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Politics

Beto O’Rourke says he had a relative who owned slaves

Beto O’Rourke
Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke speaks at a Democratic event in New Hampshire on Saturday.
(Cheryl Senter / Associated Press)

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke says he was recently given documents showing that both he and his wife are descended from people who owned slaves.

In a post Sunday night for the website Medium, the former Texas congressman wrote that the documents showed that one of his paternal great-great-great grandfathers owned two women in the 1850s.

He said records also showed that one ancestor of his wife, Amy, owned slaves while another was part of the Confederate Army.

O’Rourke noted that he had spoken about the legacy of slavery in the U.S. while campaigning but that such discussions now had “a much more personal connection.”

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His revelation follows recent reports that census records show two of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s great-great-grandfathers were slave owners.


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