First Lady of Virginia Pam Northam handed cotton to African-American children while on a tour through the governor’s mansion. She reportedly did this while showing the students a nearby cottage that was once a kitchen. She then asked the students to imagine picking the crop as if they were enslaved Africans.

“I regret that I have upset anyone,” Northam said. “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.”

Her apology came as a result of state employee Leah Dozier Walker, whose eighth grade daughter and another child filed a complaint with Gov. Ralph Northam‘s office.

Walker wrote a letter admonishing Northam for her actions and the Governor’s office attitude towards African-Americans.


“The Governor and Mrs. Northam have asked the residents of the Commonwealth to forgive them for their racially insensitive past actions,” Walker wrote. “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.”

Ralph Northam earlier this month denied that he appeared in a yearbook photo in blackface next to another man wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe. Northam has resisted call for his resignation, saying he’s looking to heal the state.

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