The Republican majority leader of Virginia’s state Senate was the managing editor of a college yearbook featuring photos of people in blackface alongside other racist snapshots and slurs, according to a new report.
The revelation comes as the state’s Democratic leadership is in crisis, with Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring both facing calls to resign after they admitted to wearing blackface while they were college students in the 1980s.
State Sen. Tommy Norment oversaw the Virginia Military Institute’s “The Bomb” yearbook in 1968 — the same year the college first allowed black students to enroll, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
The yearbook includes several photos of people in blackface — including one at a costume party, and another of two men in the racist makeup while holding a football — as well as the N-word and a student from Thailand who is referred to as a “Chink,” the paper reports.
A photo of one man is captioned: “He was known as the ‘Barracks Jew’ having his fingers in the finances of the entire Corps.” Norment refused to talk about the yearbook when queried by reporters Thursday, saying he would only discuss the state budget, according to the Pilot.
On Saturday, he demanded Northam resign after it was revealed that the governor’s page in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook featured a photo of a man wearing blackface next to a man in KKK garb, while his own 1981 VMI yearbook listed his nickname as “Coonman.”
Northam claimed he was not in that photo and doesn’t know why his friends gave him that moniker — but also admitted he did wear blackface while dressing as Michael Jackson for a dance contest that year.
On Wednesday, Herring — who had also called on Northam to resign — admitted he too wore blackface while trying to dress up like a rapper at a party in 1980 when he was at the University of Virginia.
Herring is the second in line for Northam’s job. The first in line, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, is facing his own scandal this week after a woman accused him of sexual assault.