Virginia’s scandal-ridden governor says he’s ‘still learning’ after calling slaves ‘indentured servants’
Embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued an explanation Monday morning after he mistakenly called African slaves “indentured servants” during an interview with CBS.
While speaking with “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King, Mr. Northam, a Democrat, declared he has “no plans” to heed his party’s calls for his resignation after he admitted to wearing blackface in the 1980s and a photo surfaced from his personal page out of his medical school yearbook that showed someone wearing blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan costume.
“We are now at the 400-year anniversary — just 90 miles from here in 1619, the first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores in Old Point Comfort, what we call now Fort Monroe ― ” Mr. Northam began before he was corrected by Ms. King.
“Also known as slavery,” the host interjected.
“Yes,” Mr. Northam said, nodding.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam: “We are now at the 400-year anniversary — just 90 miles from here in 1619, the first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores…”@GayleKing: “Also known as slavery” https://t.co/ba3PnylCag pic.twitter.com/o0Sc8UzNiy
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 10, 2019
The backlash over the misstep was swift, with many social media commenters pointing out that African slaves were brought to America and forced to work against their will indefinitely, while indentured servants entered labor contracts in exchange for their eventual freedom.
Mr. Northam responded to his “indentured servants” remark with a statement Monday morning saying he used the term at the advice of a historian.
“During a recent interview at Fort Monroe I spoke about the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia and referred to them as enslaved. A historian advised me that the use of indentured was historically accurate — the fact is, I’m still learning and committed to getting it right.”
In response to the reaction from his use of the term “indentured servants,” Gov. @RalphNortham tells @CBSNews “The fact is, I’m still learning and committed to getting it right.” Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/GiCTvpiSM3
— Adam Verdugo (@AdamVerdugo) February 11, 2019
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