Northam Solves Mystery of the Man in Blackface

by Kerry Dougherty

Let’s just call it a missed opportunity.

Yesterday, with just three days remaining in his term as governor, Ralph Northam unveiled the official portrait of himself.

Surely some practical joker behind the scenes was tempted to replace the commissioned painting with that well-known portrait of Northam in blackface standing beside a friend or date in a Klan hood.

Imagine the gasps when the assembled crowd might have seen an enlargement of the notorious black and white snapshot instead of the painting that truly is destined to hang somewhere in the Capitol beside images of Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson.

Alas, no pranksters on the scene, so it appears that everyone politely applauded at the likeness painted by Stanley Rayfield, a gifted 34-year-old Virginia portrait artist. His painting features a tieless Northam beside two newspapers with the headlines “Virginia Repeals Death Penalty” and “The Country’s Biggest Remaining Confederate Statue Comes Down in Virginia.” On the bookshelf behind the governor is a photo of Pam Northam and a leather-bound book titled, “Covid-19 Pandemic Response.”

Why bother putting on a tie and standing up straight when you’re posing for a painting that will hang in a place of prominence for the next hundred years or so?

Speaking of photos, in a story headlined, “Gov. Northam says he’s 99% sure of the identity of the man in blackface,” The Daily Press reported that Northam’s tireless search for the man in the shoe polish was at an end.

Thank goodness. Some of us thought this would become another O.J. Simpson situation and we’d never know. Then again, on Feb. 1, 2019, Northam did admit that he was the minstrel in make-up sporting a jaunty fedora, but changed his story the next day. Eventually he just promised to find the culprit.

From The Daily Press:

Gov. Ralph Northam told The Washington Post that he is “99% sure” of the identity of the man who donned blackface in a photograph included on his medical school yearbook page ― a discovery that nearly derailed his governorship in 2019.

In a statement provided to The Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press, Northam’s office on Tuesday declined to name the man he believes wore blackface in the photo, which ran on Northam’s page in a 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook.

But the governor told the Post in an article on Sunday that the man also attended the Norfolk medical school and has a name that’s alphabetically “very close to mine.”

“He’s been talked to,” Northam said in the recent exit interview with the Post about his four-year term. The man “was also in that medical school class,” he said.

The Post story did not explain how Northam is so sure of the man’s identity, given that the governor maintains that he wasn’t in the picture himself. Northam initially apologized for appearing in the photo “in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive” but later said he was not in the picture.

A spokeswoman for Northam, Alena Yarmosky, declined to address the issue when reached Tuesday by…The Daily Press.

One has to wonder why an outgoing governor would feel the need to revisit an embarrassing three-year-old scandal, but that’s Northam for you.

I apologize for yet another post about Ralph Northam. He’s simply irresistible.

And we only have him for three more days.

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14 responses to “Northam Solves Mystery of the Man in Blackface”

  1. walter smith Avatar
    walter smith

    My theory. And my theory explains the reversal. But since I don’t know him and the timing of when he dated his wife, it remains a theory.
    It is clearly Moonwalking Ralph.
    Ralph admitted it and went home to the Governors’ Mansion and caught holy Hell from Mrs. Ralph, who was the person in the Klan robe. Hence, the next morning Ralph had a new remembrance that it wasn’t him! (And then he was stupid enough later to offer to do the Moonwalk and Pam had to restrain him.)
    If he was a buffoon, that would be tolerable. But the cuckolded race-baiting buffoon caused a lot of damage… (being the power-stripped pawn to enable all the CRT and DEI and defund the police and remove the statues guy, sorta like Joe Biden on a national scale)

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Very plausible that he wanted to protect the other person in the photo. It remains my theory the photo was from VMI days, not EVMS, but he remained proud of it and thus submitted it to the yearbook. I’m truly sorry he has so clearly lied.

      1. YellowstoneBound1948 Avatar

        Northam has lied, repeatedly, and it remains to be seen if his VMI Brother Rats will shun him. VMI has a rigid honor code and Northam, ironically enough, was President of the VMI Honor Court. Events have proven that he is a man of low character.

        One of Northam’s lies concerns his nickname, “Coon-Man.” Northam claims that he had no control over its inclusion (that word!) on his VMI yearbook page. That is a lie. Every cadet “controls” his yearbook page. The media has given Northam a pass on this issue.

        The Jolson blackface photo may have been taken at VMI. But, it seems more likely that it was taken in Norfolk during medical school. The taller individual is Northam, while the smaller individual — clearly a female, with her much smaller stature — is likely Mrs. Northam. At least, that is what VMI alumni think, especially the VMI alumni who are members of Northam’s class and have met Mrs. Northam on numerous reunion weekends.

        I think this is probably correct. Impressed on my memory is the look of terror on Mrs. Northam’s face when, at the infamous press conference, it seemed likely that Northam was going to “out” her. Remember that?

        On the other hand, the Northams were not married until 1986 or 1987, which is a long time to wait if they were seriously involved during his med school days (1981-84). So the smaller person in the photo may not be Mrs. Northam.

        I think what shocks VMI and Northam’s Brother Rats more than anything else is his apparent hubris. There is certainly nothing wrong with self-confidence, but Northam’s omnipotence will always taint his legacy.

        “Swanee, Swanee, how I love you, how I love you, my Swanee River. . . “

  2. YellowstoneBound1948 Avatar

    Northam’s departure brings to mind that wonderful song made popular by Northam’s mentor, the great minstrel performer, Al Jolson: “Toot, Toot, Tootsie, goodbye. Toot, Toot, Tootsie, don’t cry . . . . “

  3. VaNavVet Avatar

    Given the reaction to many of Kerry’s writings on this site, some would wonder when she is going to apologize for the misinformation that she has been spreading.

  4. Timothy Watson Avatar
    Timothy Watson

    “But the governor told the Post in an article on Sunday that the man also attended the Norfolk medical school and has a name that’s alphabetically ‘very close to mine.’”

    So it should take a reporter a whole five minutes to get the yearbook, or graduation program, or other document out, and find who’s the closest to Northam alphabetically, going in either direction, and identify this person, right?

    1. we had that photo of C**nman wearing those same pants from another source… hmmmmmm

  5. Was the yearbook photo before or after he and ‘China Joe’ attended a HBCU, drove a big rig, beat up Popcorn, and was arrested in South Africa? I have forgotten the timeline…..By the way, did he remember how he got his VMI nickname?

  6. What a load of horse hooey. The blackfaced man in the photo is Ralph Northam, and he was costumed to look like Michael Jackson. Aside from the blackface, he wore a fedora… like Michael Jackson. He worse plaid pants… like Michael Jackson. He wore sunglasses… like Michael Jackson. He wore a bow tie… like Michael Jackson. He wore white tape on his fingertips…. like Michael Jackson.

    (See my exegesis here and here.)

    Unless he coughs up the name of the EVMS classmate, and the classmate confesses, his assurance that he is “99% sure” of the figure’s identity is worthless.

    To believe that the figure in the photo is someone other than Northam is to believe a series of extraordinary coincidences: that Northam had dressed up like Michael Jackson on a different occasion (in a dance contest in Texas) but not in the EVMS yearbook photo, that the photo had somehow gotten mixed up with the photo of an EVMS classmate whose last name was close to his on the alphabet, that the very same classmate also dressed up like Michael Jackson, that a photo of his classmate dressed as Michael Jackson was accidentally conveyed to Northam’s yearbook page, and that Northam neither noticed or objected until many years later when the yearbook photo was exposed!

    The only question worth asking is which of these two propositions is true: (1) Northam is deliberately and knowingly lying when he denies the blackface figure is him, or (2) he has engaged in monumental self-deception and truly believes his denials, as pathetic as they are.

    1. VaNavVet Avatar

      Kind of reminds you of Trump and the “big lie” that he won the election.

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Trump is not a Virginian Republican therefore anything he says or does is not germane to BR If he were a Virginian Republican then, like all Virginian Republicans, anything he says or does would either be laudable, didn’t happen, or is excusable.

  7. John Martin Avatar
    John Martin

    “One has to wonder why an outgoing governor would feel the need to revisit an embarrassing three-year-old scandal, but that’s Northam for you.” Oh, good gawd……it is moronic republicans who have been stoking this unproven bullshit day in and day out

    1. Matt Adams Avatar
      Matt Adams

      Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

      When calling other “moronic” it’s best not to appear completely and utterly partisan and void of facts (i.e. you).

  8. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    In 176,517 seconds, Ralph disappears from Virginia politics forever.

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