House Speaker Johnson among US politicians with ancestral ties to slavery

Mike Johnson, a junior lawmaker, was in the limelight for the first time. In 2019, the Louisiana Republican was the ranking member of a House subcommittee debating the contentious issue of slavery reparations.

Johnson told the panel that he was opposed to collecting money “from current taxpayers for the sins of a small subset of Americans from many generations ago.” He provided a personal experience to emphasize his argument.

 “I actually have a much older son who happens to be African American,” Johnson explained. The lawmaker and his wife, who are white, “took custody of Michael and made him part of our family 22 years ago when we were just newlyweds, and Michael was just 14 and out on the streets and nowhere to go and on a very dangerous path.”

Ahead of the hearing, the congressman said he had asked Michael “what he thinks about the idea of reparations. In a very thoughtful way, he explained his opposition,” Johnson said, without saying specifically what Michael had said.

Johnson, who in October was voted speaker of the House, had another personal tie to the issue of reparations: At least three of his direct ancestors were slaveholders. Johnson’s ancestral ties to slavery have not been previously reported.

His lineage shows that one Johnson forebear, Honore Fredieu, enslaved 14 Black people in Natchitoches, Louisiana, in 1860. Among those listed on that year’s census is a pair of 1-year-old girls whom he enslaved.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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