Virginia first lady accused of handing out cotton to black children, report says

Virginia's most powerful family is in the spotlight after new allegations surrounding yet another racist incident.

According to the Washington Post, the state's first lady, Pam Northam, has been accused of handing balls of cotton to African-American children during a tour of the governor's residence.

She also asked the students to imagine being slaves, compelled to pick cotton.

Her husband, Gov. Ralph Northam, became the second of a political whirlwind in Virginia when racist pictures - including a man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit - surfaced.

The following day, the Governor denied that the figure in blackface was him. Northam elaborated, however, that he did wear shoe polish to resemble Michael Jackson during a dance contest.

The Governor's wife issued a statement shortly after Washington Post's report was published:

As First Lady, I have worked over the course of the last year to begin telling the full story of the Executive Mansion, which has mainly centered on Virginia's governors. The Historic Kitchen should be a feature of Executive Mansion tours, and I believe it does a disservice to Virginians to omit the stories of the enslaved people who lived and worked there--that's why I have been engaged in an effort to thoughtfully and honestly share this important story since I arrived in Richmond.

I have provided the same educational tour to Executive Mansion visitors over the last few months and used a variety of artifacts and agricultural crops with the intention of illustrating a painful period of Virginia history. I regret that I have upset anyone.

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.