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Virginia Governor’s Alma Mater to Investigate Racist Yearbook Photos

Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk issued a statement following the recent revelation that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam had a photograph of a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe on his 1984 yearbook page.

Northam, now in his second year as governor, initially apologized before denying that he was one of the people in the photo. Sources stated that students gave yearbook editors photos they wanted on their yearbook page in sealed envelopes.

The page for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in the 1984 yearbook from Eastern Virginia Medical School shows a photo of a person in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan robes. Northam admitted to being one of the two people in the photo, but not which.
The page for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in the 1984 yearbook from Eastern Virginia Medical School shows a photo of a person in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan robes. Northam admitted to being one of the two people in the photo, but not which.

The university admitted that there were several other “unacceptable” photos that had been published in the yearbooks over the years. The medical school stopped publishing the yearbooks in 2014 after a photo appeared of students in Confederate Army uniforms.

In the statement from the medical school, officials said that it “is committed to discovering quickly how unacceptable photos such as these came to be published in the past. Further, we are committed to ensuring that our existing culture is one that would never tolerate such actions today.”

The medical school enrolls about 1,250 students. African Americans make up 10 percent of the student body, according to the latest data supplied to the U.S. Department of Education.

In a related story, Mark R. Herring, Virginia attorney general, revealed that he had worn blackface while an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia. Herring who had called on Northam to resign, made no mention of his intention to step down. He previously had announced that he will run for governor of Virginia in 2021.

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