As we learn about Kamala Harris, we’re also learning about her late mother. On the senator’s website and in numerous speeches, Ms. Harris traces her inspiration for “fighting injustice” to Shyamala Gopalan, “an Indian-American immigrant, activist, and breast cancer researcher.” In her speech to the Democratic National Convention Wednesday, Ms. Harris called her mother, who died of cancer in 2009, “the most important person in my life.”

As the story goes, Gopalan arrived in the U.S. as a 19-year-old student in 1958 and plunged…

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