I write this letter in response to Gov. Paul LePage’s comments that the NAACP should “apologize to northern white people who gave their lives to free them.”

Actually, the North, and the New England region in particular, supported its textile industries through the purchase of cotton produced by an exploited and brutalized slave population. As noted historian Ronald Bailey writes, “In 1860 New England mills consumed 283.7 million pounds of cotton, or 67 percent of the 422.6 million pounds of cotton used by U.S. mills.”

For generations, we “northerners,” as LePage would say, looked away from the horrors of slavery and instead to the money “King Cotton” put in our pockets. I hope LePage went to the newly opened African American Museum in Washington when he was in D.C to attend the Inauguration and learned some middle-school U.S. history. And then he should apologize to all of us for once again embarrassing our state.

Gregory Greenleaf

Harpswell