Northam: We’ve ‘Turned the Page’ on Blackface Photo Scandal, ‘Virginians Want to Move Forward’

June 04, 2019

ARLINGTON, Va. — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D-Va.) told reporters on Tuesday that “Virginians want to move forward” from the scandal involving the blackface photo in his 1984 yearbook despite not knowing who appeared in the picture.

Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) hired a firm to conduct an investigation into racist photos in its past yearbooks. Investigators were not able to determine the identity of the individuals in a controversial photo that appeared on Northam’s yearbook page. It was also not determined how the photo ended up on his page other than at the direction of the student.

“While we have identified no information that the photograph was placed on Gov. Northam’s personal page in error or by any other means not at his direction, we could not conclusively determine the origin of the photograph,” the report read.

Northam was asked if Virginians are going to find out the identity of the individuals in the yearbook photo, which shows one person in blackface and the other dressed as a KKK member. Northam did not directly answer but said his office conducted their own investigation and turned it over to EVMS, adding that Virginians want to move on from the situation.

“We did conduct an investigation, a very thorough investigation, and that was turned over to Eastern Virginia Medical School. They reported on their investigation. You know, we’ve turned the page. Virginians want to move forward. They want a leader — a leader such as me that has passed Medicaid expansion in Virginia — 400,000 working Virginians that now have access to health care, 627,000 Virginians now can get their licenses restored because they weren’t able to pay their fines and fees,” Northam responded after speaking at an affordable housing event held at the American Legion in Arlington on Tuesday. “These are the things that we’ve been able to do in Virginia — that’s what Virginians care about so we’re ready to move forward.”