According to Harris’ father, Donald Harris, a retired Stanford University economics professor, the Harris family descends from a 19th-century slave owner, Hamilton Brown.
“My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (Christiana Brown, descendant of Irish-born Hamilton Brown who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town) and to my maternal grandmother Miss Iris (Irsi Finegan, farmer and educator, from Ainon Town and Inverness, ancestry unknown to me.)”
“The Harris name comes from my paternal grandfather Joseph Alexander Harris, land-owner and agricultural ‘produce’ exporter…” Harris allegedly wrote in an article for Jamaica Global.
Hamilton Brown owned multiple plantations throughout the 19th-century, even going so far as to say slaves were “comfortable” in Jamaica, according to an article from 1832 entitled “Three months in Jamaica” that documented life on sugar plantations.
Hamilton Brown is said to have advocated against the abolition of slavery, according to the article. Mr Harris’ claims remain unproven with no verifiable information supporting the claim that the Harris family descended from Hamilton Brown.
Kamala Harris has voiced her support for studying reparations for black Americans impacted by the effects of slavery and racial discrimination, but says she’s not sure what exactly those reparations would look like.
“This stuff needs to be studied, because America needs a history lesson, and to be honest about it, and we need to study it in a way that we are having a very comprehensive and fact-based conversation about policies and the connection between those policies and harm if we’re going to have a productive conversation. It can’t just be, ‘Hey…write some checks’,” said Harris while speaking in Iowa in 2019.