Wife Of Virginia’s Blackfaced Governor Gives Cotton To Black Students And Said Imagine Being Slaves
We all watched as Virginia Governor Ralph Northam made national headlines when photos from his college years recently resurfaced. In the picture from 1984, there were two men, one in a KKK outfit and the other in blackface. According to CNN, Northam, a Democrat, apologized for the photo but would not initially say whether he was the student wearing the KKK outfit or the blackface. Later, he shared that while he wasn’t the student in that particular photo, he did wear blackface to impersonate Michael Jackson.
For weeks, there were calls for Northam’s resignation. But he’s refused to do so. Unfortunately, the men next in line have their own racial and sexual abuse controversies as well.
In these sensitive times, you would think that Northam and the people around him would keep it cool. They’re not out of the woods yet. But this week, Northam’s wife, Pam Northam, found herself in a bit of a racial controversy of her own.
According to The Washington Post, Northam is making headlines of her own after she handed cotton to two African American children during a tour of the historic governor’s residence. CNN reported that as Mrs. Northam was leading the eighth grade students through the kitchen, she told the children holding cotton to imagine being slaves in the field.
The story came to light when the mother of one of the children went public after her daughter told her the story.
Leah Dozier Walker, a state employee who oversees the Office of Equity and Community Engagement at the state Education Department, wrote to lawmakers and the office of Gov. Ralph Northam.
In her letter, she wrote that during the tour two pages were asked to hold cotton that the First Lady [Northam] retrieved from a nearby bowl on a table. Northam asked the three pages, the only African American pages in the program if they could image what it must have been like to pick cotton all day.
“The Governor and Mrs. Northam have asked the residents of the Commonwealth to forgive them for their racially insensitive past actions but the actions of Mrs. Northam, just last week, do not lead me to believe that this Governor’s office has taken seriously the harm and hurt they have caused African Americans in Virginia or that they are deserving of our forgiveness.”
According to Dozier Walker said her daughter refused to accept the cotton that was offered to her.
Northam’s office and another parent who was in attendance that day said the First Lady didn’t single out the African American students and simply handed the cotton out to the group.
In a statement issued through the governor’s spokesperson, Mrs. Northam said, “I regret that I have upset anyone. I am still committed to chronicling the important history of the Historic Kitchen, and will continue to engage historians and experts on the best way to do so in the future.”