Beto O'Rourke backs reparations for black people after revealing he descended from slave owners


Democrat presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke has revealed that he is descended from slave owners, after he discovered documents in which an ancestor listed two women as property.

The former House representative from El Paso, Texas, published a Medium blog post in which he said his ancestors had left two women, Rose and Eliza, to others in their will.

Writing on the blog, he said he was given documents showing "both Amy [O’Rourke, his wife] and I are descended from people who owned slaves".

“Along with other possessions listed in their property log were two human beings, Rose and Eliza”.

He continued: “A paternal great-great-great grandfather of mine, Andrew Cowan Jasper, owned these two women in the 1850s. There are also records showing that a maternal great-great-great grandfather, Frederick Williams, most likely owned slaves in the 1860s”.

Records also showed that Amy had an ancestor who owned slaves and another who was a member of the Confederate Army.

O’Rourke, who supports paying reparations to ancestors of slaves, admitted that he and his wife benefited from slave ownership.

“Ownership of other human beings conferred advantages not just to Andrew Jasper and Frederick Williams, but to Jasper’s and Williams’ descendants as well,” he said.

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.

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.

This comes after NBC News published findings from the US census records showing that senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is descended from slave owners after he opposed reparations.

He said: "I don't think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea.

We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We’ve elected an African American president.

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