[Ed. – What the man’s ancestors did 200 years ago shouldn’t make a shred of difference to voters, but these are the times we live in.]
The president of the United States questioned why the Civil War was fought. Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam was among many who answered.
“We had a Civil War because people owned other folks as slaves. Read a book,” read a tweet directed at President Donald Trump from Northam, who is in the midst of a tight race with Tom Perriello for the Democratic nomination to be Virginia’s next governor.
At the time of his May 1 tweet, Northam was not aware that some of his ancestors on Virginia’s Eastern Shore owned slaves. He recently called his father, retired Judge Wescott Brownlee Northam, to ask.
“The news that my ancestors owned slaves disturbs and saddens me, but the topic of slavery has always bothered me,” Ralph Northam said in an interview. “My family’s complicated story is similar to Virginia’s complex history. We’re a progressive state, but we once had the largest number of slaves in the union.”