VA Governor Apologizes in Blackface Controversy — Raimondo Draws Fire From RI GOP UPDATED

Saturday, February 02, 2019


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Photo - left Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel, Right RI PBS Jim Hummel, and inset, VA Gov. Northam

In the latest controversy over whites wearing blackface, news broke Friday that Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam had a 1984 yearbook photo showing a person in blackface, and one in a KKK hood. This comes just a week after the GOP Florida Secretary of State resigned after a blackface photo was found.

Multiple Presidential candidates and top Democrats across the country have called for the Virginia Governor to step down.

UPDATE: At 2:45 PM Northam held a press conference that he was not in the photo on his yearbook page, but admitted he had dressed in blackface in another incident as singer Micheal Jackson.

In Rhode Island, GoLocal unveiled that the Providence Journal’s investigative reporter and host of RI PBS’ “A Lively Experiment,” Jim Hummel wore blackface when he was a reporter for the Providence Journal.  Hummel has not been disciplined by the Providence Journal or RI PBS and has refused to apologize.

Numerous Rhode Island civil rights leaders have condemned Hummel's use of Blackface and unwillingness to apologize.

Last week, Jim Vincent, President of the NAACP Providence Branch, said he was disappointed that Hummel had not offered an apology. 

“The use of Blackface is highly offensive and should never be used under any circumstance.  I remember the 1980s well and do not know anyone who was beyond high school, even at that time, who would have done Blackface,” said Vincent on Friday. “With that said and given how offensive Blackface is, I am surprised and a bit disappointed that Jim Hummel, himself, did not offer at least an apology when his picture surfaced.”

On Friday, Northam acknowledged being photographed in a “clearly racist and offensive” which appeared in his 1984 medical school yearbook that shows a man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

Northam issued the following statement.

“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now,” he said. “This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment.”

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RI GOP call on Raimondo to call for Northam's resignation

In Virginia and Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Republican Party is calling on Governor Gina Raimondo to immediately demand the resignation of Northam after he acknowledged posing for despicable racist photographs in 1984, the party said in a press release on Friday night.

Chairman Brandon S. Bell said, “Governor Raimondo, it’s time to ask your colleague and supporter at the Democratic Governor Association to step down. As you said on August 15, 2017: Rhode Islanders stand strong against racism and hate….no American leader can equivocate or be silent against the hate past generations fought to end.”

“Come out of hiding Governor Raimondo. Join all Republicans, the NAACP, Senator Kamala Harris, Governor Phil Murphy and countless other Democrats in demanding that Northam resign. Your silence against the hate that past generations fought to end is deafening.”  

The Washington Post reports, “Late Friday, even his most trusted allies called for him to step down, including his onetime partner, former governor Terry McAuliffe (D), state Senate and House Democrats, Virginia’s legislative Black Caucus and Planned Parenthood. Pressure built, too, from national Democrats, including presidential hopefuls Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Julián Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio.”


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