NBC News reports that Census records show that two great-great-grandfathers of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were slave owners.
The two great-great-grandfathers, James McConnell and Richard Daley, owned a total of at least 14 slaves in Limestone County, Alabama — all but two of them female, according to the county “Slave Schedules” in the 1850 and 1860 censuses.
The details about McConnell’s ancestors, discovered by NBC News through a search of ancestry and census records, came in the wake of recent hearings on reparations before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Asked about the reparations issue, McConnell, R-Ky., said he was opposed to the idea, arguing it would be hard to figure out whom to compensate.
“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, when none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea,” he said June 18, a day before the House reparations hearing. “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.”
Yeah, we let you have that black guy! We didn’t let him pass legislation or appoint anyone to the Supreme Court, but it was progress!
No one claims descendents should be held personally responsible for paying reparations, of course. But those families did build intergenerational wealth based on slave labor, and it seems like the least Mitch could do is to stop suppressing black Americans’ right to vote.