- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2019

Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment was ensnared Thursday in the political furor over blackface, with the emergence of a 1968 college yearbook he worked on that included several racist photographs.

Mr. Norment was the managing editor that year of Virginia Military Institute’s yearbook, The Bomb, which included photos of men in blackface and other racially offensive material.

Mr. Norment is the first Republican caught up in the turmoil gripping Richmond since last week, when it came to light that Gov. Ralph Northam’s profile page in his 1984 medical school yearbook had a photo of a man in blackface standing beside someone in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

Then Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax was accused of raping a woman at the 2004 National Democratic Convention in Boston. And then Attorney General Mark Herring admitted that he once donned blackface to perform as a rapper at a college party in 1980.

Mr. Northam, who is resisting persistent resignation calls, Mr. Fairfax and Mr. Herring are Democrats.

Mr. Norment called the use of blackface “abhorrent” but said he was proud of his time at VMI, noting that he supported integration of the school in 1968.

“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,” Mr. Norment said in a statement.

“The use of blackface is abhorrent in our society and I emphatically condemn it,” he said. “As one of seven working on a 359-page yearbook, I cannot endorse or associate myself with every photo, entry, or word on each page. However, I am not in any of the photos referenced … nor did I take any of the photos in question.”

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