Vice President Kamala Harris misstated the length of time Black persons were enslaved in America during an event Monday marking Juneteenth.
“Think about it in terms of the context of history, knowing that black people in America were not free for 400 years of slavery,” she told children at the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington. “Let this be a day that is a day to celebrate the principle of freedom, but to speak about it honestly and accurately, both in the context of history and current application.”
The first Black slaves were brought to Virginia in 1619 and the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in 1865, so the vice president was off by about 150 years.
The New York Post received a clarification from the White House, which said “the vice president was referring to 400 years since slavery began.”
Ms. Harris, who made history as the first woman and woman of color to be vice president, visited the Smithsonian museum to mark the Juneteenth holiday that marks the June 19, 1865, announcement of the emancipation of enslaved persons in Texas.
“I would argue it is our God-given right to have freedom. It is your birthright to have freedom. And then during slavery, freedom was taken,” she said. “And so we’re not going to celebrate being given back what God gave us anyway, right?”
“Amen,” a member of the audience said.