RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — State Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment was an editor of a yearbook from the Virginia Military Institute that includes racist images and slurs.
The 1968 edition of The Bomb includes pictures of people in blackface. It also includes the n-word and other racial slurs. There is also a picture of a man holding a Confederate flag.
The yearbook is available online. Other students also served as various editors on the publication.
The VMI yearbook has come to light as the top three Democrats in state government find themselves ensnared in controversy. The fallout started last Friday after a photograph of a person in blackface and another in a KKK outfit were found on Governor Ralph Northam’s EVMS yearbook page.
Attorney General Mark Herring has since admitted to wearing blackface to a party in 1980 after calling for Northam to resign. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is dealing with his own controversy surrounding allegations of sex assault years ago.
Norment, who is a Republican, attended college at VMI before returning to Hampton Roads to attend law school according to his online biography. He represents State Senate District 3, which includes numerous communities including parts of James City County, Gloucester County, York County, Suffolk, Hampton and Poquoson.
WAVY’s Andy Fox spoke to Norment moments before news first surfaced about the yearbook.
Norment did not mention its existence when asked his thoughts on the controversy engulfing state government. Later in the afternoon, Norment had no comment when asked about the book.
In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, Norment said, “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.”
Norment condemned the use of blackface in his statement, saying the use of it “is abhorrent in our society.” He also said he is not in any of the photos and did not take any of them.
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.