Virginia First Lady Pam Northam apologized for giving cotton to at least two black students during a tour of the governor’s mansion — the latest in a string of scandals out of Virginia’s state government.
Northam – the wife of embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam – apologized after a Virginia state employee complained that her eighth-grade daughter, along with a group that included at least one other black child, was given raw cotton during a tour of governor’s mansion and an adjacent cottage once used as a kitchen, the Washington Post reports.
During the tour, Northam also asked the students to picture what it would be like to be enslaved and have to pick cotton, the Post reports.
Northam first apologized on Wednesday, NBC News reports. In a statement provided to TIME, Northam said she believes “it does a disservice to Virginians to omit the stories of the enslaved people who lived and work there — that’s why I have been engaged in an effort to thoughtfully and honestly share this important story since I arrived in Richmond.”
Northam added that she has given the same tour before. “I regret that I have upset anyone,” she 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.”
A representative from Gov. Ralph Northam’s office said the tour was given to about 100 House and Senate pages, and no one was singled out during the tour.
The incident came just weeks after the release of the governor’s 1984 medical school yearbook page, which included a picture of one person in blackface and another in Klu Klux Klan garb. Northam initially apologized for the photo, then said he was not in it.
He did, however, say he had once darkened his face while imitating Michael Jackson in a 1984 dance competition. (Pam Northam discouraged her husband from moonwalking when asked during a press conference whether he still could.)
Gov. Northam has said he will not resign.
The Northams aren’t the only Virginia officials surrounded by controversy. Two women have accused Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault in the early 2000s, which he has vehemently denied — even comparing himself to lynching victims during a public address.
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