North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued a strong statement calling for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign because of the photos that may or may not be Northam in “black face” or dressed as a member of the KKK on his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page.
But there are some similar photos in the yearbook for UNC-Chapel Hill in 1979, when Cooper was a student and a member of the Chi Psi fraternity, that were revealed in an article in the British newspaper The Daily Mail on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
The photos in the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook are on Northam’s personal yearbook page; and whether he is in them or not, according to one of the editors of the yearbook, the students submitted the photos for their personal page, although Northam now says he did not submit that one.
Regarding the Northam photos, Cooper stated:“This is a reprehensible picture that is deeply disappointing and I know must come with pain beyond what many of us can even understand. Resignation is the only way forward.”
In the UNC-Chapel Hill yearbook for 1979, while Cooper was a student at Carolina, there is a photo of two members of the Chi Phi fraternity in KKK garb with a noose around the neck of a white man made up in black face, and on the next page are more students made up in black face.
The photos are of the Chi Phi fraternity and Cooper was a member of Chi Psi, so it is a different fraternity; and unlike Northam there is no indication that Cooper had anything to do with the photos, but Cooper’s name appears in the yearbook on the page after the offending photos. Evidently Cooper missed the yearbook photo shoot for his fraternity and is listed as “Not Pictured.”
The Daily Mail ran a long story on the photos and on Cooper, noting that Cooper had called for Northam’s resignation because of photos on Northam’s page in his medical school yearbook.
Northam first apologized for the photos and then denied he was in them or even knew where they came from. Northam, however, has admitted to being made up in black face for a party while he was a student.
The photos in Yackety Yack, the Carolina yearbook, are from a different fraternity, and in the photo of Cooper’s fraternity, Chi Psi, there appears to be a couple of black members. It seems highly unlikely that a fraternity with black members would also have white members made up in black face for parties or dressed up as members of the KKK.
But the photos are in the Carolina yearbook on the pages before Cooper’s name and he made no mention of them when he called for Northam to resign.
So far, Cooper has made no public statement about the yearbook photos, but UNC-Chapel Hill has denounced them.