Kamala Harris Draws Criticism For Ferguson-Gettysburg Comparison

In a recent address commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Vice President Kamala Harris sparked controversy with her comparison of the Ferguson riots to significant historical events such as the Battle of Gettysburg and the Little Rock school desegregation. This comparison, made during the NAACP South Carolina State Conference’s King Day at the Dome event, has been met with skepticism and criticism across the political spectrum.

Harris said, “Generation after generation, on the fields of Gettysburg, in the schools of Little Rock, on the grounds of this state house, on the streets of Ferguson, and the floor of the Tennessee House of Representatives, we the people have always fought to make the promise of freedom real.” Her remarks suggested a parallel between the pivotal Civil War battle and the 2014 riots in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of Michael Brown.

The Battle of Gettysburg marked a turning point in the Civil War, leading to the North’s victory and the eventual abolition of slavery. In stark contrast, the Ferguson riots, triggered by Brown’s death, resulted in extensive property damage, arson, and over 300 arrests. The city of Ferguson, still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis, faced further economic challenges in the aftermath.

Critics have raised concerns over Harris’s juxtaposition of these events. The RNC Research team highlighted her comparison on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, noting the stark differences in context and historical significance.

Moreover, Harris’s speech touched upon recent challenges to freedoms in the U.S., citing the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision impacting abortion rights, school safety concerns, and contentious election laws.

Her reference to protests in the Tennessee House of Representatives over gun control further illustrates her point about ongoing struggles for freedom and justice. However, comparing these modern protests to landmark historical events like Gettysburg and Little Rock remains a point of contention. The Tennessee Democratic state lawmakers were advocating for stricter gun control measures after the Covenant Christian School shooting there last year by a mentally disturbed transgender woman.

The vice president’s comments come at a time when the nation grapples with issues of racial justice, policing, and historical legacy. The events in Ferguson have undoubtedly left a significant mark on the national conversation about race and law enforcement. Yet, equating them with the Battle of Gettysburg, a foundational event in the nation’s journey toward equality, is inappropriate and diminishes the significance of truly important moments in America’s history.