Amid controversy, Northam gains support from head of National Black Farmers Association

Posted at 3:41 PM, Feb 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-08 18:01:36-05

RICHMOND, Va. — Gov. Ralph Northam has gained support from John W. Boyd Jr., President of the National Black Farmers Association, after a week of local and national politicians calling for his resignation over the blackface controversy he faces.

"I just concluded a great meeting with VA Gov Ralph Northam. I pledged my support and urged him NOT to step down. #redemption," said Boyd in a tweet that was retweet by Northam and included a photo of both men in Northam's office.

Northam has been looking for support after a photo from his EVMS yearbook page displayed two people, one in blackface and another in KKK garb.

Northam responded in a retweet, "John, I enjoyed hearing from you today. Thank you for your great work on behalf of Black farmers."

News 3 reporter Rachael Cardin caught up with Boyd outside the Governor's Mansion Friday. Boyd told News 3 whether Northam is really in the photo or not, he said the governor has asked for forgiveness and described him as a great leader.

"It’s a bad speaks for itself, but what I'm trying to tell you today is people change," Boyd said. "I don’t know how it got there or whatever, but the governor told me today it's not him in those pictures, and I believe him. We prayed about it, he asked for forgiveness, and I believe in the power of redemption, and I hope others will forgive him too and try to move on and make Virginia better."

In his Twitter bio, Boyd says he is a fourth-generation farmer from Bakersville, Virginia. According to the association's website, Boyd founded the organization, which claims to serve "tens of thousands of members nationwide,"  in 1995.

With Northam and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring both facing blackface controversies - plus Lt. Gov. Fairfax facing a sexual assault allegation - it has been a week of political turmoil for the Commonwealth that has many in the state not knowing what is next.

Many are wondering if any of the three will step down political office because of the controversies.

For the latest on the controversies surrounding all three men:

For full coverage on Gov. Northam's yearbook photo controversy, click here.

Click here for more coverage on Mark Herring's blackface controversy 

To read more on the sexual assault allegation against Lt. Gov. Fairfax, click here.