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Northam yearbook photo shows men in blackface, KKK robe

Posted at 5:19 PM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-01 21:40:16-05

RICHMOND, Va. – WTVR CBS 6 has confirmed reports that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's senior medical school yearbook page features a photograph of a man wearing blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe.

The photo, which appears on Northam's page in an Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook from 1984, also features the accompanying quote:  “There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I’ll have another beer.”

WTKR reporter Brendan Ponton went to the EVMS library in Norfolk Friday afternoon and found the page on which the photo appears.

Big League Politics, a conservative news website, first posted the photo Friday afternoon.

An additional photo uncovered by CBS news shows Northam's yearbook photo from his undergraduate alma mater, Virginia Military Institute. Nicknames listed underneath Northam's name include "Coonman," a racial slur.

Governor's response: 'This behavior is not in keeping with who I am'

Northam issued the statement just after 6 p.m. Friday:

“Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive,"

“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.

“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.

“I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor.”

Lawmakers react to Northam yearbook photo

“This is a deeply disturbing and offensive photograph in need of an immediate explanation by the Governor,” GOP General Assembly leaders said in a statement.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney also released the following statement Friday afternoon.

“This is deeply disappointing and offensive. I want to hear what Governor Northam has to say on this,” Stoney said.

Stay with and watch CBS 6 News for continuing coverage of this developing story.