1997 Fordham Law article: Elizabeth Warren is Harvard's "first woman of color"

The most important thing about this story, I think, is that it’s coming not from a conservative blog but from Politico. And it’s coming on the same day that BuzzFeed, which will also never be confused with right-wing media, is posting a list of Warren’s most embarrassing moments from this now weeks-long authenticity charade. She’s become enough of a joke, in other words, that even media outfits that aren’t hostile to her ideology can’t resist snickering.

If only most voters had an attention span of longer than five seconds, I’d think this might really hurt her in the fall.

Elizabeth Warren has pushed back hard on questions about a Harvard Crimson piece in 1996 that described her as Native American, saying she had no idea the school where she taught law was billing her that way and saying it never came up during her hiring a year earlier, which others have backed up.

But a 1997 Fordham Law Review piece described her as Harvard Law School’s “first woman of color,” based, according to the notes at the bottom of the story, on a “telephone interview with Michael Chmura, News Director, Harvard Law (Aug. 6, 1996).”…

The description of her as a minority is coming from the same person – Chmura – whose comments to the Crimson sparked the original story about her heritage, and Warren’s camp argued it’s old news.

She has said she had no idea Harvard was billing her that way or how the school found out that her family claims Native American heritage. She learned of it first from the Herald story, she said.

Yeah, Chmura was the Crimson’s source in 1996 for the “fact” that Warren was Native American. The big lingering mystery: From whom did he get that information? From those professional directories in the mid-90s in which Warren listed herself as minority? From someone on Harvard Law’s hiring committee? Or from Warren herself?

Meanwhile, per William Jacobson, contain your shock at the fact that the Boston Globe helpfully buried its correction about Warren’s apparently nonexistent 1/32 heritage after trumpeting the original genealogical claim as proof that she was right. The Boston Herald isn’t as forgiving:

The New England Historical Genealogical Society, which originally announced they found evidence of Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage, said today they have discovered no documentation to back up claims that she is 1/32 Cherokee.

“NEHGS has not expressed a position on whether Mrs. Warren has Native American ancestry, nor do we possess any primary sources to prove that she is,” said Tom Champoux, spokesman for the NEHGS. “We have no proof that Elizabeth Warren’s great great great grandmother O.C. Sarah Smith either is or is not of Cherokee descent.”

The Herald reported today that an Oklahoma county clerk said a document purporting to prove Warren’s Cherokee roots does not exist. ReJeania Zmek, the Logan County Clerk, said there are no marriage applications from 1894 — despite claims from a Warren family newsletter and NEHGS genealogist Chris Child that indicated otherwise.

Hopefully we can now lay this distraction to rest and get back to the real issues of whether Mitt Romney was a bully 50 years ago or whether he put his dog in a kennel on his car roof in the early ’80s. Exit question via Jacobson: Did Warren really cite “Pow Wow Chow” as additional proof of her ancestry? Come. On.

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