Birth Name: Kamala Devi Harris
Place of Birth: Oakland, Alameda, California, United States
Date of Birth: October 20, 1964
*father – Jamaican [African, other]
*mother – Tamil Indian
Kamala Harris is an American attorney and politician. A Democrat, she has served a U.S. Senator from California, since January 3, 2017. She was previously District Attorney of San Francisco, from January 8, 2004 to January 3, 2011, and Attorney General of California, from January 3, 2011 to January 3, 2017.
She was a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2020.
Kamala is the daughter of Shyamala (Gopalan), a cancer researcher, breast cancer specialist, and civil rights activist, and Donald Jasper Harris, an economics professor at Stanford University. Her father is Jamaican, of African-Jamaican descent, and was born in Saint Anne’s Bay, Kingston. Her mother is an emigrant from Chennai, India, of Tamil Indian descent. A picture of Kamala’s parents can be seen here. A video of Kamala’s father can be seen here. A picture of Kamala, her sister, and their mother can be seen here.
As a child, Kamala participated in Berkeley’s busing program, as part of desegregation. Her parents divorced. When she was twelve, she moved with her mother and sister to Montréal, Québec, Canada, where her mother worked. Kamala was raised attending both a black Baptist church and a Hindu temple.
Kamala has said:
…if you walked on Hampton’s campus, or Howard’s campus, or Morehouse or Spelman or Fisk [historically black colleges], you would have a much better appreciation for the diaspora, for the diversity, for the beauty in the diversity of who we are as black people… I’m not going to spend my time trying to educate people about who black people are… I am black and I am proud of it… I was born black and I’ll die black and I am proud of it. And I am not gonna make any excuses for it, for anybody, because they don’t understand.
Her name Kamala comes from the Sanskrit word for the lotus flower.
Kamala is married to attorney Douglas Emhoff. Douglas is Jewish.
Kamala’s sister is Maya Harris, a lawyer and public policy advocate. Maya is married to Tony West, who served as U.S. Associate Attorney General.
Kamala’s paternal grandfather was Oscar Joseph Harris Brown (the son of Joseph Alexander Harris and Christiana A. “Miss Chrishy” Brown). Oscar was born in Brown’s Town, St Ann Parish, Jamaica. Kamala’s great-grandfather Joseph was a land owner and agriculture exporter, and was the son of Newton A. Harris and Eliza Brown. Christiana was the daughter of Jessian Prince. Oscar was said to be descended from Hamilton Brown, a plantation and slave owner, who founded the city Brown’s Town; Hamilton was born in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is not clear if this line of descent is accurate. The veracity of Kamala’s descent from this Hamilton Brown is discussed here.
Kamala’s paternal grandmother was named Beryl Finegan (the daughter of Christie and Iris Finegan). Iris was the daughter of Patrick Finegan/Fenegon and Mary Watson.
Kamala’s maternal grandfather was named P. V. Gopalan (the son of Venkataraman Iyer and Seethalaksmni/Seethalakshmi). P. V. was a diplomat for India. Venkataraman was the son of Krishna Iyer and Ahilandeswari Krishnaiyer.
Kamala’s maternal grandmother was named Rajam.
Kamala is the second person of Indian ancestry to have mounted a major campaign for a party’s nomination for President of the United States. Bobby Jindal was the first (he ran for the 2016 Republican nomination for President).
Kamala is one of three people who were at least partly raised in the Hindu faith to run or to have run a major presidential campaign. Bobby Jindal, in 2016, and Tulsi Gabbard, who is running for the Democratic Party’s 2020 nomination, are the others. Of the three, only Tulsi is a practicing Hindu.
Kamala is one of several Asian-Americans to mount or to have mounted a notable campaign for a major American political party’s nomination for President of the United States. The others were:
*Hiram Fong (who sought the 1964 and 1968 Republican nominations; Fong was of Chinese descent)
*Patsy Mink (who sought the 1972 Democratic nomination; Mink was of Japanese descent)
*Bobby Jindal (who sought the 2016 Republican nomination; Jindal is of Indian descent)
*Andrew Yang (who is seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination; Yang’s parents are Taiwanese)
Article about Kamala’s parents and childhood – https://www.mercurynews.com
Snopes.com article about Kamala’s Jamaican background – https://www.snopes.com
Article about media treatment of Kamala’s Indian heritage – https://www.poynter.org
Family background of Kamala’s father – https://www.jamaicaglobalonline.com
Obituary of Kamala’s mother – http://www.legacy.com