- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke revealed Sunday that he and his wife are descendants of slave owners.

In a Medium post, the former congressman said he recently obtained documents that revealed his paternal great-great-great-grandfather, Andrew Cowan Jasper, owned two women by the names of Rose and Eliza in the 1850s. His maternal great-great-great-grandfather, Frederick Williams, also “most likely” owned slaves in the 1860s, Mr. O’Rourke wrote.

Documents also showed that Amy O’Rourke, who married Mr. O’Rourke in 2005, had an ancestor who owned slaves and another who was a member of the Confederate Army, the former congressman revealed.

“Something that we’ve been thinking about and talking about in town hall meetings and out on the campaign — the legacy of slavery in the United States — now has a much more personal connection,” Mr. O’Rourke wrote in the post. “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,” he continued. “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.”



Mr. O’Rourke, who has repeatedly stated that racism and white supremacy are an institutionalized American problem, went on to promise that if elected president, he would support slavery reparations among a host of other policies tackling racial injustice, including education and criminal justice reform.

“We all need to know our own story as it relates to the national story, much as I am learning mine,” he wrote. “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.”

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