USA Today Fact Check: Scarf Worn by Pelosi, Schumer Linked to ‘Empire Involved in West African Slave Trade’

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08: (L-R) Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) join fellow Democrats from the House and Senate kneel in silence for …
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A “fact check” by USA Today found scarves worn by several congressional Democrats last week, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Check Schumer, are linked to an empire that sold and traded enslaved Africans.

The group knelt in the Capitol Visitors Center for a photo op for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the duration a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on the neck of George Floyd.

C-SPAN

At the conclusion of the spectacle, Pelosi required assistance — from a black woman — to stand up.

Pelosi was wearing a Kente cloth. Dave Brandon said of its history:

So check this out, Kente cloth was worn by the Ashanti. It’s made of silk so the affluent wore it. The Ashanti were also known as slave owners and traders. Huh? The Ashanti’s long-time ally, the Akwamu, were among the first ones to profit from the slave trade with the Europeans.

Their captives were almost always prisoners of war, but they were not above to selling Akwamu men who offended the chief. They also kidnapped able-bodied men from other tribes and sold them in the coastal slave markets.

USA Today said while Brandon’s history was correct, “He ignores the broader cultural significance the cloth has to West African and African American culture.”

Nonetheless, the paper rated the claim as “True”:

We rate the claim that kente cloth was historically worn by the Asante people of Ghana, who were involved in the West African slave trade TRUE because it is supported by our research. Although kente cloth does have ties to slavery, it is more widely recognized as a modern symbol of pride in African American culture and pride in cultural ties to West Africa.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) brought up the scarves on Wednesday.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) dismissed Scott’s police reform bill as a “token” approach.

“Y’all still wearing those kente cloths over there,” he asked Durbin on Twitter.

Kyle Olson is a reporter for Breitbart News. He is also host of “The Kyle Olson Show,” syndicated on Michigan radio stations on Saturdays. Listen to segments on YouTube. Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook.

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