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Yet another Virginia politician facing questions over yearbook photos showing blackface


Republican state Sen. Tommy Norment has issued a statement in response

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

After more than a week of controversies surrounding Virginia politicians, yet another one is facing questions over an old yearbook containing racist slurs and photos of students in blackface.

What are the details?

On Thursday, The Virginian-Pilot revealed images and captions from the 1968 edition of The Bomb, the yearbook of the Virginia Military Institute. The newspaper reported that the managing editor of the yearbook was none other than Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R).

One image shows a student in blackface at a costume party, and another shows two students donning blackface while holding a football. The N-word is also reportedly printed in The Bomb, and a Thai student is referred to as a "Chink." Another photo of a student is captioned, "He was known as the 'Barracks Jew' having his fingers in the finances of the entire Corps."

1968 is the first year black students were allowed to enroll at the institution.

Norment refused to comment on the yearbook when he was asked about it by reporters Thursday morning, but issued a statement in the afternoon saying: "The use of blackface is abhorrent in our society and I emphatically condemn it. As one of seven working on a 359-page yearbook, I cannot endorse or associate myself with every photo, entry, or word on each page. However, I am not in any of the photos referenced on pages 82 or 122, nor did I take any of the photos in question."

"As my comment on Page 236 notes, I supported the integration of VMI," the statement continued. "And in 1997, I led the effort to have my alma mater include women for the first time."

The New York Post reported that Norment had called for the resignation of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Saturday, after the governor's medical school yearbook page showed a photo of two individuals standing side-by-side wearing Ku Klux Klan garb and blackface. Northam has denied being in the photo, and has thus far refused to step down.

Anything else?

Virginia's leaders have been in turmoil after calls for the governor to resign over his abortion comments and blackface, the lieutenant governor has been hit with a sexual assault allegation, and the attorney general admitted Wednesday that he wore blackface to a costume party in college.
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