O'Rourke: Turns Out My Wife and I Are Descendants of Slave Owners

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Posted: Jul 15, 2019 8:15 AM
O'Rourke: Turns Out My Wife and I Are Descendants of Slave Owners

Source: Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP, File

Democratic presidential candidate Robert “Beto” Francis O’Rourke revealed on Sunday that documents show he and his wife, Amy, are descendants of 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 said on Twitter. “I was recently given documents showing that both Amy and I are descended from people who owned slaves.”

He linked to a piece on Medium.com titled “Rose and Eliza,” referring to the two women listed in the property log of his paternal great-great-great grandfather, Andrew Cowan Jasper, in the 1850s.

Records also show his wife “had an ancestor who owned slaves and another who was a member of the Confederate Army.”

“I benefit from a system that my ancestors built to favor themselves at the expense of others,” he acknowledged. “That only increases the urgency I feel to help change this country so that it works for those who have been locked-out of — or locked-up in — this system.”

If elected president, O’Rourke vowed to make “significant changes” to education, health, economic, healthcare, and criminal justice policy. Additionally, he said he supported reparations.

“We all need to know our own story as it relates to the national story, much as I am learning mine,” he said in conclusion. “It is only then, I believe, that we can take the necessary steps to repair the damage done and stop visiting this injustice on the generations that follow ours.”