(Matt Demlein, WRVA)

Norment Comments On Yearbook Photos

Was Managing Editor Of Yearbook with Slurs/Blackface

February 07, 2019 - 4:20 pm

Richmond, Va. (Newsradiowrva.com) -- Seantor Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-James City) has issued a sattement, after reports came out that he was managing editor of the 1968 VMI Yearbook.  The yearbook includes both racial slurs and pictures of blackface.  1968 was also the year the school integrated.

Says Norment, "I was, and am, proud to be a member of the Class of 1968 of the Virginia Military Institute.  As I acknowledged on Page 236 of The Bomb, that was a year of ‘imperative transition’ at VMI.

“I served The Bomb as part of a seven-member team that included an Editor-in-Chief, a Lay-out Editor, a Copy Editor, an Art Director, a Production Assistant, a Business Manager, and my position, Managing Editor.

“With 114 editions of The Bomb available online dating back to 1885, I am not surprised that those wanting to engulf Republican leaders in the current situations involving the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General would highlight the yearbook from my graduation a half century ago.

“The use of blackface is abhorrent in our society and I emphatically condemn it.  As one of seven working on a 359-page yearbook, I cannot endorse or associate myself with every photo, entry, or word on each page.  However, I am not in any of the photos referenced on pages 82 or 122, nor did I take any of the photos in question.

“As my comment on Page 236 notes, I supported the integration of VMI. And in 1997, I led the effort to have my alma mater include women for the first time.

“Despite all of the distractions from the continuing controversies involving our statewide elected officials, I am intent on fulfilling the work of the people of Virginia by passing a fiscally responsible budget that provides tax relief for working families.”