Gov. Ralph Northam to attend race discussion at historically black college on 'apology tour'

RICHMOND, Va. – As controversy continues to surround Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, he's decided to tour the commonwealth on an "apology tour." 

The governor says he hopes to be able to talk about race and healing on his tour, and he's already scheduled to be at an event on Feb. 21 at Virginia's oldest historically black college. 

Below is a release from Virginia Union University: 


The release states that Northam will attend the service but is not scheduled to speak. The release goes on to say: 

“We must continue the conversation regarding a path to move forward in response to last week’s rally led by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network. It is important to bring the community together to begin to develop a plan to reach healing and reconciliation.”

A different version of the release posted on Twitter by several journalists called this appearance part of the governor’s “apology tour” in the aftermath of his blackface photo scandal.

That wording does not appear in the version the school sent to us directly.

The Washington Post reports that Northam is calling it a “reconciliation tour,” saying he will go around the commonwealth having conversations about race and healing.

The event information says the university “will advance the discussion” from an event last week at which Al Sharpton joined other black leaders to call for Northam to resign.

10 News asked the school if any official could answer further questions. A spokeswoman said no one will comment further on the event.

Students say the feeling among most people at the university is that Northam should resign -- and not come on campus. Some, though, think everyone should forgive him.

“I was disgusted about the whole thing. Regardless of whether you’re a Democrat or you’re a Republican, I think that’s inappropriate for a leader," said Kaipha Brown, a Virginia Union student. “I don’t think it’ll be appropriate for him to show up, it being a historic black university.” 

“I think, still, some respect should be shown towards him, towards the governor obviously," said Jonathan Mason, another Virginia Union student.  

It is not clear if any other events are planned in southwest Virginia for Northam's tour.