Posted on May 22, 2019

Ralph Northam Racist Yearbook Investigation Ends Without Answers

Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, May 22, 2019

After a months-long review, independent investigators said that they were unable to determine whether Gov. Ralph Northam himself was in the racist photo that appeared in his 1984 yearbook. The investigation, carried out by the McGuireWoods law firm at the behest of Eastern Virginia Medical School, stated on Wednesday, “With respect to the photograph on Governor Northam’s personal page, we could not conclusively determine the identity of either individual depicted in the Photograph.”

The photo depicting two people, one dressed up in Ku Klux Klan robes and the other in blackface, appeared on Northam’s 1984 yearbook page at Eastern Virginia Medical School and came to light on Feb. 1 of this year. Northam quickly admitted he was in the photo, then backtracked saying he’d actually appeared in blackface a different time.


The investigators said that, despite extensive interviews and months of research, they could not discern whether it was Northam in that photo. “While we have identified no information that the Photograph was placed on Governor Northam’s personal page in error or by any other means not at his direction, we could not conclusively determine the origin of the photograph.”


The investigators said that they interviewed Northam about the racist yearbook photo twice, on March 27, 2019 and on May 8, 2019. Although Northam said it was staff members who had written the apology statements that he eventually walked back, he admitted to the investigators that “he read and approved the publication of these statements before they were issued.”

Northam had previously said that he remembered submitting a number of pictures to the yearbook, including one of him in front of a car and another wearing a cowboy hat. In today’s press conference, Cullen said that he interviewed Northam about that, and said that Northam “remembers the car and the cowboy hat one, but he does not remember the KKK and the blackface one.”