Virginia's first lady apologizes for giving cotton to African-American students | American News



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Virginia's first lady was accused of racial insensitivity after handing cotton to students on a visit to the governor's historic mansion and asking them to imagine being slaves to pick it.

Leah Dozier Walker, the mother of one of the students, complained in a letter to legislators and the governor's office that her eighth-grade daughter and another student, both black, were angry when Pam Northam told them delivered cotton during the visit, The Washington Post reported.

The latest incident comes as Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is under fire from a racist photograph in his medical school yearbook, which shows a black-faced person standing next to a person wearing robes. white and the cap of Ku Klux Klan.

Northam initially acknowledged appearing on the photo, but then denied being there. He admitted that he was wearing a blackface on another occasion while imitating Michael Jackson. Northam refused to resign despite calls from the state's biggest democrats.

"The governor and Mrs. Northam have asked the people of the Commonwealth to forgive their past unfeeling acts of race," wrote Walker, who is also responsible for the department's Office of Equity and Community Engagement. of state education.

"But Ms. Northam's acts, just last week, do not lead me to believe that this governor's office took seriously the wrongs and injuries caused to African Americans in Virginia or that they deserve our sorry."

Pam Northam visited the Executive Mansion this month to students who had served as pages in the state Senate.

The governor's office told La Poste that it had not chosen black students, but had simply handed it to the young people nearby and wished them to feel the sharpness of the plant to better understand how difficult it would be to pick all day.

"I regret to have upset anyone," said Pam Northam in a statement to Wavy.

She explained that she had been striving to tell the whole story of the house by organizing a visit to her historic kitchen and informing visitors about the slaves working on the site. She would also consult with historians on the most appropriate way to convey these experiences to visitors from within. l & # 39; future.

"I think it's disadvantageous for Virginians to omit the stories of the slaves who lived and worked there – that's why I engaged in an effort to share thoughtfully and honestly this important story since my arrival in Richmond, "she said.

"Over the last few months, I have organized the same educational tour for visitors to the mansions and used a variety of artifacts and agricultural crops to illustrate a painful period in the history of Virginia. "

In a letter to Northam from the news channel, the eighth student said that she and the other page to whom the cotton was handed over were two of three African-Americans in the class.

"The comments and the way you acted at the time were totally inappropriate, especially given the recent events with the governor," she wrote.

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