the things you find out on ancestry.com
Census records from the mid-1800s show that two great-great-grandfathers of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were slave owners, NBC News reports.
The discovery comes after McConnell stated last month that he does not believe the government should pay reparations to the descendants of slaves. "I don't think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, when none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea," he said. "We've tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We've elected an African American president."
McConnell's great-great-grandfathers, James McConnell and Richard Daley, lived in Limestone County, Alabama, and between the two, owned at least 14 slaves, NBC News reports. Slavery experts are not calling on the descendants of slave owners to pay reparations, but say their families did benefit from slave labor. "Smaller farms and plantations still benefited enormously from the unpaid labor of enslaved people, which likely helped them build multigenerational wealth," Chuck Collins, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, told NBC News.
NBC News said it called and emailed McConnell's office, asking if he knew his great-great-grandfathers were slave owners, but received no response. McConnell, who grew up in Alabama, has said his parents were opposed to segregation.