Va. Gov. Ralph Northam Apologizes for Yearbook Photo With Blackface, KKK Hood

Twitter screenshot of yearbook photo showing Ralph Northam in blackface or KKK hood.

On Friday, an old yearbook photo purporting to show Ralph Shearer Northam (now the Democratic governor of Virginia) in either black face or a Ku Klux Klan hood went viral on the internet. Northam confirmed the accuracy of the photo and issued an apology. He did not step down from office, however.


“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now,” Northam said in a statement. “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.”

Northam admitted that he will not be able to brush this aside, but did not decide to step down from office.

“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor,” he concluded.

BigLeague Politics’s Patrick Howley posted the photo, reporting that Northam is the one in blackface. The photo came from the yearbook of Eastern Virginia Medical School, from which Northam graduated in 1984. The book quoted Northam as saying, “There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I’ll have another beer.”


The Virginian-Pilot confirmed that the photo does, in fact, come from the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook.

PJ Media reached out to Northam on Twitter, requesting comment.

PJ Media also reached out to the governor’s press secretary, Alena Yarmosky.

Neither the governor nor his press secretary responded by press time. This article will be updated with any response.

Northam made news recently by effectively endorsing infanticide in cases of botched late-term abortions. He later doubled down on the comments, claiming any connection to infanticide was made in “bad faith” by opponents.

Northam won the 2017 gubernatorial election against Republican Ed Gillespie after an ad depicted Gillespie as a racist along the lines of the white nationalists in Charlottesville. While Northam did not produce or release the ad, he refused to condemn it and his campaign reported it as an “in-kind contribution.”


Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.


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