Republican Virginia Senate leader edited yearbook with blackface photos

VMI yearbook showing students in blackface.

VMI yearbook showing students in blackface."The Bomb

"It has been the objective of this year's Bomb staff to concentrate on the VMI as it exists in actuality, not in theory", Norment wrote in the yearbook on a page for its editors. Another page features a photo of two men in blackface holding a football. In one photo of a student from Thailand, the young man is referred to as "Jap" and "Chink", with another referred to as "The China Man". The n-word was also used at least once in the yearbook.

A blurb under one man's picture says: "He was known as the "Barracks Jew" having his fingers in the finances of the entire Corps".

The yearbook photos were first reported by The Virginian-Pilot.

"I'm here to pass a budget today", he added when pressed as he headed into a Republican Caucus meeting in late morning.

"With 114 editions of The Bomb available online dating back to 1885, I am not surprised that those wanting to engulf Republican leaders in the current situations involving the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General would highlight the yearbook from my graduation a half century ago", Norment said.

"I was, and am, proud to be a member of the Class of 1968 of the Virginia Military Institute". Norment's photo can be seen in the bottom left of this image.

The yearbook discovery came as several other Virginia lawmakers were under attack for their past behavior.

A conservative blog revealed last Friday that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's page in a 1984 medical school yearbook depicted individuals in blackface and Ku Klux Klan garb. If Fairfax opts out, the baton would fall to Herring, who - like Northam - has blackface photo baggage.

Days after Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to wearing blackface while he dressed up like rapper Kurtis Blow at a University of Virginia party in 1980, the legendary artist has weighed in on the topic. He also called Herring's blackface admission a "teachable moment" for the public.

Herring then apologized for his and his friends' "ignorance and glib attitudes" and said the moment had "haunted" him for decades.

Shortly after, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax was accused of sexual assault. He denies the allegation, saying the encounter was consensual.

"I wish her no harm or humiliation, nor do I seek to denigrate her or diminish her voice".

Fairfax, 39 - who is first in line to succeed Northam and would thus become only the second African-American to lead the state - had been noncommittal about whether he thought Northam should resign before coming under a cloud himself.

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