The Case of the Plaid Pants: Solved

Plaid Pants Guy: Terry Smoot

Sometimes a coincidence is just a coincidence. In the case of Governor Ralph Northam’s notorious 1984 yearbook photo, a young man in blackface wearing plaid pants is not the same guy wearing seemingly identical plaid pants in an older photo of Northam’s high school classmates (a similarity I explored here). The blond guy in the high school picture of Hi-Y YMCA program participants turns out to be Terry Smoot, a resident of Chesterfield County.

Ali Rockett with the Richmond Times-Dispatch tracked down Smoot, who says he is not the same person as the man in blackface. “The whole notion is so absurd,” he said. “They are not the same pair of pants. People are really reaching.”

Smooth and Northam were friends in high school but followed divergent paths after school. Northam went to Virginia Military Institute and the Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS). The article is less than clear about Smoot’s career development but does say that by 1984, he was working — not attending EVMS. He now works for the federal government.

Smoot says he wishes his old friend well in his time of trial and tribulation: “If I could talk to him, I would say, ‘Hang in there. I support you.'”

Bacon’s bottom line: Northam is still on the hook to explain who is in the photo, and how the photo came to be inserted in his yearbook.