Beto O’Rourke Announces That He And His Wife, Amy O’Rourke, Are Descended From Slave Owners
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced on Sunday that he had received documents from The Guardian that showed he and his wife Amy were descended from slave owners.
O’Rourke revealed the information in a Medium post as well as in an email to his supporters around the same time as The Guardian posted a story saying that it had informed the former congressman that “abundant documentation exists of his and his wife Amy’s ancestors’ slave-owning and their support for the Confederacy.” According to O’Rourke he and his wife had not known about the ties until the newspaper had approached them.
According to O’Rourke’s email, the documents given to him showed that his paternal great-great-great-grandfather had listed two women, Rose and Eliza, as possessions.
The former congressman wrote that his ancestors “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.”
He continued on by stating that the revelation “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.”
O’Rourke has repeatedly attempted to acknowledge and overcome the various privileges that he enjoys as a white, straight man. While speaking on The View earlier this year, the Texan said there are “things that I have been privileged to do in my life that others cannot,” and admitted regret over a Vanity Fair cover that coincided with his campaign kickoff and quoted him saying he was “just born to be in it.”
To combat the privileges given to him by birth, O’Rourke has announced several plans aimed at countering systemic and institutional discrimination against minorities. He has also changed his stance on reparations for African Americans, fully embracing the idea in recent appearances.