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Virginia Gov. Northam's 'Misconception' of Indentured Servitude and Slavery

The interaction between Gayle King and Ralph Northam should have led to a bigger discussion.

Governor Northam- Virginia

In an interview with CBS anchor Gayle King, which aired on Sunday, Virginia State Gov. Ralph Northam referred to enslaved Africans as "indentured servants."


The governor, who refuses to resign after his blackface transgression while in medical school, acknowledged that the state of Virginia was once "the heart of the Confederacy" and maintained he is very capable of helping the state "heal."

When Northam made the "indentured servant" statement, King, quickly, corrected him stating: "Also known as slavery."

"Yes," Northam said.

As much as people would like to criticize Northam's "ignorance" of not knowing the differences between slavery and indentured servitude, Americans have to admit that the educational system, throughout the nation, has failed miserably with reference to properly teaching its citizens the hard truth about slavery.

With that said, there were 20 Africans who were actually indentured servants in Jamestown in 1619. Northam's comment on CBS may have been referencing only that part of Virginia's history.

New York Times best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald, stated that Northam's assessment wasn't wrong.

Northam had made a speech at the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans to the state. He even led the ceremonial singing. He said, in a statement, Monday that a "historian advised me that the use of indentured was more historically accurate."

Cassandra Newby-Alexander, a professor of history at Norfolk State University, has a differing opinion on the subject.

Whether indentured servants or slaves, Newby-Alexander says, "Either way, they were unfree."

Meanwhile, Howard University historian Daryl Scott said in a recent interview with USA Today:

"They had indentured people in Virginia, and some people may have seen Africans just like they saw other indentured people. We know some people became free, so it looks like they were treated like every other indentured person."


In essence, the interaction between King and Northam should have lead to a bigger discussion. King's correction, with no frame of reference, and Northam's comment, with no elaboration, made for an uncomfortable moment during the interview.

That speaks to a bigger issue, though.

According to an article in The Atlantic, "Among 12th-graders, only 8 percent could identify slavery as the cause of the Civil War. Fewer than one-third (32 percent) correctly named the 13th Amendment as the formal end of U.S. slavery, with a slightly higher share (35 percent) choosing the Emancipation Proclamation. And fewer than half (46 percent) identified the 'Middle Passage' as the transport of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to North America."

These statistics confirm not only that classroom textbooks aren't adequately covering slavery, but that educators aren't sufficiently prepared to discuss it. It is evident that students, Black and white, lack the basic knowledge of the crucial impact slavery played in American history with reference to race relations.

Ursula Wolfe-Rocca, a high-school U.S.-history teacher in Lake Oswego, Ore., takes a direct approach to teaching her students about slavery. Many times her students come in with incorrect information about how slavery ended and also about President Lincoln's role in the abolition of slavery.

Wolfe-Rocca stated: "Read Lincoln's first inaugural address and you do not find a fiery abolitionist, but someone promising to enforce the fugitive slave clause; read the articles of secession, and you find striking declarations from slave states that their actions are rooted in a desire to protect [slavery]."

The undeniable truth of the matter is slavery played a pivotal role in the development of this nation. So much to the point that even the "founding fathers" who speak of freedom and justice, were people who owned enslaved Africans.

For example, James Madison known as the "Father of The Constitution," owned over 100 slaves and refused to free them even after his death. He was also the man who proposed the Three-Fifths Compromise, which counted slaves as three fifths of a person for the purposes of taxation and legislative representation.

Even Thomas Jefferson, who owned the most slaves out of all of the American presidents with an astounding 600 Africans, has been romanticized as a man "who fell in love with his slave —Sally Mae Hemings."

Enslaved Africans, who were female, didn't get to give consent to their owners and the children from those forced sexual encounters were born into slavery as well. This wasn't a "love story" but rather a story of an insidiously brutal reality for many enslaved women during that time.

There is no denying that slavery is a hard history built on violence, white supremacy and inhumanity. It's time that it is taught in a way that details the horrors once lived by Blacks in this country, yet still shapes the way Blacks are treated today. But the narrative should be told in its entirety.

Rev. William Barber Condemns Evangelicals Who Support Trump's Policies

"I'm a Christian evangelical, I grew up in the Christian faith, and one of the most clear public policies that you're supposed to engage in as a just society is fairness toward the strangers, immigrants," Barber said.

The NAACP and Rev. Dr. William Barber called out evangelical Christians who back President Donald Trump's family separation policy, and called the policy racist.

"We see this happening," Barber said, "and this attack on children — we know it's brown children, it wouldn't be happening if it wasn't brown children at the southern border — is white supremacy, white nationalism, being implemented in our public policy right in front of our faces."

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West Virginia Politician Compares LGBTQ Community to KKK

"The LGBTQ is a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan, without wearing hoods with their antics of hate," said West Virginia delegate Eric Porterfield.

West Virginia State Representative Eric Porterfield is in hot water after he compared the LGBTQ community to the Ku Klux Klan on Feb. 8.

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Bakari Sellers Definitively Explains Why Blackface is Racist

"I think that many times white people do not understand what blackface means," Sellers said.

The photo on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook page of a man in blackface and another man dressed in a KKK costume is sparking a national conversation. The racist act of wearing blackface goes back to the mid-19th century. It's 2019 and Black people still have to explain why it's offensive.

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Update: White Powder, A Witness, and Photos Have All Been Uncovered in the Jussie Smollett Attack Investigation

The perpetrators have yet to be identified but police are collecting information about individuals that were in the area at the time of the attack.

The FBI and Chicago PD are investigating the attack of Empire actor Jussie Smollett and have new leads.

Chicago police said an envelope with white powder and a threatening letter with magazine cut outs pasted on paper was received at Cinespace Studios, where Empire is filmed, on January 22.

HAZMAT responded, but the white substance turned out to be aspirin.

Police have released photos of two individuals wanted for questioning.

Video of Smollett walking into a hotel after the attack with a noose around his neck, along with the noose and his sweater have also been acquired to help try to identify more clues to find the attackers.

Smollett said he was on the phone with his manager when the attack happened.

Smollett family's statement said this was a "violent and unprovoked attack," and "a racial and homophobic hate crime."

A witness, who requested anonymity, described a "creepy" white man outside the building with a clothesline hanging from his pants, staring at another man near another entrance about 300 hundred feet away.

She told TMZ, "He looked out of place." He had scruff on his face, wearing a blue winter beanie, a blue zip-up sweatshirt with a hood and blue jeans that were too short. He had "thick, grey hunting socks" with camel-colored dress shoes.

She talked to detectives when she found out there was an attack.

Republican Official Tries to Shame Sen. Krysten Sinema for Wearing a Dress

Jim Ziegler posted a picture of Sinema on Facebook, prompting misogynistic comments.

Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who has a master's degree, a law degree and a doctorate, is the first woman ever to represent Arizona in the Senate. But Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler thinks people should pay attention to the clothes Sinema wears on the Senate floor, prompting others to ridicule her.

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UPDATE: Jussie Smollett Releases Statement on Attack

"I still believe that justice will be served," said Smollett as police have new leads in the case.

UPDATE: Feb. 1, 2019

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has released his first public comments about the incident:

"Let me start by saying that I'm O.K.," Smollett said in a statement released on Friday. "My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly, I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words."

"I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served."

The FBI and Chicago PD are investigating have new leads.

Chicago police said an envelope with white powder and a threatening letter with magazine cut outs pasted on paper was received at Cinespace Studios, where "Empire" is filmed, on Jan. 22.

HAZMAT responded, but the white substance turned out to be aspirin.

Police have released photos of two individuals wanted for questioning.

Video of Smollett walking into a hotel after the attack with a noose around his neck, along with the noose and his sweater have also been acquired to help try to identify more clues to find the attackers.

Smollett said he was on the phone with his manager when the attack happened.

His family's statement said this was a "violent and unprovoked attack," and "a racial and homophobic hate crime."

A witness, who requested anonymity, described a "creepy" white man outside the building with a clothesline hanging from his pants, staring at another man near another entrance about 300 hundred feet away.

She told TMZ, "He looked out of place." He had scruff on his face, wearing a blue winter beanie, a blue zip-up sweatshirt with a hood and blue jeans that were too short. He had "thick, grey hunting socks" with camel-colored dress shoes.

She talked to detectives when she found out there was an attack.

ORIGINAL STORY

"Empire" star, Jussie Smollett, was brutally attacked and hospitalized early Tuesday morning.

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