Ralph Northam Corrected By CBS Journalist After Calling Slaves ‘Indentured Servants’


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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was fact-checked by “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King after referring to slaves as “indentured servants.”

In his first televised interview since last week’s blackface scandal which ended in multiple calls for the Virginia governor’s resignation, Northam seemed to be attempting to give viewers a lesson on the history of slavery in the state. The full interview is set to air Monday.

“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, and while …” he said before being interrupted by King.

“Also known as slavery,” she said.

“Yes,” said Northam.

Thus far refusing to resign and even parlaying the blackface scandal into a reason why he can be an even better governor, Northam told The Washington Post that he has a “lot more to learn.” (RELATED: CNN Issues Correction After Identifying Virginia Gov Northam As A Republican)

“I have a lot more to learn,” he said. “The more I know, the more I can do. I want to heal that pain, and I want to make sure that all Virginians have equal opportunity … and I think I’m the person that can do that for Virginia.”

Twitter, however, wasn’t impressed by Northam’s progress so far.

On the other hand, some pointed out that Northam could actually have been factually correct:

CNN’s “quick history lesson” on the matter allowed for some nuance while recognizing that, even if some were freed, it was “still slavery.”

Enslaved Africans first arrived in Virginia in 1619. Before slavery was fully institutionalized in the British colonies, some enslaved Africans were freed after working for a certain period of time or after a debt had been paid, according to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was still slavery — Africans were brought to these shores forcibly and they weren’t paid. And it wasn’t long before the colonies became economically dependent on enslaved labor and by extension, the slave trade.

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