By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s page in his 1984 medical school yearbook contains a photo of a person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood next to different pictures of the governor.
The photo shows two people looking at the camera — one in blackface wearing a hat, bow tie and plaid pants; the other in white Klan robes. It’s unclear who the people in the picture are, but the rest of the half-page shows photos of Northam — in a jacket and tie, in a cowboy hat, and next to a car — beneath his name. The page lists his undergraduate alma mater and his interest as pediatrics.
The Democratic governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Virginian-Pilot obtained a copy of the photo Friday from Eastern Virginia Medical School library, which Northam attended. The yearbook images were first published by the conservative news outlet Big League Politics. An Associated Press reporter saw the yearbook page and confirmed its authenticity at the medical school.
Republican state Sen. Bryce Reeves said in a statement that Northam should resign if the reports of the photos are accurate.
“I hope that this picture is inaccurate and that the Governor brings clarity to this issue. This has no place in Virginia,” Reeves said.
If Northam were to resign, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who is African-American, would assume the governor’s office.
For now, Northam’s close allies haven’t said anything publicly. Democratic Sen. Jennifer McClellan, a well-known African-American lawmaker from Richmond, just shook her head when approached by a reporter seeking comment.
Northam, a folksy pediatric neurologist who is personal friends with many GOP lawmakers, has recently come under fire from Republicans who have accused him of backing infanticide after he said he supported a bill loosening restrictions on late-term abortions.
Last week, Florida’s secretary of state resigned after photos from a 2005 Halloween party showed him in blackface while dressed as a Hurricane Katrina victim.
Associated Press writer Ben Finley contributed to this report.