AP NEWS

Northam to skip event at historically black Virginia school

February 21, 2019
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam talks during an interview at the Governor's Mansion, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 in Richmond, Va. The embattled governor says he wants to spend the remaining three years of his term pursuing racial "equity." Northam told The Washington Post that there is a higher reason for the "horrific" reckoning over a racist photograph that appeared in his medical school yearbook. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he is forgoing a racial reconciliation event at a historically black school after student leaders asked him not to attend.

Local news outlets report student leaders at Virginia Union University asked Northam in a letter dated Monday not to attend Thursday’s scheduled commemoration of students who protested segregation in Richmond almost 60 years ago. Student government president Jamon Phenix said Northam’s visit could overshadow the tribute.

It was to be Northam’s first stop in his planned reconciliation tour after it was revealed that a racist photograph appeared on his 1984 medical school yearbook page. Instead, he tweeted that he would host the civil rights activists at the Executive Mansion on Friday.

Northam accepted an invitation by Phenix “for future dialogue” on race, reconciliation and equity.