Kamala Harris Accused of Plagiarizing MLK Story To Score Social Justice Points

Brittany M. Hughes | January 5, 2021
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Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is being accused of plagiarizing Martin Luther King Jr. after telling a story supposedly from her own childhood that bears an almost exact resemblance to one the Civil Rights leader told back in 1965.

In an October interview with Elle Magazine, the California senator, who’s soon to be first in line for the presidency, recalled a story from her own childhood in which she claimed she fell out of her stroller and got separated from her family during a civil rights march.

In the piece, Elle writer Ashley Ford begins: 

"Senator Kamala Harris started her life’s work young. She laughs from her gut, the way you would with family, as she remembers being wheeled through an Oakland, California, civil rights march in a stroller with no straps with her parents and her uncle. At some point, she fell from the stroller ... and the adults, caught up in the rapture of protest, just kept on marching. By the time they noticed little Kamala was gone and doubled back, she was understandably upset." 

"My mother tells the story about how I’m fussing," Harris told the magazine. "And she’s like, ‘Baby, what do you want? What do you need?’ And I just looked at her and I said, ‘Fweedom.’"

But many are noting that story is almost an exact replica of one that MLK recounted in 1965 in an interview with Playboy, in which he told the same account of another little girl – in Birmingham.

"I will never forget a moment in Birmingham when a White policeman accosted a little Negro girl, seven or eight years old, who was walking in a demonstration with her mother," King said at the time. "'What do you want?' the policeman asked her gruffly, and the little girl looked at him straight in the eye and answered, 'Fee-dom.' She couldn't even pronounce it, but she knew. It was beautiful!"

The uncanny and nearly impossible resemblance sparked instant backlash on Twitter, where many accused Harris of plagiarizing King's story and passing it off as her own to score social justice points - while noting that the media have yet to call her on it.

(Cover Photo: Gage Skidmore)