September 18, 2021

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Some ancestors of Joe Biden enslaved people, according to a new genealogy of the 46th president of the United States.

According to Alexander Bannerman, co-author with Gary Boyd Roberts of an article in American Ancestors Magazine, Biden’s great-great-grandfather on his father’s side, Jesse Robinett, was listed in the 1800 census as a two-person slaver in Allegany County, Maryland.

Bannerman also said that Politico’s documents show that in 1850, another great-great-great-grandfather of Biden in Maryland, Thomas Randle, enslaved a 14-year-old male. Randle was still listed as a one-man slaver in 1860, a year before the outbreak of the American Civil War, which resulted in the abolition of slavery.

Maryland, a border state between the slave south and the abolitionist north, remained loyal to the union. Frederick Douglass was born a slave there around 1818, before fleeing and becoming perhaps the greatest abolitionist of the 19th century.

Bannerman also noted that Biden is distantly related to Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate states that split to defend slavery and were totally defeated.

But he said Biden’s ties to slavery didn’t make him an exception among Americans. In fact, Bannerman said, Biden had “not many ancestors” [who had] not many slaves “.

The White House did not comment.

In the summer of 2020, as the presidential election was fought amidst anti-racist protests and the defacing or removal of statues of Confederate characters and slave owners, a meme circulated claiming to show an ancestor of Biden who fought for the Confederacy. .

Fact-checking sites determined the claim to be false, although links have been raised between Biden and the slave-owning Robinette family. Biden’s middle name is Robinette, the spelling having changed from the Robinett listed in 1800.

Politico also cited past cases of prominent politicians found descendants of slaveholders, including Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and another prominent Irish American Democrat, Beto O’Rourke of Texas.

In 2019, as the former congressman was running for the Democratic presidential nomination, the Guardian reported the existence of “abundant documentation … of the slave possession of his ancestors and his wife Amy and their support for the Confederacy.”

O’Rourke said, “Amy and I sat down and talked about this. Like Andrew [Jasper, his ancestor] he was able, through his descendants, to pass on the benefits of possessing other human beings. And in the end, my children and I benefit from it. “

In a blog post, he added: “We all need to know our history as far as national history is concerned, just as I am learning mine. “