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Virginia mayor apologizes amid calls for resignation after posting Biden picked 'Aunt Jemima' as his VP

Luray Mayor Barry Presgraves made a comment on his Facebook page last week, prompting residents and members of Luray's town council to call for his resignation.
Credit: City of Luray
Members of Luray Town Council speak out during the August 10 meeting.

LURAY, Va. — Luray Mayor Barry Presgraves apologized Monday night following a Facebook post that prompted residents and members of the Town Council to call for him to resign.

NBC News reports the post, made last week, said that Joe Biden "just announced Aunt Jemima" as his VP pick.

Presgraves, 77, has since taken the post down. The comments were made before presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden announced his pick for Vice President, Kamala Harris, on Tuesday.

In an Aug. 10 City Council meeting, Mayor Presgraves apologized for the remark, calling it demeaning and uncalled for.

"I also want to make a direct apology to all people of color and women," he said in a prepared statement. "Passing off demeaning and worn out racial stereotypes as humor isn't funny. I now fully understand how hurtful it is and I can and will do better and we can all do better. We must."

He went on to ask residents, many who attended the meeting, for their forgiveness.

"From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry and humbly ask for your forgiveness and your grace," he finished.

WATCH: The August 10 Luray Council Meeting

One of the residents calling for Presgraves' resignation is Cindy Barron, who spoke at the Aug. 10 meeting.

Barron said she has been a resident of Luray for over 14 years. 

"His staying in office hurts Luray, both socially and economically," she said. "Being a mayor and leading the town involves being a leader of the townspeople, too. I was shocked to see what Mayor Presgraves posted on social media, and then began to read that he thought it was funny and that he was sorry that he hurt people's feelings."

Instead, Barron thinks Presgraves should have taken the opportunity to grow and admit his wrongdoings.

 "When the mayor saw the reaction that his post caused, he should have reached out to find out what the issue was, as he clearly didn't understand that his post was racist and hurtful," she continued.  "He should have taken the opportunity to learn something, to build an understanding of the citizens of his town."

Luray, Virginia is a small town about 90 miles west of D.C., home to many outdoor hiking ventures and spots like Luray Caverns. The population, which is less than 5,000, is predominantly white, according to U.S. Census data. 

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