Pam Northam, Wife of Blackface Enthusiast Virginia Governor, Hands Cotton to Black Students During Tour of Governor’s Mansion

Illustration for article titled Pam Northam, Wife of Blackface Enthusiast Virginia Governor, Hands Cotton to Black Students During Tour of Governor’s Mansion
Image: Pam Northam, wife of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, listens as he speaks with reporters at a press conference at the Governor’s mansion (Getty Images)

Behind every racist governor conducting state business amid calls for his ouster after his med school yearbook revealed him to be a die-hard shoe polish facial mask fan, is a woman fucking with a handful of little black kids for seemingly no reason at all.


Pam Northam, wife of embattled Virginia governor and blackface enthusiast Ralph Northam and former middle school teacher, has come under fire for her tour of the governor’s residence last week. A Virginia state employee complained that Northam gave her daughter and another black student balls of cotton before asking them to imagine being enslaved.

On Feb. 21, Northam interrupted a tour led by a trained guide to take a group of about 20 children to a cottage adjacent to the Executive Mansion, which was built with slave labor in 1813. Standing before a fireplace replete with cooking implements, Northam held up samples of cotton and tobacco while describing the slaves who picked it before asking the only three Black students in the group “what it must have been like to pick cotton all day,” according to Leah Dozier Walker, who oversees the Office of Equity and Community Engagement at the state Department of Education.

The governor’s office claims Northam simply handed the cotton to the children nearest her and wanted the entire group to feel the cotton and imagine the hardship inherent in life as chattel.

Walker, whose daughter was handed a cotton boll by Northam, included a letter written by her daughter in an email to lawmakers. In it, her daughter says Northam’s object lesson made her “very uncomfortable.”

“I will give you the benefit of the doubt because you gave it to some other pages,” wrote Walker’s daughter. “But you followed this up by asking: ‘Can you imagine being an enslaved person, and having to pick this all day?’ which didn’t help the damage you had done.”

Northam, whose husband is in the midst of a “reclamation tour” which began with a reading of Roots and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Atlantic essay on reparations, has stood by her husband as he has continued to ignore calls for his resignation. A week after student government at Virginia Union University asked the governor to make other plans during their black history celebration, Pam apparently found it in her heart to single out a pair of black students for an object lesson.


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

Pam, a strong proponent of her husband’s reclamation book club according to insiders, gave a standard non-apology Wednesday.


“I regret that I have upset anyone,” Northam said, in a statement emailed by spokeswoman Ofirah Yheskel.

Republican State Senator Bill Stanley, whose daughter also attended the tour, claims his daughter told him that Northam offered the cotton to every student.


“The first lady’s intent was to show the horrors of slavery and to make sure everyone felt the pain they felt in some small measure,” he said. He added that his wife received the same tour from Northam days later and found it poignant.

Contributing Editor. When he's not pullin' up, he's usually jumpin' out. You can find him in the cut.



Pretty damn evil to tell an innocent kid “I want you to imagine how horrible life as a slave is! And remember that’s how we treated your ancestors! Think about it, and have some cotton.”