Governor Sorry for KKK, Blackface Photo

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam apologizes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 1, 2019 5:30 PM CST
This image shows Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s page in his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook. The page shows a picture, at right, of a person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan...   (Eastern Virginia Medical School via AP)
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(Newser) – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's page in his 1984 medical school yearbook contains a photo of a person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood next to different pictures of the governor, the AP reports. The revelation of the photographs prompted some Republicans to call for his resignation Friday. Northam quickly apologized. The Democratic governor confirmed in a statement that he was in the photo wearing a costume "that is clearly racist and offensive." Northam did not say which costume he was wearing. "This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians' faith in that commitment," he said.

Republican state Sen. Bryce Reeves said in a statement that Northam should resign if the reports of the photos are accurate. "I hope that this picture is inaccurate and that the Governor brings clarity to this issue. This has no place in Virginia," Reeves said. If Northam were to resign, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who is black, would assume the governor's office. For now, Northam's close allies haven't said anything publicly. Democratic Sen. Jennifer McClellan, a well-known black lawmaker from Richmond, just shook her head when approached by a reporter seeking comment. The Virginian-Pilot obtained a copy of the photo Friday from Eastern Virginia Medical School library, which Northam attended. The photo shows two people looking at the camera—one in blackface wearing a hat, bow tie, and plaid pants; the other in white Klan robes.

(Read more blackface stories.)

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