Northam announces special session on gun control

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he’ll recall lawmakers to the state Capitol in the coming weeks to take up a package of gun-control legislation to prevent killings, like Friday’s mass shooting in Virginia Beach. (June 4)

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Probe inconclusive on gov.’s racist yearbook pic

An investigation ordered up by a Virginia medical school failed to determine whether Gov. Ralph Northam is in a 1984 yearbook photo of a man in blackface next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan hood. (May 22)

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Students Uninvite Gov. Ralph Northam From The First Stop On His Apology Tour (HBO)

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam hoped that today would kickoff his statewide apology tour. But last night, his first attempt to atone for the yearbook photo of a klansman and man in blackface, and for wearing blackface to moonwalk as Michael Jackson, fell apart.

The governor doesn’t deny moonwalking, but he does deny he’s in the photo on his yearbook page.

The governor planned to appear at historically black Virginia Union University for an event honoring the Richmond 34 civil rights activists. While some of the honorees were happy to let their ceremony serve as a place for the Governor to begin learning and apologizing for his racist act, the current VUU student body felt blindsided.

VUU’s Student Government Association President, Jamon Phenix, penned a letter addressed to Governor Northam demanding he back out of the event, explaining that the students “feel as though your presence takes away from the historical significance of our commemoration.”

Phenix says he invites the Governor to return to campus later this year. When asked why he would delay the chance to reconcile, Phenix told VICE News that the Governor’s mere presence at the event, without the opportunity for students to ask questions or have a discussion, didn’t add value. “There was no real reconciliation. If he was to attend, he would not be on the platform and he would not have said anything. Where’s the reconciliation inside of just a presence?”

Elizabeth Johnson Rice, one of the Richmond 34, disagreed. In 1960, she and her peers entered Thalhimers department store, sat down at a whites-only counter, and were arrested and charged with trespassing. As alarmed as she was that Northam had dressed in blackface, she believes firmly in second chances. “Northam may have trespassed against the black community,” she conceded. “But the word is forgiveness. And that’s, that’s what my heart said that he deserves.”

VICE News met with current and former VUU students in Richmond, VA. Though Governor Northam wasn’t in the room, the question of whether or not he was worthy of reconciliation certainly was.

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Virginia Governor says he will not resign

Embattled Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam tells CBS This Morning that he will not resign after a blackface photo emerged in his medical school yearbook. (Feb. 11)

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AP Top Stories February 10 P

Here are the top stories for Sunday, February 10: Sen. Amy Klobuchar announces a presidential bid; Va. Gov. Ralph Northam ‘not going anywhere’; SKorea to pay more to US military; Snowball fight draws thousands in Washington.

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Northam says he thought about resigning

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he thought about resigning in the days after a racist yearbook photo surfaced. (Feb. 10)

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Al Sharpton calls for VA governor’s resignation

During a chapel service at Virginia Union University, the Reverend Al Sharpton urged Virginia’s Governor, Ralph Northam, to step down over the controversy surrounding his use of black face. (Feb. 8)

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The Long, Painful Legacy Of Blackface In America (HBO)

Ralph Northam is still the governor of Virginia—for now. But he’s facing increasing pressure to resign after a conservative media site unearthed a photo of a man in blackface on Northam’s page in a 1984 medical school yearbook.

Northam insists it isn’t him in the photo. And the New York Times today reported that a group of his medical school classmates is standing behind him. “We fully believe Governor Ralph Northam is neither of the individuals in those repugnant costumes,” they wrote in a letter. “We attended classes with the Governor. We socialized with him. We knew him very well.”

But even if Northam can prove he isn’t in the photo, there’s another problem: In a press conference on Saturday, Northam admitted he had “darkened” his face for fun around the same time. “That same year, I did participate in a dance contest in San Antonio in which I darkened my face as part of a Michael Jackson costume,” he said. “I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that.”

Northam may not have understood that “harmful legacy” back in the 80’s—plenty of people didn’t. In fact, many still don’t understand it now.

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Lee on Northam: ‘You can’t make this stuff up’

(5 Feb 2019) At Oscar Nominees Luncheon, Spike Lee offers his take on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam: “WTF!” (Feb. 5)

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Protesters urge Virginia Gov. Northam to resign

(5 Feb 2019) Protesters gathered outside Virginia’s statehouse on Monday and called for Governor Ralph Northam to resign. Northam has rebuffed widespread calls for his resignation since a racist photo surfaced Friday in his 1984 medical school yearbook page. (Feb. 5)

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