Virginia First Lady Regrets Racially Insensitive Incident

Mar 1, 2019

Virginia First Lady Pam Northam
Credit official photo

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia first lady Pam Northam has expressed regret after the mother of an African-American teenager complained that a tour of the governor's mansion was racially insensitive.

Northam said Wednesday that she's working to make sure the stories of slaves who worked in the mansion's kitchen pre-Civil War are told properly.

Northam's statement comes amid heightened racial tension in Virginia politics. Gov. Ralph Northam apologized recently for wearing blackface decades ago.

State employee Leah Walker made the complaint. Her eighth-grade daughter toured the mansion this month as a part of the Senate page program. Walker says Pam Northam singled out African-American students when passing out cotton and discussing the horrors of slavery.

Northam's office said the first lady didn't single anyone out, as did two state senators whose daughters were on the tour.