Black Liberty University alumni knock Falwell over tweet with blackface mask


A number of black graduates of Liberty University have reportedly signed on to a letter condemning the school’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., days after he sought to mock Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) with a mask depicting the racist imagery from Northam’s page in his medical school yearbook.

“I was adamantly opposed to the mandate from @GovernorVA requiring citizens to wear face masks until I decided to design my own. If I am ordered to wear a mask, I will reluctantly comply, but only if this picture of Governor Blackface himself is on it!” Falwell tweeted Wednesday.

The design was met with swift backlash on social media, and now, according to The Associated Press, several dozen black graduates from the Lynchburg, Va., university have signed a letter condemning the school president for his “infantile behavior” and accusing him of being concerned with “politics more than Christian academia or ministry.”   

“While your tweet may have been in jest about Virginia’s Governor, it made light of our nation’s painful history of slavery and racism,” the alumni reportedly wrote. They also referred to the tweet by Falwell, a staunch conservative who has a history of making controversial remarks, as a “microcosm of the past several years of divisive rhetoric.”

“You have belittled staff, students and parents, you have defended inappropriate behaviors of politicians, encouraged violence, and disrespected people of other faiths,” the letter states. 

The alumni called on Falwell to withdraw his “racist tweet immediately and make a public apology,” saying they would cease donations and support to the university if he continues on with such behavior.

Reported signatories include Walt Aikens, who previously played football at the university before playing for the Dolphins, and former NFL player Eric Green.

A daughter of a member of the school’s board of trustees also reportedly signed the letter, along with her husband.

A black professor has announced he would be resigning from the school after that tweet, according to AP.

In his letter, Christopher House, wrote that, as “an African American man and Christian pastor,”  he was “horrified and appalled that the president of the largest Christian university in the world would knowingly and intentionally use images that evoke a deep history of racial terror for people of color in the U.S., specifically individuals who look like me, for the purpose of a political statement to the Governor of Virginia.”

“For him to use those images right now in this moment when black and brown communities are grieving the murder of George Floyd is pure evil, ungodly and immoral,” House told the Religion News Service.

Tags AP Associated Press Blackface Christopher House George Floyd Jerry Falwell Jr. Liberty University Ralph Northam Virginia

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