AFRICANGLOBE – Horrifying blackface and lynching images from North Carolina Democrat Roy Cooper’s yearbook have emerged just days after he called on Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to resign over racist images in his yearbook.
The pictures surfaced Wednesday showing what’s believed to be two members of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Chi Phi fraternity donning white robes, similar to those worn by the Ku Klux Klan, and depicting a lynching with a man donning blackface.
Aside from the shot where they use a lighting fixture with a noose, the two-page spread for the frat shows a woman kissing a man’s cheek and they too have their faces blacked up in the black-and-white pictures.
There is no suggestion that Cooper is in any of those photos but they feature in his 1979 yearbook.
Chapel Hill condemned the photos Wednesday with Vice Chancellor for Communications, Joel Curran, saying in a statement: ‘The photos found in the 1979 student yearbook are abhorrent.’
Curran continued: ‘We fully and wholly condemn both the photos and the racist behavior they depict. That kind of behavior has no place on our campus now or then.’
It comes on the same day Virginia’s third-ranking official revealed he too wore blackface in the 1980s.
Around the offensive images, students can be seen drinking and dancing in celebration. There is also one class photo.
Cooper was a member of a different fraternity, Chi Psi, and while the 61-year-old from Nashville is indeed pictured in his yearbook edition, he does not feature on his frat page according to a list of students who don’t appear.
Some Twitter users pointed out that he was a ‘big difference’ between the behavior of the two fraternities.
One appeared to suggest the presence of some Black students backed up idea that racist culture was not present in the frat.
Mr McFritters wrote: ‘Roy Cooper was a Chi Psi. Not a Chi Phi. We had a few African American members.’
Some of those referred to can be seen in a class picture from the Chi Psi pages which seem to center around sports activities.
Others expressed shock as to the acceptance of the images in the yearbook.
‘I was attending a (very rural) Southern University at EXACTLY time and never saw anything like this,’ one user on the microblogging website shared. ‘Must be a southern white city thing or a fraternity thing.’
Another added: ‘Whoa! I was in high school at this time and we clearly knew this was bad and racist.’
We did not receive an immediate response for a request for comment from Governor Cooper’s office Wednesday.
The images resurfaced after on February 2, Cooper tweeted about Governor Northam: ‘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.’
Cooper asked for the removal of three confederate monuments on the Capitol grounds but in August 2018 the state commission to recommended they stay.
It also came after the toppling of the controversial Silent Sam structure.
As a scandal emerges from North Carolina, Virginia’s politicians fight to save their reputations.
A statement from Fairax’s office early Monday morning denied a sexual assault allegation against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax when he was dating a woman 15 years ago.
It said: ‘Lt. Governor Fairfax has an outstanding and well-earned reputation for treating people with dignity and respect.
‘He has never assaulted anyone – ever – in any way, shape, or form.’
At the state capitol, Fairfax told reporters it was a ‘smear.’
Herring told members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus during an emergency closed-door meeting that he wore blackface on at least one occasion while he was a University of Virginia student in 1980.
Herring graduated from UVA undergraduate in 1983 before then getting a Masters, also from UVA, and going to law school at the University of Richmond.
While at UVA, he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
In both Herring’s freshman and sophomore yearbooks, Sigma Chi’s designated page celebrated that it had ‘money to spend’.
‘Financially, Psi Chapter enjoys one of the foremost positions among fraternities at the university,’ the Sigma Chi page reads in UVA’s 1981 yearbook.
Photos on Sigma Chi’s pages also show members happily posing with beers, bottles, and drinks.
While there appeared to be no African American members in Sigma Chi in 1980 or 1981, in 1982 the fraternity claimed that diversity was its ‘major strength’ and a ‘source of pride’ in the house.
Herring had planned to run for Virginia in 2021. The state’s governors are limited by law to one term in office.
Mark Warner, one of Virginia’s two Democratic US senators, told reporters at the Capitol in Washington: ‘I’m shocked and incredibly disappointed. This has been an awful week for Virginia.’
Fallout continues to accumulate from Governor Ralph Northam’s admission that he wore blackface after graduating from medical school.
Northam, meanwhile, has been hunkered down behind closed doors as he weighs his political future.
He had held on despite a disastrous five days which saw him first admit he was in the yearbook picture, then deny it, then admit he put on shoe polish allegedly to impersonate Michael Jackson, use a press conference to say it was difficult to get off, and only be stopped by his wife from Moonwalking, and be called on to resign by dozens of senior Democrats.
Northam has resisted calls from Democratic leaders to step down.
Among those calling for his resignation: Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Democratic National Committe Chairman Tom Perez, both Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Cory Booker, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Northam did not help his cause in his bizarre press conference on Saturday, Northam denied appearing in the photograph that he on Friday apologized for, but he admitted that he did wear blackface for a Michael Jackson costume the same year.
The 59-year-old from Nassawadox admitted dressing up as the late singer, wearing similar footwear, a glove and shoe polish allegedly to look like an African-American person.
Making his revelation worse, he told attendees the reason why he only wore a ‘little bit’ of shoe polish was because it’s difficult to remove.
‘I don’t know if anybody’s tried this…’ he said to the shocked room. But it didn’t explain why he was wearing blackface to show off his dance talent during the skit.
Northam told the audience during question time: ‘I have discussed this with a person of color. I apologized to him.‘
By: Leah Simpson