Picture of Virginia Governor in Racial Yearbook Photo Surfaces


The Witness will be featuring new “guest writers” throughout the week to test their potential in becoming members of the Witness staff – next up, Amil Agarwal reports on the recent revelations regarding the Virginia Governor.

Imagine being the governor of a state. Things are going well, and your secrets haven’t been out until now. A controversial picture has been seen by people and officials, and now you face trial.

This is the situation Virginia state governor, Ralph Northam, has fallen into over the past few weeks.

A 1984 picture surfaced of the governor’s medical school yearbook page, showing a man in blackface next to a man in a Ku Klux Klan robe. This picture went viral, and started a controversy on whether Northam should stay put, or if he should leave his position. Northam himself has said that he will stay because “Virginia needs him”.

During the time of the trials and the investigation, Northam brought up the idea that the first ever African Americans brought to the U.S. were indentured servants and did not refer to them as slaves. This has further raised suspicion as to Northam’s racial biases.

During the investigation, Ralph Northam stated that he was not racist and the blackface was not meant to be a racial picture, as he stated that he had done something like this before. That instance was in 1984, where he dressed up as Michael Jackson and had to wear a blackface. But at the time no one said anything, and there was no objection.

Because of the amount of investigation being done, there has been a recall trial being initiated. This trial is not similar to typical trials, as the voters have to gather signatures equal to 10% of the last election and the judge will have to decide whether or not Northam violated any rules.

After a poll was conducted to evaluate support of the governor after this news broke, 58% of all black voters in Virginia thought that Northam should stay in office, 46% of all white voters thought that Northam should stay in office, and 57% of the Democrats in Virginia thought that Northam should stay in office.

Along with this, Ralph Northam himself thinks that he should stay in office, and has said that he will not willingly resign his office even if a majority of voters call for his removal.