Locals in Onancock React To Northam Photo - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Locals in Onancock React To Northam Photo

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, left, gestures as his wife, Pam, listens during a news conference in the Governors Mansion at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, left, gestures as his wife, Pam, listens during a news conference in the Governors Mansion at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

ONANCOCK, VA-Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is under fire for a recently discovered, racially insensitive yearbook photo. The photo is of two men, one garbed in what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan robe, the other in blackface. It is believed that the photo was taken in 1984. 

The photo appears on Governor Northam's medical school yearbook page, but he denies that it is him in the photo. He also says he doesn't know how it ended up on his page.

"I am not the person in the photo," Northam said in a press conference. "I am asking for the opportunity to earn your forgiveness," adding that "I am far from perfect and I can always strive to do better."

Northam is a native of the Eastern Shore, and was born just outside of Onancock, VA. WBOC spoke to members of Northam's family today--though they denied a comment at this time. 

Locals in the Onancock area say Northam and his family frequent Janet's Café, located in downtown Onancock. A cook who works at the café said, "I'd say once a month, and it's usually just him and one other like bodyguard or something. It's not a big tadoo," Daniel Burell said.

Burell says he's seen Northam numerous times, and is disappointed to hear about the photo.

"In this day and age, you're held accountable for anything you've ever done, that's just the way we are now. You can go back now and see pictures that are 40 years old." To help Virginia out and to maybe start his process, just resign," he said. 

But others say they're not sure of the authenticity of the photo, and say it may be worth supporting the Governor. 

"I was not shocked, because I know how things can be photoshopped and how people play pranks on each other and how things can be misconstrued," Pat Doughty, who lives in the area said.

"His demeanor and his past career, I think that pretty much we should give him a chance to complete his term and support him."

We reached out to multiple friends who knew and went to school with Northam at Onancock High school, all declined to give an official comment. 

Political leaders nationally and locally have called for Northam's resignation, including a joint statement from Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

 

 

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