Kamala Harris accused of plagiarizing MLK story from 1965

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has been accused of plagiarizing an anecdote from Martin Luther King Jr, The Washington Times reported.

King’s story came from an interview he did with Playboy in 1965.

“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.

He continued: “‘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! 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’ story

Harris told quite a similar story to King’s during an interview with Elle magazine published in October. Besides the slightly different circumstances, the key difference in Harris’ story is that she claimed to be the little girl who wanted freedom before she could pronounce it.

The article reads:

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.

The magazine then quoted Harris as saying, “My mother tells the story about how I’m fussing. And she’s like, ‘Baby, what do you want? What do you need?’ And I just looked at her and I said, ‘Fweedom.'”

Not the first time

According to Fox News, it was Twitter users @EngelsFreddie and Andray Domise, a contributing editor of the Canadian publication Maclean’s, who first pointed out the strong resemblance between Harris’ story in Elle and King’s in Playboy.

It’s not the first time Harris has told the story, either.

The New York Post reported that Harris told the same story in the preface of her 2010 book, Smart on Crime, and in her 2019 book, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey.

“Her story, which was documented as early as 2004 in an interview with W Magazine, was also retold multiple times on camera,” according to Fox.

Harris has yet to respond to the plagiarism accusation.

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