Virginia Gov. Northam to skip event at historically black school

Visit was to be part of his planned reconciliation tour after revelations that a racist photograph appeared in his 1984 medical school yearbook.
Image: Ralph Northam
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam speaks during a news conference in the Governor's Mansion in Richmond, Va. on Feb. 2, 2019.Steve Helber / AP file

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By Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — 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 that 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 on a 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.