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Alabama Governor Apologizes for Blackface Skit, Refuses to Resign

Governor Kay Ivey (R., Ala.) in Montgomery, Ala., May 15, 2019 (Office of the Governor State of Alabama/Handout via Reuters)

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey apologized Thursday for a blackface skit she participated in while a student at Auburn University during the 1960s.

“I offer my heartfelt apologies for the pain and embarrassment this causes, and I will do all I can — going forward — to help show the nation that the Alabama of today is a far cry from the Alabama of the 1960s,” Ivey said in a statement. “We have come a long way, for sure, but we still have a long way to go.”

The Republican governor, 74, stopped short of capitulating to calls from Alabama Democrats to resign, however.

“While some may attempt to excuse this as acceptable behavior for a college student during the mid-1960s, that is not who I am today, and it is not what my Administration represents all these years later,” Ivey insisted.

The governor claimed she cannot recall either the skit or a 1967 interview on a campus radio program with her then-fiancé, who described how Ivey had “had put some black paint all over her face” for the bit. However, she acknowledged she had likely participated in such a skit and said she has “genuine remorse” now for her involvement.

Democratic state representative Terri Sewell dismissed Ivey’s apology as not reparation enough, saying the governor’s actions are “reprehensible and are deeply offensive.

“Her words of apology ring hollow if not met with real action to bridge the racial divide,” Sewell added.

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