Harris ‘Fweedom’ Story Appears Plagiarized From MLK Playboy Interview

Harris ‘Fweedom’ Story Appears Plagiarized From MLK Playboy Interview

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
January 5, 2021

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is apparently picking up some bad habits off her running-mate Joe Biden, this time plagiarizing her own childhood story about her family’s involvement in the civil rights movement by lifting it from a 1965 interview given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Speaking to Elle magazine for its November cover story, Harris recalled her parents’ involvement in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and recounted a story of a protest she attended as a toddler in Oakland.

“Senator Kamala Harris started her life’s work young,” writer Ashley C. Ford leads the Elle article about Harris’ activism. “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.”

Harris then adds, “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.'”

At the point in her story when her parents found, Harris’ account begins to strikes key similarity to a story told by the slain civil rights leader King in an interview with Alex Haley that was published by Playboy Magazine about a young girl in Birmingham, Alabama nearly five and a half decades ago.

“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 is quoted saying in the Playboy interview. “‘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,” King added.

Despite the interview being months old, it began to resurface on Twitter this week when activist Andray Domise noticed the uncanny similarities of her lifted from MLK’s January 1965 Playboy interview.

This is not the first time Harris has previously told her “Fweedom” childhood story.

“My mother used to laugh when she told the story about a time I was fussing as a toddler: She leaned down to me and asked, ‘Kamala, what’s wrong? What do you want?’ And I wailed back, ‘Fweedom,'” Harris wrote in her 2010 book “Smart on Crime” as well as also detailing her child self demanding “Fweedom!” in her 2019 book “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey.”

Harris also relayed the story during an interview over the summer in a late-night talk show with Jimmy Kimmel.

“Well I was in a stroller,” Harris began while laughing, “I was in a stroller, and um. So I was out there. And in fact, my mother used to have a very funny story about how I was fussing and she said ‘Kamala what do you want,’ and I said, and this is how she would say it, and she said ‘Kamala what do you want,’ and I said ‘Fweedom.'”

“Aw come on,” Fallon cooed.

Biden has faced a mirage of plagiarism accusations that plagued his political ambition over three decades ago. When then-Senator Biden ran the first time for president in 1987, he gave a speech that bore resemblance to one delivered by the head of the British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock. During his closing remarks at a presidential debate, Biden would not only recite the lifted portions of Kinnock’s speech, but he would also mimic the phrases and mannerisms.

Back when the mainstream media weren’t activist and were actually reporting on Biden’s mishaps and missteps, shortly after breaking the story of speech similarities, more revelations of the former vice president plagiarizing substantial portions of speeches by Robert Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, and John F. Kennedy emerged. The final blow that would ultimately sink his first presidential bid was when it was revealed that Biden not only plagiarized campaign speeches, he committed the same sin during his law school years.

Recently, Vice President Mike Pence reminded Harris that Biden plagiarized the majority of their campaign plan for a coronavirus response, saying it “reads an awful lot” of President Trump’s coronavirus response plans, even though they continuously attack the Trump administration response repeatedly during the campaign trail.

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Mona Salama

Mona Salama