Twitter that both he and his wife, Amy, are descended from slave owners.

“Something that we’ve been talking about in town hall meetings — the legacy of slavery in the United States — now has a much more personal connection,” O’Rourke wrote to his followers.

“I was recently given documents showing that both Amy and I are descended from people who owned slaves.”

O’Rourke also included a link to an article he wrote for Medium.com called “Rose and Eliza.”

That’s a reference to the slaves he says one of his distant relatives owned.

“A paternal great-great-great grandfather of mine, Andrew Cowan Jasper, owned these two women in the 1850s,” O’Rourke attested.

O’Rourke’s revelation of his ancestry comes as key Democrats continue to have heated debates and discussions about reparations for the descendants of slaves ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), among other candidates, has also supported reparations for the descendants of slaves. America “must confront the dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination in this country,” she said not long ago, “including undermining the ability of black families to build wealth in America for generations.” Warren also wants reparations for Native-Americans and for gay couples, too. 

Related: Beto Would Support Reparations for Slavery if Elected

O’Rourke also wrote the following on Medium.com about the slavery issue: “Ownership of other human beings conferred advantages not just to Andrew Jasper and Frederick Williams, but to Jasper’s and Williams’ descendants as well. They were able to build wealth on the backs and off the sweat of others, wealth that they would then be able to pass down to their children and their children’s children. In some way, and in some form, that advantage would pass through to me and my children.”

“I benefit from a system that my ancestors built to favor themselves at the expense of others.”

“That those enslaved Americans owned by my ancestors were denied their freedom, denied the ability to amass wealth, denied full civil rights in America after slavery, also had long-term repercussions for them and their descendants,” he added — also noting, “I benefit from a system that my ancestors built to favor themselves at the expense of others.”

“That only increases the urgency I feel to help change this country,” he said.

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