Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has been charged with plagiarizing an anecdote from none other than Martin Luther King Jr. himself in a recent interview with Elle magazine.
Harris frequently speaks of her parents’ involvement in the Civil Rights movement but appears to have taken some liberties with the retelling of her memories of participating in that activism at a young age.
The Elle magazine interview was first published in October, but Twitter users @EngelsFreddie and journalist Andray Domise took a closer look at Harris’s statements and noticed a surprising similarity between one of Harris’s stories and a story that King told in a 1965 interview published in Playboy.
“Senator Kamala Harris started her life’s work young,” Elle’s Ashley C. Ford wrote in October. “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 Ford. “And she’s like, ‘Baby, what do you want? What do you need?’ And I just looked at her and I said, ‘Fweedom.’”
Domise noted in a Twitter post on Monday that Harris appears to have “lifted” the story from King’s interview, posting a section of the anecdote in question along with the observation.
“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 told Playboy’s Alex Haley at the time.
“‘What do you want?’ the policeman asked her gruffly,” King continued, “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! Many times when I have been in sorely trying situations, the memory of that little one has come into my mind, and has buoyed me.”
Harris caught immediate flak for the too-perfect correlation between the stories. “Plagiarizing an MLK interview seems like the kind of thing you’ll get caught on. Why do ppl do this to themselves,” Washington Examiner executive editor Seth Mandel mused.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are two plagiarizing frauds,” wrote RNC Rapid Response Director Steve Guest. “Biden plagiarized during law school and from RFK, Hubert Humphrey, JFK, and he stole the family history of a British politician. Now Kamala Harris plagiarized from MLK.”