Gov. Ralph Northam had questionable nickname in 1981 yearbook

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who faces calls to resign over a 1984 yearbook photo of two men in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan outfit, had a questionable nickname that may have been a racial slur, according to a separate 1981 yearbook photo.

Northam apologized Friday for the 1984 picture, first surfaced by Big League Politics, and called it “racist and offensive” but did not specify whether he was the figure seen in blackface, or the one in KKK hood and cloak.

In a news conference on Saturday, he shifted gears, though, saying he was not in the picture at all. He also reiterated that he wouldn’t resign..

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CBS News first reported that another picture from Northam’s 1981 yearbook page shows that he was given the nickname “Coonman” – a possible racial slur. He was also known as “Goose.”

Fox News obtained a copy of 1984 yearbook page from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library in Norfolk.

Fox News obtained a copy of 1984 yearbook page from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library in Norfolk.

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At the press conference Saturday, he said that his nickname in 1981 was “Goose” and that only two people had called him the other nickname — but didn’t know their motive for calling him that.

Earlier Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Northam to “do the right thing” and called the 1984 photo “racist and contrary to fundamental American values.”

“The situation that he has put himself and the Commonwealth of Virginia in is untenable. It’s time for Ralph to step down, and for the Commonwealth to move forward,” Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said, calling the photo “racist, unacceptable and inexcusable at any age and at any time.”

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The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said in a statement on Friday that the yearbook photos “rip the scabs of an excruciatingly painful history and are a piercing reminder of this nation’s sins. Those who would excuse the pictures are just as culpable.”

The caucus was not impressed by Northam’s press conference, and amplified its calls for him to resign.

“In light of his public admission and apology for his decision to appear in the photo, he has irrevocably lost the faith and trust of the people he was elected to serve. Changing his public story today now casts further doubt on his ability to regain that trust,” a statement Saturday afternoon said.

Fox News’ Alexandria Pamias contributed to this report.

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