Luray mayor refuses to step down over racially-charged social media post

Virginia Politics

LURAY, Va. (WDVM) — The mayor of Luray, Virginia has caused quite a stir in his tiny Page County town, with a Facebook post many are calling racist.

“No! I”m not resigning,” exclaimed Mayor Barry Presgraves after posting on Facebook that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had picked “Aunt Jemima as his running mate.”

Biden is reportedly considering three Black women who are well known on Capitol Hill and in the national political scene. Mayor Presgraves said he thought his post was “humorous,” but he has since deleted it. A Luray council member has called for the mayor to resign.

But since Presgraves is not seeking re-election he will just finish his term, which expires later this year.

Still, Mayor Presgraves says he doesn’t see anything racist about his post, telling the Page Valley News that he, “Ate Aunt Jemima all [his] life” and he, “doesn’t have a racist bone in [his] body.”

The town council is expected to discuss the mayor’s post at its meeting next week.

Just last month the maker of the 130-year-old Aunt Jemima pancake mixes and syrups said it would change its brand. It said Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype dating back to the days of slavery.

The iconic Aunt Jemima logo shows a Black woman inspired by the character in the minstrel song “Old Aunt Jemima.”


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