Four days after Barack Obama picked Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate in 2008, unsubstantiated claims began circulating on social media that Biden was the descendant of slave owners.
New claims have resurfaced after a genealogist and a presidential lineage expert took a sweeping look into the lineage of President Biden — a Scranton, Pa., native — that shows ancestors on his father’s side owned enslaved people.
Alexander Bannerman and Gary Boyd Roberts co-authored an article on Biden’s ancestry for the winter 2021 issue of the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s American Ancestors Magazine, The Hill reported.
The 1800 census showed that Biden’s great-great-great-grandfather, Jesse Robinett, owned two enslaved people in Allegany County. Records from the 1850 Census and slave schedules also show that Biden’s third-great-grandfather, Thomas Randle, owned a 14-year-old male slave in Baltimore County, Maryland, Bannerman said. The 1860 Census still showed Randle owning one slave.
The West Virginia-based genealogist discussed his findings with journalist and author Ben Schreckinger for his upcoming book “The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power.” Politico published an excerpt of the book on Tuesday.
Other elected officials with ties to slavery include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), whose ancestors owned enslaved people. Former President Barack Obama’s ancestors owned slaves too, Business Insider reported.
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