In June and July 2019, social media users shared reports that claimed one of the ancestors of 2020 presidential Democratic primary candidate and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was a slave owner on the Caribbean island of Jamaica.
Such claims were shared widely in the aftermath of the first round of Democratic primary debates, during which Harris brought racial issues to the fore by criticizing primary rival and former Vice President Joe Biden’s legislative record on busing, which she called “hurtful” to her as a black woman.
The focus on racial issues and Harris’ racial identity intensified after Donald Trump, Jr., son of President Donald Trump, briefly shared a tweet that averred: “Kamala Harris is *not* an American Black. She is half Indian and half Jamaican.” The source of that tweet, the @ali account, has consistently promulgated the claim that Harris is descended from “Jamaican Slave Owners.”
Amid the renewed scrutiny of Harris’ family history, the right-leaning website “Big League Politics” posted what it said were the names of the “slaves Kamala Harris’ ancestor owned,” adding:
“Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris is descended from Irish slave owner Hamilton Brown, the namesake of Brown’s Town in Jamaica, who recruited massive numbers of Irish migrants to Jamaica to work on his sugar plantations after the British empire abolished slavery.”