GOP state senator in Va. oversaw yearbook with racial slurs, blackface photos

One of the top Republican lawmakers in Virginia served as managing editor of a 1968 yearbook at Virginia Military Institute that contained racist photos and slurs, The Virginian Pilot reported Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R) oversaw the 1968 edition of The Bomb, an annual publication at VMI. The yearbook contained multiple photos of individuals posing in blackface and racist slurs that referred to African-Americans, Jews and Asians, the Pilot reported.


Norment, who has served in the state Senate since 1992, did not directly respond when asked about the yearbook on Thursday as he headed to a Republican Caucus meeting.

"The only thing I’m talking about today is the budget," Norment told a reporter.

Norment’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Revelations about Norment's involvement in the yearbook come as two of the state's top three elected officials are embroiled in controversy over their admissions that they wore blackface decades ago. 

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has insisted that he is not in a photo on his 1984 yearbook page in which one man is wearing blackface and another is in a Ku Klux Klan robe. He has, however, acknowledged he wore blackface to dress up as Michael Jackson decades ago.

State and national Democrats have called on Northam to resign, but he has refused to do so.

Attorney General Mark Herring (D), who is among those who called on Northam to step down, admitted on Wednesday that he wore blackface decades when he dressed up as a rapper for a party in college.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) is facing sexual assault allegations. Vanessa Tyson came forward on Wednesday to claim that Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex during what began as a consensual encounter in 2004.

Fairfax has denied the allegations and insisted the entire encounter was consensual. Both he and Tyson have retained legal counsel over the matter.