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Gov. Ralph Northam stirs the pot by calling slaves 'indentured servants'

Slavery vs Indentured Servants: there's a big difference
Credit: Getty Images
RICHMOND, VA - FEBRUARY 02: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam speaks with reporters at a press conference at the Governor's mansion on February 2, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. Northam denies allegations that he is pictured in a yearbook photo wearing racist attire. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is under fire again after referring to slavery as "the first indentured servants from Africa" who arrived in Virginia during an interview on CBS This Morning on Monday.

During the sit down with Gayle King, Northam discussed the discovery of a photo of him wearing blackface on a page in his medical school yearbook.

RELATED: Virginia Gov. Northam reaffirms he will not resign in first interview since racist photo surfaced

At the beginning of the interview, Northam responded to a question by saying, "if you look at Virginia's history, we're now at the 400-year anniversary – just 90 miles from here, in 1619, the first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores." 

King then proceeds to say, "also known as slavery."

Social media users were not pleased with Northam's choice of words and referred to his words as whitewashing slavery.

Historians say Northam wrongly used the term "indentured servants" when referring the first Africans to arrive in what is now Virginia.

Davidson College professor Michael Guasco confirms that some historians used to use the term to describe the small group of Africans who arrived because a few of them became free decades later. But he said historians have since confirmed through records that these first Africans in Virginia arrived as slaves and that most remained so.

Slavery vs. Indentured Servants

According to dictionary.com defines the term slavery as the following: Slavery, bondage, servitude refer to involuntary subjection to another or others. Slavery emphasizes the idea of complete ownership and control by a master: to be sold into slavery. Bondage indicates a state of subjugation or captivity often involving burdensome and degrading labor: in bondage to a cruel master. Servitude is compulsory service, often such as is required by a legal penalty: penal servitude. 4. moil, labor.

According to dictionary.com the term indentured servants is defined at the following: A person who came to America and was placed under contract to work for another over a period of time, usually seven years, especially during the 17th to 19th centuries. Generally, indentured servants included redemptioners, victims of religious or political persecution, persons kidnapped for the purpose, convicts, and paupers.