Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is doing the most to claim it wasn’t him in his racist yearbook photo from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1984. Now, a former yearbook staffer, who happens to be a Black woman, is speaking out. And she is shutting down that theory.
Photos for individual pages were chosen by each student, Dr. William Elwood, who worked on the yearbook in 1984, explained to CNN. “They were submitted in a sealed envelope with their name on it to the yearbook staff, to be put on their page. The pictures for the personal ones were not just chosen at random from other pictures that might have been available at that time.”
She continued: “Anything is possible, but the probability is low unless someone was out to get him and was able to get access to all this stuff. All of this stuff was kept in a locked room, and the only time the room was unlocked was when somebody was in that room working on the yearbook.” She also added, “as far as I know, nobody complained that their picture was under the wrong person.”
The photograph showed two unidentified men: one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan costume under a page labeled as Northam’s. Northam admitted on Friday that he was in the photo but did not say if he was the person in blackface or dressed as a member of the KKK, according to the New York Times.
“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.”
However, Northam changed his tune just a day later, according to CNN.
“I believe now and then that I am not either of the people in this photo. This was not me in that picture. That was not Ralph Northam,” he said. “I intend to continue doing the business of Virginia. I could avoid an honest conversation about harmful actions from my past. I cannot in good conscience choose the path that would be easier for me in an effort to duck my responsibility to reconcile.”
See the photo below:
Northam has refused to resign.