Advisers urge Northam to watch ‘Birth of a Nation’ to learn about race: report

Advisers to Ralph Northam have reportedly urged the Democratic Virginia governor to watch the film, "Birth of a Nation," to understand more about race in America amid the fallout over an old yearbook page of his featuring blackface and KKK imagery.

An unnamed adviser told BuzzFeed News that Northam was not aware of the movie's racist associations.

The 1915 film is known for its offensive and disturbing depictions of African-Americans after the Civil War, including white actors wearing blackface to play black roles. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Northam's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

The move from the advisers comes as Northam continues to face backlash after a photo surfaced of a man in blackface standing next to another in a Ku Klux Klan robe in his 1984 medical school yearbook. 

Northam apologized for the photo after it surfaced, but later denied that he was in the picture in question. 

"When I was confronted with the images yesterday, I was appalled that they appeared on my page, but I believed then and now that I am not either of the people in that photo," he said in a press conference earlier this month. 

Northam has faced calls to resign from a range fo Democratic and GOP lawmaker. But he has vowed to remain in office and focus on racial "equity" during the remaining three years of his term. 

He told The Washington Post last week that he's been working to increase his understanding of racial inequality by reading "The Case For Reparations" by Ta-Nehisi Coates and chapters of "Roots" by Alex Haley.  

BuzzFeed News reported on Monday that Northam and his adviser are also finalizing a statewide "listening tour" that will focus on discussions related to race in the U.S. 

An adviser told the news outlet that the goal of the listening tour is to talk to state residents and to discuss what he has learned from his own experiences.  

Northam is one of multiple top Democratic officials that have been ensnared in controversy in Virginia recently. State Attorney General Mark Herring last week admitted to wearing blackface to a party in college. 

Meanwhile, Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) is facing two accusations of sexual assault. Fairfax has denied both allegations, saying that the encounters were consensual. 

All three men have faced calls to resign.